"Lakota" as written by Joni Mitchell and Larry Klein....
I am Lakota!
Lakota!
Looking at money man,
Diggin' the deadly quotas,
Out of balance,
Out of hand
We want the land!
Lay down the reeking ore!
Don't you hear the shrieking in the trees?
Everywhere you touch the earth, she's sore
Every time you skin her all things weep
Your money mocks us
Restitution, what good can it do?
Kenneled in metered boxes
Red dogs in debt to you

I am Lakota!
Lakota!
Fighting among ourselves
All we can say with one whole heart
Is we won't sell,
No we'll never sell
We want the land!
The lonely coyote calls
In the woodlands, footprints of the deer
In the barrooms, poor drunk bastard falls
In the courtrooms, deaf ears, sixty years
You think we're sleeping--but
Quietly like rattlesnakes and stars
We have seen the trampled rainbows
In the smoke of cars

[Chorus]
I am Lakota
Brave
Sun pity me
I am Lakota
Broken
Moon pity me
I am Lakota
Grave
Shadows stretching
Lakota
Oh pity me
I am Lakota
Weak
Grass pity me
I am Lakota
Faithful
Rocks pity me
I am Lakota
Meek
Standing water
Lakota
Oh pity me

I am Lakota!
Lakota!
Standing on sacred land
We never sold these Black Hills
To the missile-heads,
To the power plants
We want the land!
The bullet and the fence, broke Lakota
The black coats and the booze, broke Lakota
Courts that circumvent, choke Lakota
Nothing left to lose
Tell me grandfather
You spoke the fur and feather tongues,
Do you hear the whimpering waters
When the tractors come?

[Chorus]

Sun pity me
Mother earth
Mother
Moon pity me
Father sky
Father
Shadows
Stretching on the forest floor
Mother earth
Oh pity me
Father sky
Father
Grass pity me
Mother earth
Mother
Rocks pity me
Father sky
Father
Water
Standing in a waken manner
Mother earth
Oh pity me


Lyrics submitted by threearmedman

"Lakota" as written by Joni Mitchell Larry Klein

Lyrics © Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

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Lakota song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentWhat a powerful song...
    Joni has some great metaphors

    Kennelled in metered boxes
    Red dogs in debt to you

    -natives who were taken from their land and put into those container houses
    ilkoon November 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song really expresses the hardship of the Lakota Sioux...and since i have been to their reservations, i saw it firsthand...but really this echoes the same situation across the board for most native tribes, who were pushed into containment areas that pale to the lands they once roamed freely to hunt, fish and live...their spirituality, and balance are being renewed slowly, but the damage is already done...

    "You think we're sleeping--but
    Quietly like rattlesnakes and stars
    We have seen the trampled rainbows
    In the smoke of cars"

    tells us they are ever watchful, quietly...not aggressively striking, but on the defensive...many native tribes are closed and wary of outsiders even now...

    "I am Lakota!
    Lakota!
    Standing on sacred land
    We never sold these Black Hills
    To the missile-heads,
    To the power plants
    We want the land!
    The bullet and the fence, broke Lakota
    The black coats and the booze, broke Lakota
    Courts that circumvent, trip Lakota
    Nothing left to lose
    Tell me grandfather
    You spoke the fur and feather tongues,
    Do you hear the whimpering waters
    When the tractors come?"

    the land is sacred, not just property, and this is why there was always enmity between the federal govt who saw land as a commodity, and the Lakota...who did not see land as a commodity, but as something they belonged to... it was sold off to the industrial machine for weapons and gold production, instead of being nurtured...and the inefficient practices of greed have ravaged the once pristine landscape, rendering it useless in many cases...

    grandfather speaking the furred and feathered tongues, is how close the elders were and still are to nature...there is a true relationship between them and their wild neighbors, a respect, not just hunting in greed, or for sport, but for need and not more than they need...but also nurturing the wildlife, and recognizing that healthy animals mean a healthy tribe...
    musicalsolon August 26, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA song that has been relevant since long before it was written down and remains so now.; She was writing about exploitation of former native American territory for one or more minerals but it was before they started destroying wide landscapes for dirty oil in tar sands. As in the past, once those are taken and the people move on, they will leave behind a destroyed natural environment (only this time it won't be a small area but many square miles, not counting the damage done to transport the oil and then wherever the oil is used) for which, if any recovery lies ahead, it will take dozens of generations to occur. A sad and angry song indeed, for a short-sighted capitalist profit-making misadventure. .
    greendreameron March 07, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an amazing song and really shows Joni's intellectual contribution to music as well as her artistry. The phrase "pity me" was taken from a prayer by Chief Sitting Bull before the battle of Little Big Horn. Here is his prayer: "Wakan Tanka, pity me. In the name of the tribe I offer you this peace pipe. Wherever the sun, the moon, the earth, the four points of the wind, there you are always. Father, save the tribe I beg you. Pity me. We want to live. Guard us against all misfortunes or calamities. Pity me." Amazing how she wove this obscure prayer by Sitting Bull into the fabric of a truly powerful song.
    pdweberon November 20, 2013   Link

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