I Smoked a Fat Pound of Salmon...Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan - P.O.W. Report

Thursday, August 2, 2018

I Smoked a Fat Pound of Salmon...Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan


A group of Alaska Native teenagers premiered a bilingual hip-hop video on Monday showcasing Tlingit culture and Southeast Alaska.

Although goofy, the point of the project was to give local youth a chance to take pride in their heritage and the place they come from.

The video is called “Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan,” which translates to “I love you, my people.”

Throughout the video, AJ Hoyle blends Tlingit and English lyrics together over a Native drum beat.

Hoyle raps with a hip-hop star’s swagger across scenes from Southeast Alaska, including the center of a canoe full of paddlers, fields of fireweed and the back deck of a ferry.

"I pick those blueberries...I love my mom"...ha! Best lyrics ever! I predict that we are going to see a resurgence in tribalism from the younger generation--and it's a good thing. Generation Z(yklon) is already the most conservative generation since WW2 and it's a breath of fresh air to see them embracing their heritage be it Native or White Culture.

Hoyle wrote most of the lyrics himself.

“So I was the rapper, also known as the emcee,” Hoyle said.

He’s written raps before and speaks Tlingit pretty well, but this was his first time rhyming in another language.

That’s why some of the lyrics seem random, even while playing with some familiar hip-hop themes.

“I pick those blueberries / I love my mom / I smoked a fat pound of salmon / Ix̱six̱án, Ax̱ Ḵwáan,” he raps.

He also included a shout out to “This is Angoon,” a Southeast Alaska hip-hop favorite by T.N.T. and Swerv Merv. That video is a couple years old now.

My only criticism is that he mumbled a considerable amount of the english lyrics, however the Tlingit lyrics sounded well pronounced.

Everything from the video production to ferry tickets and snacks were paid for through grant money promoting health and well-being under a tribal suicide prevention program.

“So when we were doing our storyboard for the lyrics, we wanted to have images that illustrate indigenous life in Southeast,” said Will Kronick, who coordinates the suicide prevention program for the Tlingit & Haida Central Council.

Kronick said the grant was fairly open-ended, so he let the students choose what they wanted to do.

“They decided, ‘Let’s do a music video!’ And all the different scenes came out of that, too, because students wanted to do outdoor things, they wanted to go canoeing, they wanted to go fishing. So really, all of the ideas came from students,” Kronick said.

All in all, congratulations! The production quality is actually great and the older generations don't really get the banana meme and that's ok with me. Here's to a bright future that hopefully will have a resurgence of pride in all cultures be they White, Red, Yellow or Black!

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