Graft

from by riot nrrd

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about

This song was inspired by a number of indigenous elders, who include Louis Bird of Peawanuck First Nation and Bob Sutherland of Moose Factory in the James Bay Area, and who were kind enough to talk with me and share a little bit of their life, experience, and world views. I was struck then, and since, by the generosity of these men, and of other women and men who, despite the ravages of colonialism and its effects on them and their peoples, are still willing to be generous and welcoming to outsiders such as myself. One impression I was left with was of peoples who have lost much, and yet retain much of a beautiful way of life and living that is still quite unfamiliar to most Canadians and most modern people.

lyrics

The elder's face was like and ancient tree,
wrinkled, wizened and kindly.
"Come to my teepee," he said, "I'll tell you stories,
"I wouldn't mind the company."

"Because my grandchildren, they don't spend time with me.
under moonlight, here in this teepee.
These days they mostly get their stories
by the buzzing glow of their tv's."

"When I am gone, when it is time -
who will fight the dams and mines?"
I am the roots of a clear-cut tree,
graft on to me, I'll feed you what I've seen.

"Our ancient language is like a bubbling spring,
full of spirit that fills everything.
But now our tongues, and now our ears get clogged with things.
The rocks still speak, we are not listening."

If you don't know your roots, how can you know
who you are, or how to grow?
Searching for what's already yours,
a race of restless wanderers.

When I am gone, when it is time -
who will fight the dams and mines?
I am the roots of a clear-cut tree.
Graft on to me, I'll feed you what I've seen.
Graft on to me, I'll feed you what I've seen.

I'm walking through the fields
of stubby trees and stones.
Here and there a flower blooms,
and it feels like home.

"Now my story's told.
The fire's burned down, the embers glow.
What you do now, well, that's up to you -
kick out the fire, or bring it fuel.
Kick out this fire, or bring it fuel.

credits

from settle, released June 6, 2014
Chords by Conrad Sichler, lyrics by Conrad Sichler, Louis Bird, and Bob Sutherland. Performed by Conrad Sichler (lead vocal, acoustic guitar), Dan Lockwood (drums), Bob Doidge (bass guitar), Frank Koren (electric guitars), Vince Rinaldo (keyboards), and Amy King (back-up vocals).

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riot nrrd Hamilton, Ontario

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