He fell in love with an Indian maiden over in the antique store
Kaw-liga [A], just stood there and never let it [A7] show
So she could never answer "YES" or [Dm] "NO"
He always wore his Sunday feathers and held a tomahawk
The maiden wore her beads and braids and hoped someday he'd talk
KAW-LIGA – [A] too stubborn to ever show a sign
Because his heart was made of knotty pine.
CHORUS [D] Poor ol' KAW-LIGA, he never got a kiss
[G] Poor ol' KAW-LIGA, he don't know what he missed
[D] Is it any wonder that his face is [A7] red
KAW-LIGA, that poor ol' wooden [D] head
i’m considering poetics in musical expression and politics in social constructions of race. namely, i situate this discussion near the poetics in Native Americana and the politics of playing “Indian.” Native Americana is an Indigenized lyrical-musical hybrid of Americana/roots/alternative folk music. and I’m thinking of the politics of playing “Indian” in American culture as it appears in sports mascots, television, and movies. my purpose is to shed some light on how tribal poetics and tribal politics are intertwined, how, more specifically, Indigenous songwriting and Indigenous scholarship inform each other in this interweaving. for many indigenous peoples, politics and poetics already intersect. they’re already related, all part of a larger circle. You might say that indigenous peoples are not only the original inhabitants of this land but also the original interdisciplinarians on this land, contrary to the one-dimensional stereotypes we may see elsewhere.
for Arigon Starr, a Kickapoo musician, songwriter and playwright, she connects the process of playing “Indian,” of enacting redface, with the absence of respectful Indigenous representations in tv and film. in fictional tv and cinema, to play “Indian” is a process in which non-Native characters appropriate and/or fabricate Indigenous identities and perform on-camera as “Indians.” As Arigon Starr says [chords added],
They write songs and they make movies / About Indians long ago
like Arigon Starr, Litefoot, turns to televisual redface and tries to make sense of television’s colonial discourse, asking, what’s it gonna take for respect?
can you speak to me about what the world screams to me
and Litefoot goes on to talk about being invited to perform at a hip hop concert in NY in 2003 w/busta rhymes and other predominantly African American hip hop artists. But as litefoot explains and as cristina veran reported in "rap, rage, REDvolution," he was not too welcomed.
Show time and its chaos the coliseum's sold out
in closing, please remember that just because it’s play, don’t make it okay.