"ONE TIN SOLDIER" and THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES





Here is a very powerful rendition of the song One Tin Soldier by Cher and Sonny Bono. It beautifully opens and closes with "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." Fittingly, it closes the Christmas season and leaves lots for us to reflect on in the coming year.

Although written in the 1960's by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter in protest of the Vietnam War, the song may be interpreted to refer to the situation of the indigenous peoples who sit
on the bulk of the earth’s last frontiers- the remaining genetic diversity, minerals, forests, among others. With their indigenous resource management systems, they were able to conserve the natural resources in their territories. Unfortunately, these resources are magnets of their oppression and abuse .

The global economic force that controls the means of production and their errand boys and girls in states with indigenous populations forged dominant conspiracies to render the IPs defenseless, and their subjugation a foregone conclusion. The preachers of globalization insist that the resources in IP territories are needed for corporate growth and industrial development for the advancement of humanity. IPs are generally marginalized and are afforded neither adequate, if at all, voice nor protection by the states which they have been forced to assimilate into. Exposed to the ferocious greed of profiteers, they are easily swept aside like falling dead leaves. Their situation could be likened to the people in the Mountain Kingdom in the song One Tin Soldier.

The lyrics of One Tin Soldier are reproduced below.

One Tin Solder

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley folk below
On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath a stone
And the valley people swore
They'd have it for their very own

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of Heaven
You can justify it in the end
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after who...
One tin soldier rides away

So, the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they'd kill
Came an answer from the kingdom,
"With our brothers, we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there"

Now, the valley cried with anger,
"Mount your horses, draw your sword!"
And they killed the mountain people
So, they won their just reward
Now, they stood beside the treasure
On the mountain dark and red
Turn the stone and looks beneath it...
"Peace on Earth" was all it said

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of Heaven
You can justify it in the end
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after who...
One tin soldier rides away

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of Heaven
You can justify it in the end
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away.

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