Frank Waln (left) and Micco Sampson (right) performing one of their songs at the Connecting With Our Native Roots show in Hoff Theater.

Lakota rapper Frank Waln and hoop dancer Lumhe Sampson preached about tolerance and unity during their performance at Hoff Theater yesterday night, but they weren’t shy about expressing their political opinions.

“You are a settler on occupied land,” said Waln, speaking to a crowd of several dozen people. “[The American government] tried to kill us; they tried to kill our culture. This country was built on stolen land and stolen labor.”

The performance was part of an event sponsored by several campus organizations to kick off American Indian Heritage Month at this university. The crowd clapped, cheered and sang along with Waln as he rapped a series of songs ranging from emotional to upbeat. Sampson, also known as “Micco,” danced in the background, throwing hoops in the air, yielding at least a dozen hoops toward the end of the performance. He was dressed in traditional Native American garb.

Waln rapped about politics, family and issues such as drug and alcohol abuse on Native American reservations. He said moral values must be restored to the reservations.

“Sometimes love isn’t something you see on TV,” he said. “Sometimes love is talking about things we have to change in our communities: alcoholism, drug abuse, violence towards our women.”

The performance — sponsored by the American Indian Student Union, Multicultural Involvement and Student Advocacy, TOTUS Spoken Word Experience, and Hoff Grant — captivated event attendees such as Meghan Retzbach.

“I was kind of intrigued, because I’ve never seen anything like a monologue before,” said Retzbach, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, “It was really good. Better than I expected.”

Waln, a Columbia College graduate originally from Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, expressed his disapproval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, saying that it could be built through Native American reservations. He also had harsh words for fans who support keeping the name of the Washington Redskins football team.

“Redskins are the names they gave our scalps, and we have a national football team named after that,” Waln said.

Nataly Cruz Castillo, a Native American-community-involvement intern for the Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy, came up with the idea to invite Waln to this university after she saw his face on the cover of Native Peoples Magazine.

“There’s this issue that people don’t know there’s a Native American population,” she said. “I wanted to do something big to show people they’re here.”

Freshman kinesiology major MacKenzie Genthe, who received credit for one of her classes for attending the event, was an example of Cruz’s target audience.

“I didn’t know there was a significant Native American community on campus,” she said. “It was pretty cool; I’ve never been to an event like this.”