Thursday, June 28, 2007

In 1971, Elton John sang "Indian Sunset", the ink still wet on the page after he and Taupin wrote it in Las Vegas. It is to this day one of the most poignant songs in rock, and has been recycled by Eminnem with some posthumous rap by Tupac Shukar.
In any version it makes one think about the genocide that took place in America, where the indigenous people now live in 'reservations' and are second-class citizens. If they don't like it, the KKK asserts, they can go back where they came from. OK. Good idea.
Where they came from, man was able to grow hemp, as has been shown by early historians. But now they are not allowed to do so, even though the Chief Big Whiteman himself, George Washington, did so. In April of 2000, Alex White Plume of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota planted industrial hemp, only to have some angry white men with guns chop it down. Shown above are the remaining stalks and Alex walking along the trail. PBS will broadcast a documentary on this on Tuesday, July 3, at 10 pm (check local time) in the US. For an article by Suree Towfighnia and Courtney Hermann click here.

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