FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

I just saw the incident taking place in Washington, DC, in which a confrontation between the white Make America Great Again (MAGA) representatives and a Native Elder singing a religious song took a horrendous turn. There were threats and insults by the young punks wearing red MAGA hats, while an Elder, who happens to be my long time AIM friend and comrade Nate Phillips, was singing a religious song. Now, I see the media and folks changing it around like it was the Native Elder’s fault.

Let me explain to you what the song’s history is.

The Northern Cheyenne people gave this song to the American Indian Movement for an honor song in 1972 after the 71-day occupation of the Wounded Knee massacre grave site, which is now a memorial site, owned by a white person…Can you believe that? Wounded Knee is a sacred area for the Lakota peoples, where over 350 Elders, men, children, and women with unborn babies still inside of their bodies were slaughtered. There are documented accounts of soldiers who opposed the killing of babies, however there were Calvary soldiers riding their horses around the massacre grounds waving their swords with dead babies on them. The Lakota who had disarmed themselves, given up their weapons of stone tomahawks, bows and arrows and hand-thrown spears to the 7th Calvary, and raised the white peace and American flags, after an agreed truce between them.

The leader of the Lakota Band of Natives was a peace Chief named Bigfoot. The Calvary was heavily armed with portable cannons, rifles, steel bayonets, knives and pistols. The 7th Calvary soldiers were under orders of their commanding officers. After the captives had been fed and convinced they were safe, and the babies began to quiet down and go to sleep under their now warm robes, they did not see or hear what was about to happen. The Cavalry like thieves and rapists in the dark of night, surrounded them with those deadly weapons. Early that next morning on December 25th (isn’t that their Christian God Jesus’s birthday?) after feeding the Natives their last breakfast meal, they began to slaughter them, killing all who could not somehow escape.

A couple decades earlier, this same Army of rapist of girls and boys, and murders of defenseless people, surrounded a band of peaceful Northern Cheyenne at Sand Creek and committed the very the same kind of murderous act. After first approaching them under two flags, the American and white peace flags! When the Natives were given the flags, they were given a promise that if they exposed and flew these flags, the Army would never attack them. Yet over a dozen soldiers were given medals of the highest honor, awards the American government has to bestow. Their soldiers and civilians received these awards for this act of genocide, and called the massacre a great victory of war. Today they call it “Make America Great Again”!

So, a decade or so later, believing their own BS propaganda that these were victorious battles, these same murderous Cavalry, along with dozens of their traitorous Crow scouts,  again attacked  during the Sundance religious ceremony at the Little Big Horn or Greasy Grass Creek, as we Natives named it. Only this time Crazy Horse and many other young powerful war leaders (we call them the “shirt wearers” of the Lakota Nations) and their allies the Cheyenne were at the camp guarding the people, armed only with stone tomahawks, bows and arrows against superior weaponry. They defended and wiped out Custer and his band of murderers and rapists of children, helpless elders, and women and their babies.

On their way back to camp, the young heroic Cheyenne warriors made up the song now known as the AIM song and rode into camp singing it, and the women and men joined in and the whole camp began to sing it.

The songs says thank you to the Great Spirit for allowing our young men to be brave and courageous enough to fight off and protect the young children, the women, the unborn babies, the elderly women and men, and our leaders. Singing thank you Great Spirit for giving us the strength to save our children with the bravery you gave us. Thank you for showing us your Love for our peoples. We pray you give us peace with these people who only want war and to kill our Nations/Peoples. This is the meaning behind the words of the AIM song.

So, this young man stood there acting like he was making fun of our religious leader, and smirking like he was superior to him. Someone should have been there to remind him about what happened to the over twenty-five children in the Catholic School on the Navajo Nations fifteen or so years ago. Not too mention the high numbers of evil crimes done to us in the past hundred years! Hundreds of Native children had been raped and the priests responsible received as punishment a transfer to another church. Most of the Indian boarding schools even had their own graveyards. Some with as many as 200 unmarked graves! This is what those kids were demanding: to return to those days when to them America was great.

In the spirit of Crazy Horse.

More articles by:
August 13, 2020
David Correia, Justin Bendell, and Ernesto Longa
Nine Mile Ride: Why Police Reform Always Results in More Police Violence, Not Less
Vijay Prashad
Why a Growing Force in Brazil Is Charging That President Jair Bolsonaro Has Committed Crimes Against Humanity
Brett Wilkins
Teaching Torture: The Death and Legacy of Dan Mitrione
Joseph Scalia III
Yellowstone Imperiled by Compromise
Binoy Kampmark
Don’t Stigmatise the Nuke! Opponents of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
Margot Rathke
The Stimulus Deal Should Include Free College
Thomas Knapp
America Doesn’t Have Real Presidential Debates, But It Should
George Ochenski
Time to Face – and Plan for – Our Very Different Future
Ted Rall
Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential Pick is … ZZZZZ
Purusottam Thakur
‘If We Don’t Work, Who’ll Produce the Harvest?’
Robert Dreyfuss
October Surprise: Will War with Iran Be Trump’s Election Eve Shocker?
Gary Leupp
The RCP, Fascism, and Chairman Bob’s Endorsement of Biden for President
James Haught
The Pandemic Disproves God
Robert Koehler
Election Theft and the Reluctant Democracy
August 12, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War On Arms Control and Disarmament
P. Sainath
“We Didn’t Bleed Him Enough”: When Normal is the Problem
Riva Enteen
Kamala Harris? Really? Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
Kenneth Surin
The Decrepit UK Political System
Robert Hunziker
Freakish Arctic Fires Alarmingly Intensify
Ramzy Baroud
The Likud Conspiracy: Israel in the Throes of a Major Political Crisis
Sam Pizzigati
Within Health Care USA, Risk and Reward Have Never Been More Out of Kilter
John Perry
The US Contracts Out Its Regime Change Operation in Nicaragua
Binoy Kampmark
Selective Maritime Rules: The United States, Diego Garcia and International Law
Manuel García, Jr.
The Improbability of CO2 Removal From the Atmosphere
Khury Petersen-Smith
The Road to Portland: The Two Decades of ‘Homeland Security’
Raouf Halaby
Teaching Palestinian Children to Love Beethoven, Bizet, and Mozart is a Threat to a Depraved Israeli Society
Jeff Mackler
Which Way for Today’s Mass Radicalization? Capitalism’s Impending Catastrophe…or a Socialist Future
Tom Engelhardt
It Could Have Been Different
Stephen Cooper
Santa Davis and the “Stalag 17” Riddim
August 11, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
Why Capitalism is in Constant Conflict With Democracy
Paul Street
Defund Fascism, Blue and Orange
Richard C. Gross
Americans Scorned
Andrew Levine
Trump and Biden, Two Ignoble Minds Here O’erthrown
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities
Sonali Kolhatkar
Trump’s Presidency is a Death Cult
Colin Todhunter
Pushing GMO Crops into India: Experts Debunk High-Level Claims of Bt Cotton Success
Valerie Croft
How Indigenous Peoples are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices to Fight Mining Corporations and Covid-19
David Rovics
Tear Gas Ted Has a Tantrum in Portland
Dean Baker
There is No Evidence That Generous Unemployment Benefits are Making It Difficult to Find Workers
Robert Fantina
War on Truth: How Kashmir Struggles for Freedom of Press
Dave Lindorff
Trump Launches Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Elizabeth Schmidt
COVID-19 Poses a Huge Threat to Stability in Africa
Parth M.N.
Coping With a Deadly Virus, a Social One, Too
Thomas Knapp
The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid
Binoy Kampmark
Mealy-Mouthed Universities: Academic Freedom and the Pavlou Problem Down Under
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail