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Columbus was a monster; celebrate Indigenous People's Day with live rap

Baby Shel, right, will perform during Indigenous People's Day.

Baby Shel, right, will perform during Indigenous People's Day.

Last year, the City of Minneapolis officially recognized the second Monday of October as Indigenous People's Day, replacing its former designation as Columbus Day. In their April 25, 2014 resolution, the city council recognized Minneapolis' longstanding history of American Indian activism, the need for a more accurate historical record, and declared the day "shall be used to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Dakota, Ojibwe, and other Indigenous nations add to our city."

Augsburg College's Save the Kids organization did just that last October, throwing the first annual Indigenous People's Day celebration featuring panel discussions and live music. Tonight, Save the Kids, the Augsburg Indigenous Student Association, and Augsburg Latin American Students bring a hip-hop theme to the second annual celebration, featuring an impressive lineup of rappers, dancers, and DJs representing a slice of local native culture.

The MCs on the bill represent a glimpse of the spectrum of American Indian rappers in Minnesota, a wide-ranging scene impressively stacked with quality artists. Tall Paul represents the time-honored south Minneapolis style of engagingly personal lyrics and subtly complex rhyme patterns better than most, invoking intricately written dissections of his lived experience into classically structured boom-bap bars. He even scored a shout-out from Dave Chappelle in 2013.

Red Lake's Baby Shel has been blowing up off the strength of his impeccable chop-rap flows, bringing palpable energy to an elastic and raw approach that sits perfectly over brash bangers or smoked-out slow beats. He won Vita.mn's Are You Local? best-new band contest earlier this year

St. Paul rapper Chase Manhattan combines a street-rap aesthetic with politically minded social understanding and a culturally engaged ethos, over production that often mixes gangsta-rap sonics with traditional percussion.

Also hailing from St. Paul is rap duo Mirage, whose work is heavy instrumentally and thematically, dealing unflinchingly with topics of struggle, addiction, and loss delivered with direct and impacting presence. Peace Of Mind Records offers some chilled out psychedelia, as the collective of producers and rappers find a spiritual and political consciousness through experimentation and a zen attitude.

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The show also features dance performances from b-boy/girl troupe House of Dance Twin Cities and Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli, Warriors of the First Cactus Flower, as well as DJs Chuck Chizzle and Francisco. The event starts at 5 p.m. Foss Center Chapel on the Augsburg campus, (2211 Riverside Ave.) The event is free, all-ages, and open to the public.

Set times:

  • 5-5:30 p.m.: DJ Chuck Chizzle
  • 5:30-6 p.m.: House of Dance w/DJ Francisco
  • 6:-6:15 p.m.: Mirage
  • 6:15-6:20 p.m.: DJ/Announcements/ALAS
  • 6:20-6:35 p.m.: Peace of Mind Records
  • 6:35-6:40 p.m.: DJ/Announcements/AISA
  • 6:40-7 p.m.: Kapulli Yaocenoxtli Dance Group
  • 7:00-7:30 p.m.: Baby Shel
  • 7:30-8 p.m.: Tall Paul
  • 8:00-8:30 p.m.: Chase Manhattan