Willie on the Wind 

my people always thought I was old for my age...always dreaming... they took me for strange... 
I heard your song of Crowfoot; and I shared his tears of rage... 
I heard the demons scream out on the buffalo range... 

oh, Willie; what you done to me then... opened my ears and eyes so very wide... 
oh, Willie... is it gone with the wind? ...why must men always be drawing sides? 

it seems to me we had our chance to live in harmony... 
some always succumb to greed when comes the time to share... 
some would sooner steal than dance... and praise nature's symmetry... 

oh, Willie...what you done to me then... opened my ears and eyes so very wide... 
oh, Willie... is it gone with the wind?... why must men always be drawing sides? 

I stood upon the western streets...saw the sorrow in the people's lives... 
I knew I bore the weight of my forefather's sins... 
saw the echoes of defeat at the hands of the 'black robes' and 'long knives'... 
they may be my blood, they are no longer my kin... 

oh, Willie... what you done to me then... opened my ears and eyes so very wide... 
oh, Willie... is it gone with the wind?... why must men always be drawing sides? 

my people always thought I was old for my age... always dreaming... they took me for strange... 
when I heard your song of Crowfoot... I shared his tears of rage... 
I heard the demons scream... out on the buffalo range... 

oh, Willie... what you done to me then... opened my ears and eyes so very wide... 
oh, Willie... is it gone with the wind? ... and why must men still be drawing sides? 
oh, Willie... Willie Dunn, my friend... when you sing Crowfoot and Dan George dance again! 
('Willie on the Wind') 

they keep talking and taking... until there ain't nothin' there... 

...well... I' not sure how the last line of the second verse ended up on the bottom f the page, but there it is, and there it shall remain, I guess. This \blog' thing is very new to me; and I'm learning as I go. My keyboard skills are minimal (even worse on the piano), and I'll try to correct my mistakes before I hit 'share', but there's bound to be errors. This song (above) is the result of an epiphany I had while skipping grade school and watching CBC's 'Take Thirty' programme ( I refuse to spell 'American', by the way) many years ago... maybe grade eight, as we were still in the little war time house on Ross St, in East City; the old B&W TV got one channel only. Paul Soles and Adrienne Clarkson (later to become Governor General) introduced a young firebrand by the name of Willie Dunn; and he sang his 'Ballad of Crowfoot' (made into Canada's first true music video in collaboration with the NFB). It literally tore the top of my head off; and suddenly playing the guitar and singing held possibilities far beyond my limited scope at the time. The song itself took many years t finally come about, and I had tracked Willie Dunn down in Ottawa when I was up that way attending college to learn the farrier's trade (horseshoeing). I don't recall much of that afternoon's visit; other than he was gracious and encouraging. I suppose I sang him a few of my songs, but this one was not yet birthed. Years later I put up sound for he and Willie Thrasher at Trent University's Wenjack Theatre ; a remarkable (if somewhat poorly attended) performance . (both Willie Thrasher and Willie Dunn can be found online) Willie Dunn first brought Charlie ('Chaney) Wenjack's story to the public in song long before Gord Downie lent his talents to the tale. Some time later, (the lyric more or less complete, ) I found Willie Dunn online and asked if he would like to have the as yet unrecorded lyric. He didn't get back to me, and I assumed he chose not to. It was some time after that his widow Liz Moore contacted me to say he had passed, and she was going through his emails, contacting folks he had not gotten back to. 
Since then , Liz and I have exchanged letters and email, and have had a visit or two when I was in her area. I was pleased to have her respond favourably to not just this song, but others as well. We have become friends, and I value her insight and opinion. I'm never sure how First Nations folks will react to my music or my interest in their issues, but hope that presenting as a sincere ally will stand me in good stead. As mentioned, I'm Irish/Canadian, through and through. But as such, I'm well aware of the historical impact of British Colonialism; the ethos upon which this land was built (stolen). This little song is written from the perspective of that young man, who got more history out of one fellow singing a song than he ever did in school. An 'epiphany', indeed; and the start of a lifelong avocation to try and make 'music that matters', however many wrong turns may have occurred to get to the point I am at today. I can only hope that there remains sufficient time to leave my mark. love to all, d.

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