Wooden Indian by John Denver

joseph1The first real book I remember reading as a child was “Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce.” In it I learned of “counting coup” and distinguishing oneself in battle without having to kill. It so impressed me that after hearing the following song by John Denver, I didn’t want to fight on the side of the whites when we played “cowboys and Indians.”

Twenty years later I became an honorary member of the Ventureño Chumash in Southern California through my good friend Red Star. It was during sweat lodges and playing Chumash soccer with them that I witnessed an amazing grace in their demeanor and a quiet dignity that I’ve seen only rarely among white people.

I can only imagine the emotions our Native Brothers feel when hearing this song. For my part, it makes me wish that I were a person of color, any color but white.

I’m “going native” now and will be living on various beaches around the island. Keep the faith and pray wisdom wins in the end. Peace my friends!

Wooden Indian by John Denver

Well I was a red man
I was proud, I was strong
You were the white man
And you stole away my home

Now I am a wooden Indian
Painted dreams inside my head
Times THE WAY you bring me down
Make ME wish THAT I was dead

Ay, I was a red man
In my passing made no sound
You were the white man
And you drove me in the ground

Now I am a wooden Indian
Standing silent in the rain
Swear BY my grandfather’s father
We’re GONNA rise again

Ay, I was a red man
I was proud, I was strong
You were the white man
And you stole away my home

Now I am a wooden Indian
Standing silent in the rain
Swear BY my grandfather’s father
We’re GONNA rise again

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