- Background- The artist is named Buffy Sainte-Marie, who is a Native Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist and social activist. The name of her famous song is "My Country Tis of Thy People You're Dying". She released the song in the year of 1966 on her album "Little Wheel Spin and Spin". Buffy is also famous for her songs "Now That The Buffalo's Gone" and "The Universal Soldier".
The overall meaning of the song was about the mistreatment of Native Americans, their history and their culture in the country. The lyrics explain how that the young Native Americans in school had to "despise their traditions" and were prevented to use their first language. She claims that they are trying to get erase the history of the Native Americans in schools. The lyrics represent the struggle for human rights of her people just like African Americans and homosexuals. She sang about this during the the "Cultural Upheaval of the 1960s" when everyone was speaking out against American society because it was not free of racism, sexism, imperialism, and oppression. Her inspiration came from her desire to try acquire Indian rights in the country and stop the mistreatment.
"Hear how the bargain was made for the West:
With her shivering children in zero degrees,
Blankets for your land, so the treaties attest,
Oh well, blankets for land is a bargain indeed,
And the blankets were those Uncle Sam had collected
From smallpox-diseased dying soldiers that day.
And the tribes were wiped out and the history books censored,
A hundred years of your statesmen have felt it's better this way.
And yet a few of the conquered have somehow survived,
Their blood runs the redder though genes have paled.
From the Grand Canyon's caverns to craven sad hills
The wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale.
From Los Angeles County to upstate New York
The white nation fattens while others grow lean;
Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean".
These lyrics explain how the Native Americans were mistreated and tricked by the federal government and now they are singing for equality and human rights.