Geronimo: A Song

Heathcote Williams & Martin Wilkinson
Video: Claire Palmer

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G1
Painting: Heathcote Williams

“I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun.
I was born where there were no enclosures.”
Geronimo also known as Goyathlay (“one who yawns”) 1829-1909

G2
Kicking Bear, Running Eagle, Crazy Horse and Little Crow.
Sitting Bull and Scarlet Cloud, Lone Wolf and Geronimo.
Geronimo, Geronimo – where did the spirit go?
Did it disappear like winter snow
Or return as a ghost with a deadly glow?

G3

When first the Indians met the Strangers
They welcomed them to their homes
But then the Strangers bit the hand that fed them –
Bit it right down to the bone.
The Strangers spread like locusts,
Killing everything in their way:
Plants, birds, animals, Indians ­–
All quickly became their prey.

G4

To the Indians the land was sacred
The Universe was God;
To the Settlers it was no more than a shelf in a store
Just waiting to be robbed.

G5

The Indians love for their land was switched
For a flag and petty cash;
But the Stars and the Stripes meant nothing more
Than the flash of bullets and the lash.

G6

The Mohawk Confederacy was a greater democracy
Than anything the Settlers imported.
Native American women could strip Chiefs of their rank.
They’d be evicted from their teepees and thwarted.

‘Bring me your tired and your hungry’
Claims the shady lady of Liberty,
‘Come refugees from all over the world’,
‘Come, come and make money for me.

G7

‘Don’t mind the Indians, there’s plenty of room;
‘They don’t know right from wrong.
‘Anyway, we’ve never made Indians citizens
‘And we’ve bought their birthright for a song.’

G8

 

With gold torn from the Dakota Hills
And Indian land destroyed for its oil,
America set out to rule the world
Having shattered the Indian soul.

G9
With the Indians ethnically cleansed
Hollywood performed its deadliest trick:
All the cowboys were portrayed as heroes;
The Indian conquest was a sadist’s snuff flick.

G10

 

The only good Indian was a dead one.
Their children were killed because “nits made lice”.
The Indians were murdered, poisoned and tortured
Then when they were starving told to “eat grass.”
The survivors were kept on reservations
With tags to wear just like cattle.
The only music which the Settlers wished to hear
Was the Indians’ death-rattle.

G11
Massive pile of hundred of thousands of Buffalo skulls around 1870 (photo courtesy of earthjustice.com) 

 

When they slaughtered the herds of buffalo
To deprive the Indians of clothes and food,
The dominant smell in America
Was from dead bodies hanging in the wind.

G12

Slaves were installed on Indian land;
The country was re-christened ‘God’s Own’,
And the corn ‘grew as high as an elephant’s eye’
To hide the Native American bones.

G13

All the concrete covering America
Hides a hundred million Indian graves:
Four hundred years of genocide –
The desolate bones of braves.

G14
U.S. soldiers pose over a mass grave trench with some of the 300 bodies of
innocent Native American Lakota Sioux, two-thirds women and children.

 

‘America the Beautiful’, and ‘America the Free’,
All becomes a lunatic boast
When you see how their democracy was built
On Hiawatha’s Holocaust.

G15
Dakota, Mississippi, Minnesota,
Wisconsin, Connecticut, Arizona,
Oregon, Iowa, Niagara,
Kentucky, Illinois, Idaho,
Alabama, Wyoming, Oklahoma,
Seattle, Massachusetts, Nebraska,
Texas and Michigan and Winnebago,
Delaware and Wichita and Missouri,
Tennessee and Ohio and Chicago…
Every single one of them was an Indian name
Then the Settlers encroached and poached their fame.

G16
When the Indians killed an enemy
They’d perform a purifying rite,
But Settlers would just brag and count the swag
Rather than lay their victim’s ghost.

G17

In Sitting Bull’s vision quest all his enemies
Were destined to perish like insects in flight
And now that his land is filled with nuclear waste
There are vengeful cancers that bite –
And while the TV channels in America overflow
With mad preachers who beat their chests
And holler, “We Have Sinned”…
Not one of them can ever admit why…

G18
Then when the redskins were almost extinct
With no one left to care for their rights,
Lo and behold reds appeared under the bed –
In countries on which the U.S. had set its sights.

For the US discovered that Indian hate could be exported
And be used to attack half the countries of the world:
Cuba, Guatemala, China and Vietnam ;
Chile, the Philippines, Korea and Iran….

‘You just give us your gold and your silver,
‘You give us your gas and your oil,
‘You just give us your cheap labour;
‘You give us the fruits of your soil.

‘If you stand in our way then you’re a redskin,
‘You’ll find it easier to be dead rather than red.
‘Because we rub out all those who are against us
‘We’ll rub out the reds – even though it means ruin.’
.
Just as Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington –
Those good old American guys –
Were all of them hexed by dead Indians
Lurking behind their eyes…
President after President after President
Have continued carrying out the Settlers’ plan
And, as their genocidal secrets surface,
Their country slowly goes insane.

It’s poisoned by meaningless smoke signals
From power stations and auto-exhaust;
It’s littered with movie stars instead of medicine men –
It’s overawed by their vainglorious boasts –
It indulges in millionaire doctors instead of in medicine men
And it’s thought unfruitful to treat the poor.
Thanks to its sense of community being destroyed by money
It sees the homeless and it closes the door.

America’s dysfunctional nature is unsustainable
As if it’s unconsciously committing suicide.
It shoots thirty thousand of its own citizens each year.
A genocidal state commits serial genocide.

Its main sweat lodge is the six-sided Pentagon,
Crammed with shadowy shamen
Who juggle with weapons of mass destruction
And peddle every conceivable toxin.

In each state the rich hide away in reservations,
Gated and protected by Armed Response…
And as America fondles all its tacky totems
It never seems to be getting what it wants –
As if there’s a tom-tom blast
From America’s past –
There to give the lie
To the American pie…
For it’s no longer okay
At the OK Corral.
No longer okay at all.

G19

In the dream of Wovoka, the Ghost Dance Messiah,
A great hand comes out of the sky
To roll up the white man’s world like a blanket
And throw it onto a funeral pyre.

G20
Then the buffalo thunders back into life;
And the Great Spirit cures the insane;
And the sweet earth is restored to itself
And the tribes come back to the plain.

G21
Kicking Bear, Running Eagle, Crazy Horse and Little Crow.
Sitting Bull and Scarlet Cloud, Lone Wolf and Geronimo –
Geronimo, Geronimo. Where did the spirit go?
Did it disappear like winter snow
Or return as a ghost with a deadly glow?

 

.
Heathcote Williams
Martin Wilkinson


By Heathcote Williams

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3 Responses to Geronimo: A Song

  1. earl diddley says:

    The song about Native American genocide that everyone’s been waiting for. The Caucasian-obsessed U.S. protest singers of the sixties never made any effort to raise the subject, and this is unforgivable of them. Clearly the “Times” weren’t “a-changing” in favour of the Sioux, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Apache, Shoshone, etc. Too late to persuade any retarded American administration that more should be done to restore the “redskin” status in society, at the very least, in recognition of the appalling behaviour of white “immigrants” in eradicating Native American culture and stealing their territory. Hollywood propaganda over the course of a century has seen to that. But a sincere thank you to Martin and Heathcote for making the point so forcefully, when fat-cat Zimmerman never had the “cojones” – the wanker.
    Love the addition of traditional chanting at the end.
    Great images from Claire Palmer – as always! A posting that brings home the bacon – and coming from a vegetarian, that’s quite a compliment…………………….!!

  2. earl diddley says:

    You should try posting this track on You Tube, and watch their Big-Business-controlled directors running around like headless chickens, in a desperate flap to surpress the interest it could arouse. You Tube are quite happy to post endless clips of Muslim extremist dirty-work – to slant viewing into pro-American admiration. But try including material that is in any way critical of their self-seeking, putrefied lifestyles and they freak! How few Americans recognise the horrors of heir ancestors’ behaviour! When the karmic chickens come home to roost, who will shed tears for them? Not I, said the hoopoe!

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