Stolen Land

Somehow, on this day of nationalist celebration,
I find myself thinking of Bruce Cockburn’s Stolen Land

From Tierra del Fuego to Ungava Bay
The history of betrayal continues to today
The spirit of Almighty Voice, the ghost of Anna Mae
Call like thunder from the mountain, you can hear them say “it’s a stolen land”
Stolen land

Apartheid in Arizona, slaughter in Brazil
If bullets don’t get good PR there’s other ways to kill
Kidnap all the children, put ’em in a foreign system
Bring them up in no-man’s land where no one really wants them, it’s a stolen land
Stolen land

It’s a stolen land, but it’s all we’ve got
It’s a stolen land, and there’s no going back
It’s a stolen land, and we’ll never forget
It’s a stolen land, and we’re not through yet

In my mind I catch a picture, big black raven in the sky
Looking at the ocean, sail reflected in black eye
Sail as white as heroin, white like weathered bones
Rum and guns and smallpox gonna change the face of home in this stolen land
Stolen land

If you’re like me you’d like to think we’ve learned from our mistakes
Enough to know we can’t play god with others’ lives at stake
So now we’ve all discovered the world wasn’t only made for whites
What step are you gonna take to try and set things right in this stolen land?
Stolen land

It’s a stolen land, but it’s all we’ve got
It’s a stolen land, and there’s no going back
It’s a stolen land, and we’ll never forget
It’s a stolen land, and we’re not through yet

 

 

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian and the CRC Campus Minister at the University of Toronto. He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is entitled Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination.

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