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Bury my heart at Wounded Knee

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:: American Names by S. V. Benét* :: Ballads and Poems, 1915–1930 :: 

I have fallen in love with American names,
The sharp names that never get fat,
The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims,
The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat,
Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat.

Seine and Piave are silver spoons,
But the spoonbowl-metal is thin and worn,
There are English counties like hunting-tunes
Played on the keys of a postboy's horn,
But I will remember where I was born.

I will remember Carquinez Straits,
Little French Lick and Lundy's Lane,
The Yankee ships and the Yankee dates
And the bullet-towns of Calamity Jane.
I will remember Skunktown Plain.

I will fall in love with a Salem tree
And a rawhide quirt from Santa Cruz,
I will get me a bottle of Boston sea
And a blue-gum nigger to sing me blues.
I am tired of loving a foreign muse.

Rue des Martyrs and Bleeding-Heart-Yard,
Senlis, Pisa, and Blindman's Oast,
It is a magic ghost you guard
But I am sick for a newer ghost,
Harrisburg, Spartanburg, Painted Post.

Henry and John were never so
And Henry and John were always right?
Granted, but when it was time to go
And the tea and the laurels had stood all night,
Did they never watch for Nantucket Light?

I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.
I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.
You may bury my body in Sussex grass,
You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.
I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.
Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.


Wounded Knee* (Lakota: Čaŋkpé Opí); Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota, United States; Population: 382 (2010)

The town is named for the Wounded Knee Creek which runs through the region. The town lies within the Pine Ridge Reservation*, territory of the Oglala Lakota* (Sioux).

Wounded Knee was the location of the last major confrontation between the US Army and Native Americans*. It is also the vicinity of where Crazy Horse's parents buried his heart and some of his bones after his murder in 1877.


12/29/1890 :: In an incident known as the Wounded Knee Massacre*, the United States 7th Cavalry killed more than 300 men, women and children who were being relocated to the Sioux reservation at Pine Ridge.

 

02/27/1973 :: During the Wounded Knee incident*, the American Indian Movement* (AIM) occupied the Pine Ridge Reservation near Wounded Knee in protest against the federal government and its policies related to Native Americans. A 71-day standoff between federal authorities and the AIM ensued. The group members surrendered on May 8.


Benét's phrase I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass. Bury my heart at Wounded Knee appears at the beginning of "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee*: An Indian History of the American West" (1970); American writer Dee Brown covers the history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century. The book expresses details of the history of American expansionism from a point of view that is critical of its effects on the Native Americans. Brown describes Native Americans' displacement through forced relocations and years of warfare waged by the United States federal government. The government's dealings are portrayed as a continuing effort to destroy the culture, religion, and way of life of Native American peoples.

 

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Discussion 3 Comments

  • Irie Zen 16th Dec 2018

    ^^

  • Irie Zen 16th Dec 2018

    "I'd rather dream of Padmé," he said slyly, knowing it would distract his Master.


    ^^ Buffy St.Marie - Illuminations (1969)



    In the year 2000, the Wire magazine picked this spaced out gem from Native American folksinger and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie as one the "100 Albums That Set the World on Fire"


    Released in 1969, and now on CD, as of 2001, it was reissued as an import on 180 gram vinyl with its original glorious artwork and package. Interestingly enough, it's a record Sainte-Marie doesn't even list on her discography on her website. It doesn't matter whether she cares for it or not, of course, because Illuminations is as prophetic a record as the first album by Can or the psychedelic work of John Martin on Solid Air. For starters, all of the sounds with the exception of a lead guitar on one track and a rhythm section employed on three of the last four selections are completely synthesized from the voice and guitar of Sainte-Marie herself. There are tracks whose vocals are completely electronically altered and seem to come from the ether -- check out "Mary" and "Better to Find Out for Yourself" as a sample. But the track "Adam," with its distorted bassline and Sainte-Marie throwing her voice all over the mix in a tale of Adam's fall and his realization -- too late -- that he could have lived forever, is a spooky, wondrous tune as full of magic as it is mystery and electronic innovation. The songs here, while clearly written, are open form structures that, despite their brevity (the longest cut here is under four minutes), break down the barriers between folk music, rock, pop, European avant-garde music and Native American styles (this is some of the same territory Tim Buckley explores on Lorca and Starsailor). It's not a synthesis in any way, but a completely different mode of travel. This is poetry as musical tapestry and music as mythopoetic sonic landscape; the weirdness on this disc is over-exaggerated in comparison to its poetic beauty. It's gothic in temperament, for that time anyway, but it speaks to issues and affairs of the heart that are only now beginning to be addressed with any sort of constancy -- check out the opener "God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot" or the syncopated blues wail in "Suffer the Children" or the arpeggiated synthesized lyrics of "The Vampire." When the guitars begin their wail and drone on "The Angel," the whole record lifts off into such a heavenly space that Hans Joachim Rodelius must have heard it back in the day, because he uses those chords, in the same order and dynamic sense, so often in his own music. Some may be put off by Sainte-Marie's dramatic delivery, but that's their loss; this music comes from the heart -- and even space has a heart, you know. One listen to the depth of love expressed on "The Angel" should level even the crustiest cynic in his chair. Combine this with the shriek, moan, and pure-lust wail of "With You, Honey" and "He's a Keeper of the Fire" -- you can hear where Tim Buckley conceived (read: stole) the entirety of Greetings From LA from, and Diamanda Galas figured out how to move across octaves so quickly. The disc closes with the gothic folk classic "Poppies," the most tripped out, operatic, druggily beautiful medieval ballad ever psychedelically sung. That an album like Illuminations can continue to offer pleasure 32 years after it was recorded is no surprise given its quality; that it can continue to mystify, move, and baffle listeners is what makes it a treasure that is still ahead of its time.


    ;P