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Millersville’s second Dream Warriors concert

Dream Warriors showcased indigenous artists at the SMC on March 2nd. Photo Courtesy Friends of Advocates for Native Nations Facebook.

Alexander Bershtein

Staff Writer 

The Dream Warriors event was an expressive concert of Native American culture
that took place in the Marauder Courts of the Student Memorial Center on Friday, March 2 nd .
The event was organized by the Friends and Advocate of Native Nations, also known as the
FANN club for short. The club is Millersville’s first and only organization that directly promote
and preserve Native American culture on campus. Through the work of the associated
nonprofit, Advocates for Native Nations, they brought Dream Warriors back to campus for a
second concert with its members Tanaya Winder, Frank Waln, Tall Paul, and the Sampson
Brothers.

However, it was a contentious night to get people to attend Dream Warriors as they
were diverted by the torrential wind, First Friday in Lancaster, and especially the massive
fundraiser for childhood cancer of Minithon, which was upstairs in the multi-purpose room of
the same building. However, as the event began, an opening speech from Millersville
University’s President John M. Anderson acknowledged, “I wanted to make sure I came back
here to endorse and support everything this organization is doing and again preserving the
culture and legacy and educating our students and community members the importance of
Native Americans in society.”

International Education Week

As the first performance of the Dream Warriors came on stage Millersville was
introduced to its newest cast member, Tall Paul. He performed his Hip-Hop music that was
filled with provocative storytelling of the harsh history and current status of Native Americans
and other impeded communities throughout the United states, while giving an emotional
performance of self-expression and rhythm that awed the audience. Throughout Tall Paul’s
performance he explained to the audience that he sees himself as an educator, a teacher of the
social reality of now. He hopes the usage of his talents in Hip-Hop can further that goal.
Next, the founder of Dream Warrior, Tanaya Winder, and as a poet, educator, and
motivational speaker welcomed everyone to the event. She explained that the purpose of
Dream Warriors is to educate and invigorate the cultures of Native Americans, as they have
been hampered across the United States through even recent history. After the explanation
Tanaya Winder began to sing one of the many poems she has written. These moments would
get many emotional reactions from the audiences through the night.

The next performer was Frank Waln, a Hip-Hop artist, who writes and sings what
describes as storytelling. He uses his Hip-Hop as way to detail the hardships Native Americans
faced throughout recent history, and in showcase of his creativity he wrote and sung an
impactful reinvention of a song from the well-known Disney movie musical Peter Pan that has
insulted and disparaged Native American culture for decades by naming them as savages, What
makes the Redman Red? He turned it into a powerful message that explicitly describes the
cruelty Native Americans have faced in United States history and depict it in graphic imagery.

Frank Waln explained that when he watched that scene from the overall musical as a kid it
angered him because of the message given. He thought he could reestablish the overall
message of the song to highlight the reason for the historic indication of Native Americans as
“savages” was to justify massacres, and he succeeded in the end by clarifying the message in
both words and rhythm for the audience. Afterward he switched to a more hopeful tone of
looking toward the future as gave the audience a look into a song he is currently working on,
which was sung in his native Lakota language. Thereafter he spoke about what he called, “the
Seventh Generation.” It is concept about how Native Americans have survived through much
loss, but how it is finally changing now, and that he hopes through his efforts of storytelling that
this generation of people will be the opposite of recent history where this country will mend
the wounds across its diverse culture.

The Samson Brothers brought their talents music and dance onto the stage. The
quintessential performance for them was their Hoop-Dance. As one was playing music on his
flute his brother moved about the stage while at the same time maneuvering through the
multiple hoops on his shoulders, arms, torso, and legs. At a certain point he made it appear as if
he had wings.

Performers kept switching off and on stage, mesmerizing lyric after mesmerizing
lyric, fantastical dance after fantastical dance, rhythmic tune after rhythmic tune, captivating
poem after captivating poem, and all comprised of informing the audience with the message as
Tall Paul stated, “We represent healing through good vibes and positive energy, through
strength and empowerment.” And, to engulf all the different arts shown the finale was mixture
of Frank Waln’s Hip-Hop, Tanaya Winder’s Vocals, and the Samson Brothers dance and tune.
The nightly event finished with the audience mixed with enjoyment of the spectacles, yet some
tearfulness from the context behind the hopeful and somber stories told by the Dream
Warriors.