Profile

Personal Statement

Anpetu waste. Magaju Kaga emakiyapi do (good day, my name is Makes Rain, my Dakota name). My given name at birth is Rafael Gonzalez. My stage name is Tufawon (2 for 1), it represents my mixed heritage. I’m a Dakota/Boricua hip hop artist, music producer, and activist from Minneapolis. I create music as a form of medicine for myself, my people, and for the world. Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that my art is to be used as a vehicle for social change in an effective and meaningful way. As an act of resistance, and a way to bring hope to communities. I want to bring thought provoking art to the people. I want to bring laughter and joy, and I ultimately wish to enlighten the people in a way that will inspire them to do the same. To do good in a world that can oftentimes be a grim place. We are beacons of light, and through my work, I hope that this translates and reaches people from all different walks of life. Our ancestors fought and died for me to exist and represent who we are in a good way, and so it has become my calling to carry this out. I have a background in youth work. For 7 years I worked in direct service with marginalized youth in the Minneapolis, mentoring K-12 graders and engaging in a number of different programs including service learning, community beautification projects, hip hop/music classes, and more. My time doing community work helped me become the leader I am today. This same energy is also rooted in the mentorship I had the privilege to receive as a youth. I was blessed with a hip hop community that nurtured my growth as a poet and beat maker. I began doing hip hop music in high school and formed a rap group. We released music and played shows in and out of town. I also learned how to make beats from hip hop producers that came before me. They took the necessary time to pass along knowledge that would eventually take me to places I never thought I’d reach. I spent my time writing rhymes instead of joining a gang. Instead of selling drugs, I saved money from my job at a nursing home to buy my first beat machine. So many of my relatives and friends went down the wrong path, and I could’ve easily fell victim to the same lifestyle because it was calling me. There was a systematic attempt for us to fall into this trap, and this dynamic still exists today. We were vulnerable and impressionable young natives in Minneapolis looking for a place to fit in and find purpose. In a very real way, hip hop saved my life. My mother, a Dakota woman who grew up in poverty and went to boarding school, lost her ways through assimilation. We weren’t connected to ceremony in the city, but we were still proud natives. My father, a former gang member and drug dealer also grew up poor in the slums of Puerto Rico. He had no formal education. I still have moments when I question how I made it this far. I continued on my path and eventually left youth work to pursue my music career full time, releasing albums and performing at shows, mostly locally. Although I wasn’t making the most money as an independent artist, I supported myself. As I gained my most success as a solo artist in the summer of 2016, I had a spiritual calling. Intuitively I knew the people needed me. My people. Indigenous people. I started hearing about the resistance happening against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and my spirit was called to help defend the land and water, our people, and all that is sacred. I spent months living at camp, fighting the pipeline. During this time, I went into my first sweat lodge. I felt my ancestors and their power to heal and guide. I almost felt ashamed that it took this long to finally begin to learn my ways. This is how colonization works. It keeps us from truly being who we are as Indigenous people. I reconnected and began learning this deeper, spiritual side of my identity as a Dakota man. Standing Rock changed my life, and I had no anticipation of how profound this change would be. As we were eventually moved off of camp and the pipeline was built, many of us felt lost in so many ways, enduring the trauma and knowing that oil flows through this pipeline. It was hard to swallow. How could we pick ourselves back up and move forward with the same strength we went into the fight with? During my time at camp, I joined a crew of amazing Indigenous hip hop artists who I call family now. We stood on that frontline together and created such a powerful bond. Moving forward, we toured the states, Canada, and Europe promoting the divestment movement, holding banks accountable for their investments in the oil industry. We spoke at panels, performed at resistance camps and concert halls, engaged in non violent direct actions and used our voices to demand a just transition away from fossil fuels. Eventually our efforts were refocussed on fighting Line 3, a proposed Enbridge tar sands pipeline that threatens the waters, wild rice, and lands of Northern Minnesota. Our fight continues, and music plays a key role in our movement. From doing presentations at the United Nations in Switzerland, to recording with aboriginal artists in Australia, I will continue to use the intersection of hip hop and activism to effect change. The past year and a half I have been focussing much of my time on creating my artist infrastructure. I started my music business, and I continue to research the most effective ways to actively secure my success, while maintaining my integrity and staying true to my values. I am determined.

Name

Rafael Gonzalez

Tribal Affiliation

Spirit Lake Tribe

Indian Name or Nickname

Magaju Kaga

Website

http://tufawon.com

Twitter

@tufawon

Instagram

@tufawon

Work Email

info@tufawon.com

Mobile Number

6122518818

Skills

Music Production