This past October 10th, 26 cities in the United States celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of the wildly offensive Columbus Day. Frank Waln released a single that day, “7.” It’s catchy and hypnotic, but also jarringly accurate in its accusations and calls to action.
Waln grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, and has recently been getting a lot of press. Most notably, because his anthem is being echoed among the Water Protectors gathered to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In many ways, the United States is stepping back in time. Or, it’s never bothered to right some serious wrongs.
Currently, at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, Natives from Sioux, Lakota and other tribes across North America, have gathered to peacefully protect the water. This has made mainstream news as of late, but unsurprisingly, it took a while. Generally, the popular media does not recognize this ongoing plight as worthy of spotlight. Frank Waln is changing that.
“7” (which references the 7th generation Lakota people) is more than just a song: it’s an anthem, and a poem, and a plea. It’s necessarily angry, and that’s what sticks. The track opens with lines spoken by poet Tanaya Winder, and closes with Waln sobbing, while a Lakota elder prays for healing. I mostly love this song because my grandfather would have loved this song, and I've spent my whole life wishing I could have known him.
There’s no way to ignore this. The drum. The war cry. The truth. Waln ends with, “we’re stronger and we know it now, we know it now.”