Badlands: Ballads of the Lakota

1. Everette Helper’s Song

(Instrumental)

2. Badlands

Well somewhere between the wanting and the dying

Just beyond the thunder, of the gun

The bones of thirsty ghosts are sad and crying

Believing their redemption day has come and gone

It's a bitter pair of dice this dust of evil

Lost and lonely kingdom, of the plains

Well God looked down and saw a world of suffering

And then cried out, I'm gonna give this place a name.

Badlands

Badlands

Badlands

Badlands

Well it's a church without a steeple

But in the heart of its people

Good will come again, to the Badlands

It's a wilderness that lies, in a broken promise land

Where the devil and his soldiers, hang around like next of kin

But the shadows have eyes, and I hear voices in the wind

Telling me the second coming of the red man, is closer than it's ever been

Badlands

Badlands

Badlands

Badlands

Well it's a church without a steeple

But in the heart of its people

Good will come again, to the Badlands

Badlands

Badlands

Badlands

Badlands

3. Trip To Little Big Horn

I went to Little Big Horn, not a single word was said

Except one old lonely ghost said "the General's still dead"

The General's still dead."

I asked him if any Indians, ever came to call

He said the last one that he'd seen, rode off with big Chief Gall

Rode off with big Chief Gall

Ole Sitting Bull once told me, on this very ground

He saw blue coat pony soldiers, falling upside down

Falling upside down

There was not a single leaf on a cottonwood tree

They were gone as the men of the 7th Calvary

7th Calvary

I stood on Calhoun's Hill, rain fell like shattered glass

I felt 12,000 solders blood flowing through the grass

Flowing through the grass

I saw 100 years of Indians, dancing in the sun

I felt the Indian power. The battle is still won

The battle is still won

When they shot him through the heart, I wonder if it hurt

They left Mrs. Custer's husband to die there in the dirt

Die there in the dirt

Then a soldier came, and took me to the train

He said "Custer's still in Hell, boy, forget you ever came

Forget you ever came."

I went to Little Big Horn, not a single word was said

Except one old lonely ghost said "The general's still dead

The general's still dead."

4. Old Man's Vision

There was an esteemed Lakota elder

A man of visions, who laid dying at his home

Surrounded by his family and friends

His journey on this earth was fast coming to an end

One by one, they touched his hands, stroked his silver hair

Sang him songs and kissed him on his brow

His mind wandered between this world and the unseen

Some thought it was the fever talking

But his sister, knowing his gift of visions

Summoned the Medicine man to come and pray for his comfort

And to listen to his words

When he arrived, the elder asked the Holy Man to bring him his pipe

A family member handed the Medicine Man his pipe

And he granted the dying man's request

When he placed it in his arms, he closed his eyes

And softly whispered

"Twenty years from this day, I see blood and countless tears

Flowing across the ground of Wounded Knee

It is not clear to me why so many people will die

Not only our warriors, but our women, our children,

The young and the old, even the four leggeds

They too will be murdered

All will be buried as one in an icy cold grave

There will be no punishment to the murders of our people

Only the dreams they see at night will be their torture

And their sentence of shame

This is my vision

My time has now come and I have but one final request

When I draw my last breath

Take me to Wounded Knee, and bury me there

For it is there that I wish for my spirit to linger

Long enough to warn the others of this great tragedy that

Our future holds."

5. Wounded Knee

Big Foot do you hear me, my vision's growing dim

Tell the Holy Father, that I must talk to him

Every breath I take, draws me closer home

When I cross that river, will I be alone

Won't you take my body down to Wounded Knee

Take my body down to Wounded Knee

Where the spirit can be found. There's power in the ground

The wind will set me free at Wounded knee

Behold I see a canyon where many souls will die

Behold I see a world that will always wonder why

Tell me ole Red Cloud, this vision in my head

I see 300 soldiers, am I alive or am I dead

Won't you take my body down to Wounded Knee

Take my body down to Wounded Knee

Where the spirit can be found. There's power in the ground

The wind will set me free at Wounded Knee

Quickly my old friend, look into my eyes

The past is slowly fading and the future's in disguised

Before I leave this earth, sing me one more song

And when you hear me laugh, then you'll know that I am gone

Won't you take my body down to Wounded Knee

Take my body down to Wounded Knee

Where the spirit can be found, there's power in the ground

The wind will set me free at Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee

6. Big Foot

Big Foot was an Indian chief

Of the Minneconjou band

A band of Minneconjou Sioux

From South Dakota's land

Big Food said to Custer

"Stay away from that Crazy Horse"

But Custer crossed into Sioux land

And he never came back across

Then Big Foot led his people

To a place called Wounded Knee

And they found themselves surrounded

By the 7th Calvary

Big Foot Big Foot

Rise up from your bed

Minneconjou babies cry

For their mothers, lying dead

Big Foot was down with a fever

When he reached Wounded Knee

And his people all were prisoners

Of the 7th Calvary

Two hundred women and children

And other hundred men

Raised up a white flag of peace

But peace did not begin

An accidental gunshot

And Big Foot was first to die

And over the noise of the rifles

You could hear them babies cry

Big Foot Big Foot

It's good that you can't see

Revenge is being wrought

By Custer's 7th Calvary

Smoke hung over the canyon

On that cold December day

All was death and dying

Around where Big Foot lay

Farther up on the canyon

Some had tried to run and hide

But death showed no favorites

Women, men, and children died

One side called it a massacre

The other a victory

But the white flag is still waving

Today at Wounded Knee

Big Foot Big Foot

Your Minneconjou band

Is more than remembered here

In South Dakota land

Big Foot Big Foot

Your Minneconjou band

Is more than remembered here

In South Dakota land

7. Hotchkiss Gunner’s Lament

(instrumental)

8. Broken Promise Land

Well an eagle flew high above Red Shirt Table

Over Marvin Helper's place

As Air Force One flew President Clinton

To Ellsworth Air Force Base

He brought with him from Washington

A bag filled with dreams and cake

To spread among the poor and

The poorest county in the whole United States

One mile long, a big black car

And whirleybirds did a jig

As they moved across the prairie

To the planet of Pine Ridge

Where the FBI and the CIA,

The AIM, the BIA, the IRS and GOD

All had their eyes set on the master plan

But it all turned out to be, just another shattered dream

In a broken promise land

The president said to the people

We know the failings of the past

You've been patronized, tyrannized

But help Is here at last

Our nation, she is mighty,

These are good and prosperous times

I offer you an America where no one is left behind

Your courage leads to commerce,

prosperity and loans

I see housing for the homeless

coz everybody needs a home

Majestic people of the plains like you

deserve Security

As founders of our country

You've already paid for the land of the free

Where the FBI and the CIA,

the AIM, the BIA, the IRS and GOD

All have their eyes set on the master plan.

But it all turned out to be, just another shattered dream

And a broken promise land

Well the prez on the res sold some powerful words

Of how the native life should be

He watered the spirits of the people

The crop came up dust and wheat

And in the distance of the harvest

The only thing that changed

Was the color of the leaves on the hawthorn trees

The rest is still the same

In July 1999, the president went door to door

Staring down the barrel of the cold hard truth

On his American poverty tour

Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Was to be empowered on command

But it all turned out to be

Just another shattered dream

And a broken promise land

9. Casino

They built a casino, out under the stars

With neon lights blinking, on tired rusty cars

Card sharks take my money, whiskey puts me in jail

An oasis of misery, I know it so well

I pawned my last silver, it sparkled and shined

And a beautiful ring, from the Black Hills gold mines

A hole in my pocket, that money did burn

A loser beyond, the point of return

My woman couldn't take, my Friday night ways

She left me in search of, her better days

Now I'm tortured by silence, and being alone

And the shadows of evil, that inherit my bones

So it's back to the place, where I gamble on hope (I've gambled all hope)

My name once respected, is now but a joke

As I stumble back home, I murmur a prayer

I can't help but wonder, is God really there

10. So You Want To Be An Indian

So you want to be an Indian, an original American

Ride a horse, wild and free, put war paint on your skin

You think my life's a story, like a movie on TV

But if you want a taste of Hell on earth,

Come hang around with me

So you want to be an Indian, out where the buffalo roam

A peaceful place on planet earth, that you can call your home

Where streams of crystal waters, once flowed with red man's pride

But they've disappeared like forgotten dreams

That have gone away and died

So you want to be an Indian, living on the land

That was stolen from our grandpa by dear old Uncle Sam

Who sent soldier after soldier, to tell us what was right

But politicians nor their armies, can turn an Indian white

So you want to be an Indian, can you say "poverty"

If the great white hope in Washington, would send what belongs to me

I'd have blankets in the winter

I wouldn't have to be so cold

And have something to eat besides government cheese

To feed my hungry soul

So you want to be an Indian, a noble honored chief

And try to walk a holy road, in dignity and peace

Hold the vision of America in the palm of your hand

And watch the free world pass you by

And not give one single damn

11. Walking Through The Prayers

Blackbirds flying, through the darkness

Shooting stars, out in space

Unseen spirits, like phantoms hover

Like cherub bells from the holy place

Over trees, that died in fire

Lifeless forms, on a mountain range

A land that knows, so many secrets

Keeper of the, a billion names

Step by step, I see my shadow

My true soul, walks with me there

I shed my tears, I climb this mountain

As I go walking, through the prayers

Some have prayed, a prayer for freedom

Some beg mercy, for their pain

Some have shared, life's dreams and visions

When they came down, they weren't the same

Step by step, I see my shadow

My true soul, walks with me there

I shed my tears, I climb this mountain

As I go walking, through the prayers

Majestic form, atop earth's mesa

The rocks bear witness, to the truth

As I kneel down, and lift my spirit

To the holy wonder, at Bear Beat

I shed my tears, I climb this mountain

As I go walking, through the prayers

12. Three Chiefs

In a 4 by room at Pine Ridge, on a cold December day

A spirit come down from the heaven world to take Red Cloud away

Mary and Jesus and the stars and stripes, looked down on his bed

Women brought snow in off the ground, to cool his fevered head

When the dust of his wars rolled in from the past,

Like storm clouds gathered from time.

He knew his day on earth had come, to make his peace and die

He raised his hand for mercy, surrendered his last breath of life

Then six white horses came into the room, and took him to the sky

Where he stood face to face with a mysterious form at the edge of eternity

God said "Hello, Red Cloud, now say what you will to me."

Red Cloud said, "I hope the great heavenly father who looks upon us

Will give all the tribes his blessings that they may go forth in peace

And live in peace all their days.

And that our Heavenly Father will look upon our children as his children

That all tribes may be his children.

And as we shake hands today on this broad plain, may we forever live in peace.

Now my sun is set. My day is done.

Just like the book says from the days of old, no cross, no crown.

At the end of the life, at the setting sun, we lay our burdens down.

We lay our burdens down.

When Sitting Bull laid down to sleep, he didn't know when the mornin' come

That red tomahawk and police force, armed with blazing guns

Would storm into his cabin and drag him from his bed

Throw him in the yard like a mangy dog where he was shot and left for dead

Murdered by McLaughlin's men, he never even had a chance.

All because he stayed true to the ghost in his heart and wouldn't give up the dance.

His horse started spinin' and twirlin', the world went round and round

Everybody saw Sitting Bull's body but his soul was nowhere to be found.

He stood face to face with a mysterious form at the edge of eternity.

God said, "Hello Sitting Bull, now say what you will to me."

"You made me an Indian and I thank you, but Father now I ask you

What treaty have the Sioux made with the white man that we have broken.

Not one

And what treaty has the white man ever made with us that they have kept

Not one

Is it wrong for me to love my own and defend them?

Is it wicked for me because my skin red or because I am a Sioux?

I gladly died for my people. And my country because I am an Indian."

Just like the book said from the days of old, no cross, no crown.

At the end of the life, at the setting sun, we lay our burdens down

We lay our burdens down.

In a jailhouse in Nebraska, it was on September 5,

Crazy Horse was fighting hard to keep himself alive.

He screamed just like a panther, at the sight of a guardhouse door,

Stabbed in the back by a soldier's dagger, Crazy Horse fell down on the floor.

He was the last warrior standing, defending the old way of life.

Where mountains sing and ponies run, like smoke from the sacred pipe

Touch the Clouds took his body, back home to his family,

Nobody knows where they laid him down, to set his spirit free

He stood face to face with a mysterious form at the edge of eternity

God said, "Hello Crazy Horse, now say what you will to me."

"Upon suffering. Beyond suffering. The Red Nation shall rise again.

And it shall be a blessing for a sick world.

A world filled with broken promises. Selfishness and separations.

A world longing for light again.

I see a time of seven generations when all of the colors of mankind

Will gather under the sacred tree of life.

And the whole earth will become one circle again.

And that day, there will be those among The Lakota,

Who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things.

And the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom.

I salute the light within your eyes, for the whole universe dwells

For when you are at that center within you,

And I am at that place within me,

We shall be one."

Three men, three warriors, good and noble chiefs.

Prophets to their people, may they rest a while in peace.

Their words echo like thunder through the canyons at time.

And shine like a flaming arrow in a world, in a world

The truth is hard to find.

No cross, no crown

No cross, no crown

No cross, no crown

13. Listen To The Children

Should you go out today, to reservation land

Look into the eyes, of the first Americans

Three hundred years of suffering, is what you're gonna find

If you believe the time has come for healing, Step on your side of the line

I see the face of a child, whose time is drawing near

Born to lead the people, to new waters that are clear

Guided by the Holy Spirit, everywhere he goes

To finish what was started, on the ancient Red Man's road.

The prophecy's spoken, the past, shall be fulfilled at last.

As we listen to the children, listen to the children

Listen to the children

Listen to the children, listen to the children

Listen to the children

In the Badlands, Badlands, Badlands, Badlands

Badlands, Badlands, Badlands, Badlands

14. Everette Helper’s Song - Reprise

(Instrumental)