Ballad of Crowfoot

Willie Dunn


Comes the Spring, and it's warm thaw,
Around your neck, the eagle claw,
Upon your head, the buffalo horn
Today a great new chief is born.
So raise him fast toward the sun,
A heart now beats, a life's begun.
It's eighteen hundred twenty-one,
Today a Blackfoot soul is born.

Crowfoot, Crowfoot, why the tears?
You've been a brave man, for many years.
Why the sadness? Why the sorrow?
Maybe there'll be a better tomorrow.

The years have gone, the years have past,
Your heart has set, your soul is cast,
You stand before the Council Fire,
You have the mind and the desire,
Of notions wise you speak so well
And in brave deeds you do excel
And it's eighteen hundred fifty-three,
And you stand the chief of Confederacy,

You are the leader, you are the chief,
You stand against both lier and thief,
They trade braves whiskey and steal your land,
And they're coming in swift like the wind-blown sand,
They shoot the buffalo and kill the game,
And send their preachers in to shame,
And it's eighteen hundred sixty-four,
And you think of peace and you think of war.

See the settlers in more numbers
He takes whatever he encounters,
You've seen the Sioux all battered, beaten,
They're all in rags, they haven't eaten,
The Nez Perce' are much the same,
It seems like such a heartless game,
And it's eighteen hundred seventy-six,
And the enemy's full of those death-dealing tricks.

Today the treaty stands on the table,
Will you sign it, are you able,
It offers food and protection too,
Do you really think they'll hold it true?
It offers a reserve, now isn't that grand,
And in return you cede all your land,
And it's eighteen hundred seventy-seven,
And you know the scales are so uneven.

Crowfoot, Crowfoot, why the tears?
You've been a brave man, for many years.
Why the sadness? Why the sorrow?
Maybe there'll be a better tomorrow.

Well, the buffalo are slaughtered, there's nothing to eat,
The government's late again, with the meat,
And your people are riddled
With the white man's disease,
And in the summer you're sick,
And in the winter you freeze,
And sometimes you wonder why you signed that day,
But they broke the treaties themselves anyway,
And it's eighteen hundred eighty-nine,
And your death star explodes and then it falls.

Crowfoot, Crowfoot, why the tears?
You've been a brave man, for many years.
Why the sadness? Why the sorrow?
Maybe there'll be a better tomorrow.

The years have gone, the years have flown,
A nation since has swiftly grown,
But for the native, it's all the same,
There's still the hardship, there's still the pain,
There's still the hardship, there's still the strife,
It's bitterness shines like a whetted knife,
There's still the hypocrisy, and still the hate,
Was that in the treaties, was that our fate?
We're all unhappy pawns in the government's game,
And it's always the native who gets the blame,
It's a problem which money can never lessen,
And it's nineteen hundred seventy-one,

Crowfoot, Crowfoot, why the tears?
You've been a brave man, for many years.
Why the sadness? Why the sorrow?
Maybe there'll be a better tomorrow.
Maybe one day you'll find honesty,
Instead of the usual treachery,
Perhaps one day the truth may prevail,
And the warmth of love which it does entail.

Crowfoot, Crowfoot, why the tears?
You've been a brave man, for many years.
Why the sadness? Why the sorrow?
Maybe there'll be a better tomorrow.


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