“Indian Givers”: New Neil Young Song Honors Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

“Now it’s been about 500 years / We keep taking what we gave away / Just like what we call Indian givers.” ~ Neil Young

by: Obert Madondo |  | Published September 19, 2016, by The Canadian Progressive

Neil Young just unleashed a new protest song honoring the ongoing Standing Rock Sioux Tribe-led protest against the US$3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project. The Canadian rock legend’s song, titled, “Indian Givers”, reminds us:

“There’s a battle raging on the sacred land. Our brothers and sisters had to take a stand.”


The song reminds me of the counterculture movement of the 60s and 70s, when musicians used music to speak out against racism, inequality and social injustice.

RELATED: Canadian Rocker Neil Young Blasts Stephen Harper, Alberta Tar Sands

If completed, the Dakota Access Pipeline would transport more than 500,000 barrels of fracked crude per day from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has opposed the project since 2014. The pipeline, the tribe argues, desecrates sacred and cultural sites. It threatens the Missouri River, the Standing Rock’s main water source. Indigenous tribes in the area also view the Dakota Access Pipeline as an infringement on tribal sovereignty.

An oil spill into the Missouri River would also devastate one of the largest water resources in the U.S., and the environment.

Back in May, Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted:

On September 3, private security guards hired by Dakota Access, the company behind the pipeline, attacked dozens of protesters with dogs and pepper spray.

Since construction of the pipeline started at the beginning of August, as many as 2000 land defenders and their allies from Indian Country and Canada have joined the protest.

Meanwhile, Idle No More movement members from Ontario announced that they’ll soon head to North Dakota to “stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline once and for all.” According to a statement posted the movement’s website:

“We support the frontline warriors at the Sacred Stone Camp & Red Warrior Camp. We are bringing with us our skills to share, our prayers to be lifted in as one voice and our love for Nibi (water) will be united. We will stand and help protect the sacred sites and stop the impending pollution of the drinking water of the more that 16 million people downstream from the DAPL project.”

The #NoDAPL protest is a new chapter in the “long history of Native American opposition to colonialism and resource extraction on their lands.”

Via Rolling Stone, here are the lyrics to Neil Young’s “Indian Givers”:

There’s a battle raging on the sacred land
Our brothers and sisters have to take a stand
Against us now for what we all been doing
On the sacred land there’s a battle brewing

I wish somebody would share the news

Now it’s been about 500 years
We keep taking what we gave away
Just like what we call Indian givers
It makes you sick and gives you shivers

I wish somebody would share the news

Big money going backwards and ripping the soil
Where graves are scattered and blood was boiled
When all who look can see the truth
But they just move on and keep their groove

I wish somebody would share the news

Saw Happy locked to the big machine
They had to cut him loose and you know what that means
That’s when Happy went to jail
Behind big money justice always fails

I wish somebody would share the news

Bring back the days when good was good
Lose these imposters in our neighborhood
Across our farms and through our waters
All at the cost of our sons and daughters

Our brave songs and daughters
We’re all here together fighting poison waters
Standing against the evil way
That’s what we have at the end of day

I wish somebody would share the news

SPECIAL APPEAL: Please empower The Canadian Progressive and help us publish more stories like this by supporting this GoFundMe Fund-raising Initiative. Thank you!

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad