this righteous song from the phenemonal jim pepper album, pepper’s pow wow, refers to native american youth being stolen from their homes and put in boarding schools like carlisle where white priests, nuns, and teachers brutally tried to force the young kidnapped students to be non-indians

this abuse at residential schools has caused severe generational trauma & furthered cultural genocide amongst american indigenous people

“drums” is powerful in how it reclaims identity and pride, and calls out the futility of violence:

let me tell you mister teacher when you say you’ll make me right
in five hundred years of fighting not one indian turned white

this song is triumphant in its beat and its message.  colonizers have tried to wipe out indigenous people for hundreds of years, but haven’t succeeded.  native americans have perservered, luckily.

we can take cues from them on how to be respectful, intelligent, green, aware of interconnectedness, community based, greedless, and not destroying life for money.

 you may teach me this land’s history but we taught it to you first

native american ingenuity is responsible for domesticating 60% of crops now consumed worldwide, including the tomato, and for mapping most of the united states.

pepper’s chorus provides momentum of defiance and joy:

there are drums
around the mountain
indian drums
that you can hear
there are drums
beyond the mountain
and they’re getting mighty near

so much evil has been thrown at natives, but they are still here, themselves, not turned white.  the indian drums will always be the heartbeat of this continent…

thankfully, truth and reconciliation commissions in canada are addressing the harm inflicted against natives at the hands of residential schools and are seeking truth and healing.  and in the united states, maine has created the first state-tribal trc in the nation.