A visitor to Wissahickon Park, if they hike to the right place, can see the 15 foot tall stone statue of a Native American warrior. The statue is meant to honor the Lenape who were the first settlers in this area. However, the statue is historically inaccurate in terms of the depiction of the warrior (not the correct headdress etc). More poignant and for me at least, disturbing, is what the statue really represents in terms of the Native American experience as a result of colonization in the early Americas. There is much talk today about preserving monuments - it made me wonder, what if these monuments could actually SPEAK? What would they say?
The Lenape used at the end of the song is with my special thanks to representatives of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe for assistance in ensuring proper phrasing and pronunciation. The second phrase in particular has special meaning to them and reinforces the message of their tribe that 'they are still here'. More information about their tribe can be found at http://www.nanticoke-lenape.info/.
V1 - They made a park out of my grave After my people they had slain. They carved my image out of stone, Then they placed me on a hilltop alone.
V2- I had a woman and a son. I had a family, like their own. All my arrows and my innocence, No match for (their) guns and ignorance.
Ref: If I could speak, what would I say? If these stone lips could move, What would it prove . . . anyway?
V3- Who was the first in this place? Not their people, but my race. Ask the wind, or the stars, or the gentle rain, Or the whispering stream that bears my name.
V4- Naxuhàni ala hate (I am alone forever)
Nteshwasihena ala hate (We lived through it)