Ballad Of Yvonne Johnson Lyrics

my name is Yvonne Johnson, my native blood is Cree
I’m here to tell the story of the life stolen from me

my grandfather’s grandfather was the great war chief
Big Bear
and Flora my grandmother worked with medicine and
my mother’s from Saskatchewan, my dad’s U.S. marine
and I was just a half-breed falling somewhere in

raised up in a reckless world of drugs and alcohol
the police killed my brother Earl, the only one who
cared at all
cleft palate split my face in two, my words came soft
and spare
I lived in shame and ridicule, foundations of despair

Daniel let the kids all watch when I was oly three
he threw me on the table, forced himself inside me
my brother Leon learned from him what I learned not to
cause when my daddy found him then he had his way as
he took me down as well

I didn’t have a language for the pain I suffered
escaping into marriage, but your past just catches up
with you
until I had three children and a ragged family
a desperate urge to keep them from the wolves that got
to me, boys,
wolves that got to me

I wish I could forget that night, the way the cards all
the deck was stacked against me and I played my part so
three days on the party in a drunken revelry
Shirley Ann said Chuck had plans to lure my kids from

I wrapped the cord around him there, they beat him
round the head
they threw him down the cellar stairs and pulled the
cord til he was dead
courts set me up to take the fall, I went down silently
I’m doing life in prison now for murder first degree,
while they got leniency

grandmother, grandmother, send your prayers to me
protect me and my children, for I love them endlessly
creator, creator, I have come alive
medicine bear woman, doing life at 35, life at 35

I pray
help me to make my amends to those that I have harmed
grant them love and peace so they may understand I’m
help me share my shame and pain so others they might do
the same
and so awaken to themselves and to all people of this
hai hai
hai hai

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Songwriter(s): yvonne c. johnson, eliza gilkyson
Record Label(s): 2004 Red House Records
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