Monday, April 23, 2007

THE RED ROAD ENSEMBLE


EARTH DAY
I know almost as much about the native Americans as I do the Civil War- that is to say- quite a lot. Here are two songs from Robbie Robertson and the Red Road Ensemble "Songs for the Native American" ...I like this Album very much.
I like the Native Americans extreme reverence for the Earth and admire the idyllic way the Tribes lived on the land.

The first tune concerns the Ghostdance , where the tribes believed that they could summon their ancestors to help them to fight against the White Men. The Ghostdance would give them enough Warriors to restore the land and bring back the Buffalo that the whites had wastefully slaughtered. Sitting Bull was killed while under arrest and his band was subsequently massacred at Wounded Knee, South Dakota for trying to dance up their ancestors.
GHOSTDANCE



Crow has brought the message

To the children of the sun

For the return of the buffalo

And for a better day to come

You can kill my body

You can damn my soul

For not believing in your god

And some world down below

(chorus)


You don't stand a chance against my prayers

You don't stand a chance against my love

They outlawed the Ghost Dance

But we shall live again, we shall live again


My sister above

She has red paint

She died at Wounded Knee

Like a latter day saint

You got the big drum in the distance

Blackbird in the sky

That's the sound that you hear

When the buffalo cry


You don't stand a chance against my prayers
You don't stand a chance against my love
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
But we shall live again, we shall live again


Crazy Horse was a mystic

He knew the secret of the trance

And Sitting Bull the great apostle

Of the Ghost Dance

Come on Comanche

Come on Blackfoot

Come on Shoshone

Come on Cheyenne

We shall live again

Come on Arapaho

Come on Cherokee

Come on Paiute

Come on Sioux

We shall live again


IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE

The general rode for sixteen days

The horses were thirsty and tired

On the trail of a renegade chief

One he'd come to admire

The soldiers hid behind the hills

That surrounded the village

And he rode down to warn the chief

They'd come to conquer and pillage

Lay down your arms

Lay down your spear

The chief's eyes were sad

But showed no sign of fear


IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE

RAISE YOUR VOICES AND BE THANKFUL

IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE


He spoke of the days before the white man came

With his guns and whisky

He told of a time a long time ago

Before what you call history

The general couldn't believe his words

Nor the look on his face

But he knew these people would rather die

Then have to live in this disgrace

What law have I broken

What wrong have I done

That makes you want to bury me
on this trail of blood

IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE
RAISE YOUR VOICES AND BE THANKFUL
IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE


We cared for the land and the land cared for us

And that's the way it's always been

Never asked for more never asked too much

And now you tell me this is the end


IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE
RAISE YOUR VOICES AND BE THANKFUL
IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE


I laid down my weapon

Laid down my bow

Now you want to drive me out

With no place left to go

and he turned to his people and said dry your eyes

We've been blessed and we are thankful

Raise your voices to the sky

It is a good day to die
"It is a good day to die" are the words Sitting Bull used to implore his warriors to fight at a place called Little Bighorn by the Whites, or the Greasy Grass by the Sioux. He had seen the battle unfold in a vision months before. Follow this link for a very good and accurate description of the Events that led up to Custers Last Stand.
The only soldier that was left without his body being desecrated was a Trumpeter who had spent his last moments trying to defend himself with his trumpet.
The Sioux respected him for the courage he showed.
An Sioux woman recollected they had pushed sewing needles through Custers ears so that his hearing would improve. The year before he had been warned , and ashes dumped on his boot, not to fight the Sioux or he would surely die.
This song seems to have some elements of the Nez Perce and the 1100 mile escape/retreat they made just hoping to get to Canada and live in peace. They came up 40 miles short and were sent to a Reservation in northeastern Oklahoma.
It is said that somewhere in the tribal graveyard, there are the bones of Merriwethers Lewis' grandson.

14 comments:

Mother of Invention said...

This is the one you were telling me about and I haven't made it out to a music store yet to get it. What a great and powerful tribute Robbie R. makes to the Brothers of long ago.

steve said...

Yes mom, its kind of a light Rock with a heavy dose of Native American wind, chant, and Drum.

red-dirt-girl said...

great post Steve! and a fitting one for earth day I think ...

my father's family tells this story / legend of a great, great, great ...(?) grandmother, Cherokee, who walked the trail of tears as a young girl. Her parents died along the 1000 mile trek. She survived, an orphan. Once she reached Tallequah, OK, a dentist and his wife took her in and named her Lily ... but her name was Wahlell (sp?) ..Cherokee for 'Hummingbird.' The has since passed down - my grandmother being the last 'wally'..

steve said...

yes, the Cherokee of florida and Georgia were the most "civilized " of the native Americans....right up to the part where Gold was discovered on their land and they were "Relocated".

Anonymous said...

What wonderful history lessons you provide!! I homeschool, so when there's a lesson-- come here girls- read THIS!! Now you've GOT to elaborate on the gold in GA and FL!!! Please!!

steve said...

anonymous! Where you been? I'll do the trail of tears sometime this week! I wish i had been as interested in History as I am now back when I was a Schoolboy!

red-dirt-girl said...

one word for you steve (ok 2,3,4...)

Dahlonega, Georgia - gold rush started here. You can still pan for gold in Dahlonega (and get gold dust).

factoid:
All of the gold on Atlanta's capital dome came from Dahlonega...

red-dirt-girl said...

oh, one more interesting tidbit (a personal one)

red dirt girl started life in the red dirt plains of Oklahoma...

and ended up being raised in the red dirt hills of Georgia ...

interesting completion of the "Cherokee" circle, doncha' think?

Anonymous said...

Steve-- I've been lurking for about 9 months, love your posts! Can't wait for the T of T.

RDG-- OOoo girls!! Let's get out the atlas and look up Dahlonega!! Thanks--

steve said...

LURKING FOR 9 MONTHS? THATS FROM THE GIT-GO! SURELY THERE MUST BE A PLACE IN OZ FOR YOU!

Anonymous said...

Ha-- Story telling is NOT my gift! When I start telling a story-- eyes glaze over, people start looking for other people to talk to. My brother got the story telling gene!

No blog making for me-- that's why I'm anon. I don't know how to do the choose an identity thingee, so I just do anon.

I just love to read the blogs!! And yours is awesome!

steve said...

Then you shall be our Munchkins, whom Glenda had to implore with song to come out from their hidy- places.

Anonymous said...

Follow the Yellow Brick Road, follow the Yellow Brick road,

Haha-- Funny you should dubb me that-- my hubby hates the Munchkins-- whenever they come on, he leaves the room. I don't care though-- I'll leave my lollipop around when I visit!

Old Lady said...

Very good post.