In 2015 Boriqua Chicks was able to attend the Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day in Chicago. I remember seeing a beautiful Black woman on stage with a colorful and bright fashion ensemble that reminded me of the Native American people. I would later meet her, YoNasDa Lonewolf Hill, on social media after seeing her drop knowledge in an interview with The Breakfast Club.
“Queen YoNasDa,” which is pronounced Yo-Naja-Ha, is Black and Native American. Her identity has been a major influence in her work as an activist. I am excited that we can share her story on BoriquaChicks.com.
Check out the interview below.
Who is YoNasDa LoneWolf Hill?
I am a woman first, a mother second, and a big sister, friend, listener, counselor to many and a fighter for my people last.
As an activist, Hip-Hop artist, and community organizer, you have been committed to empowering people of color—specifically Black, Brown, and Red people. Based on your experience, why do you think some Black, Brown, and Red people don’t see the connection between their struggles?
Because they were taught to be separate, they were forced to be separated. Satan and his helpers don’t want unity, because unity is freedom, justice and equality. White supremacy is a sickness that has transferred over the color lines into a mentality and a way of life for many that is lighter than others. It hurts me and I’m striving to change that.
Your father is African-American and your mother was full-blooded Oglala Lakota. What was it like growing up with parents from different backgrounds?
It was the best and worst of both worlds. I was taunted because many of my peers didn’t think my mother was my mother. My father wasn’t around but my African-American peers would pull on my hair and call it a horse tail. But I thank my mother Wauneta Lonewolf for instilling in me the beautiful richness of being Native and African American. I saw at a very young age the cultural similarities, whether it was the dances, the regalia, the way of life when I would go to the Rez or when I would be in the Hood or the Barrio. I appreciated the one-ness.
This past fall, on National Indigenous Peoples’ Day (2015), you did a radio interview with The Breakfast Club and you spoke about identifying as a Black Native American. On social media you later responded to people who questioned your “Native American” roots. Can you tell us what happened and why it is so important to embrace your identity?
OMG!! It was sooo hurting to see so many African Americans that were offended that a brown skin woman could acknowledge her Native American side on such a platform. It was like, “What? How dare she?” Then I had to realize that those people that I so-called offended, were the ones that may also hate a part of themselves, that they were forced to not recognize. 97% of African Americans have Native American roots in their lineage, however, throughout history many of our elders had to choose either white or black on census reports or freedom papers. Many had to “pass” for white if they were actually Native and Black…or even if they were from Mexico. It has been Black and White for years and for me to stand on a Hip-Hop media platform and be proud of my mother and father who created me, was a reminder to them that, “No, we aren’t just Black and White! We are original people!”
I give ALL praises to my Lakota mother who fell in love with a Black man and had me and raised me to be proud to be a Native & Black woman and to know BOTH of my people!! I may not be the “image” you want me to be to fit into the minds of ignorance and I may not be the “right” person you believe to mobilize indigenous people and to speak of what I know of who I am!! I’m proud of who I am and whom’s I am so throw your stones I already built a warrior shield to block it!!! #freethepeople #freeyourselfoffalseeducationofself #nationalindependenceday #indigenous #JusticeOrElse
There is so much misinformation about Native Americans and their current conditions. What do you feel are the biggest misconceptions and little known truths about the original people of this land?
A major misconception is that we are extinct, that we are alcoholics and love casinos.
At BoriquaChicks.com, we have many readers who may have parents of 2 different backgrounds (racially, ethnically, and/or culturally). Some experience challenges of being accepted in their different communities. What advice would you give to someone who may feel as if they don’t belong?
First, I want to thank you both for even giving us “mixed folks” a platform like this. I absolutely love you both for this and I’m honored to even be interviewed. You know, embrace your diversity. Embrace your uniqueness and don’t EVER deny your parents and their struggles because of the color of their skin. We are no longer in a time where we have to “pass” by the color of our skin to get into a “white only” establishment. We no longer have to fit a stereotype in order to be “down” with Blacks. Don’t allow anyone, even if it’s your family, to make you feel like you don’t belong. You do belong! God didn’t make any accidents in creating you! Be the wonderful, beautifully divine you!
How would you describe your musical style?
Well my album “God. Love & Music” is an eclectic music project that fuses my testimony of what I’ve been through. I wanted to share my story into a musical experience and that’s what my album is all about.
Lately everyone has been asking me what’s up with my music ? Wanting me to perform. I appreciate it all. As a matter of fact I’m on the #justiceorelse mixtape. I also still have music on iTunes,Amazon,Best Buy,FYE, Walmart (Canada) just in case you haven’t bought any of it just look up my name and you will find it. Maybe if I’m back in that zone I’ll finish Love.Hope & Faith a follow up to my debut album God.Love & Music. Please support those albums! Thank you everyone!!! #QueenYoNasDa
A video posted by YoNasDa LoneWolf (@queenyonasda) on
How has the legacy of your grandfather, Minister Louis Farrakhan, influenced your path as an activist?
He has taught me humility, strength, patience, and unconditional love. Most importantly, he is my constant reminder that when you are dutiful to God, look how much God will love and cover you. My grandfather has been on platforms that others were too afraid to stand on. He has spoken the truth that many were too scared to say and because of him and his works, I have the strength to strive to do the same.
You have used social media, media interviews, and physically having a presence in communities through tours and events to make an impact in the world. Of all the projects, which one has been the most important in mobilizing people for change?
Wow!! What a great question. I would say nothing was greater than the other. Hip Hop 4 Haiti was very important to me as well as mobilizing to fight against police brutality, even the anti-SB1070 immigration bill fight was important. All of these are important to me because I’m seeing God’s children without justice and without certain necessities that are suppose to be given to us from God, not man! And when I see these things being taken away–like freedom, land, water, food, shelter, clothing, and even love–I have to stand up and fight for what is already divinely ours!!!
The Flint water crisis has caused outrage and disgust as this community has been subjected to poisoned water since 2014, which they are still being billed for. It’s so crazy! You are currently organizing Hip Hop 4 Flint. Tell us about this program and how people can help.
Ok, so within a week we are at 45 cities participating globally by hosting a fundraising event all on 1 day–March 19th; it is called Hip Hop 4 Flint. We will be raising money for effective water filters to give to low-income families in Flint. If you want to organize locally go to hiphop4flint.com and get involved. On March 19th you can go on Allhiphop.com and other sites to view all 45 live events throughout the world. It’s going to be beautiful to see us fighting for human rights all in the name of Hip Hop.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a docuseries called “Bridging the Families-Starting A Movement” and I’m releasing a children’s book series called “The Adventures of Star Song,” so please keep in touch with me and let’s change the world… but before let’s be the change! Love you! Pilamiya (Thank You)!
In the video below, watch YoNasDa’s journey back to Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the community of her mother’s tribe.
Connect with Activist YoNasDa Lonewolf Hill at the channels below.
Facebook: Queen YoNasDa
Photos via YoNasDa Lonewolf Hill.
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