Sonority by Schletty     Schletty at Facebook Schletty at Twitter

Against Your Will
(The Trail of Tears Story)

Long version lyrics (not yet recorded).
Listen to broadcast version.

In 18-3-0 "Sharp Knife" Jackson carved out
For tribes in the southeast a land exchange rout
A Removal Act that Emerson and Crockett decried
Surely natives and squatters can live side by side

Soldiers guarded forts and a river of clay
from Lake of the Woods to Galveston Bay
The lands kept on shifting, the lines all were gray
Where there's greed there's death in the old USA

In the camps where you died
In the land of the free
On the trails where you cried
Digetsi ilvse'i
You were driven like cattle against your will

In 18-3-5 the Treaty of New Echota
Offered millions in cash and acres in Oklahoma
Chief John Ross from Georgia handed on your rejection
You made thousands of marks upon on a petition

In 18-3-8 the order was brought
From Van Buren to General Winfield Scott
To the Georgia Militia who drove you like cattle
Into pens where you suffered, where half lost the battle

[bridge 1]
We sent armies of thousands to shepherd you west
Made you homeless in your homeland with rifles and fists

Chief Ross cut a deal for self-preservation
Cross the wide Mississippi without reservation
Heed the acts and the treaties and the guns in your backs
Join your brothers on the Plains, time to take up your packs

[bridge 2]
One in four died of hunger, of cold and disease
As you marched to the West in a mass exodus


Victims of war, white bugs, sour corn mash
You were gone in a flash, like pyres of trash
Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole
Your birthright was stolen by those in control

[bridge 3]
Men in power devouring, yet seeming contrite
Did we say we are sorry for the ways of the White?

You could not be prouder of your heritage
Ever rising from the ashes of our sacrilege
Your respect for your elders and nature demand
That your ways and your stories live on in this land

Touch me this day, let your story unfold
Lift me on wings to your mountains of gold
Thanks for the giving, damned for the taking
Memories of grief that forever will sting


[final chorus]
Against your will
Against your will
You were driven like cattle against your will
Digetsi ilvse'i


Note: "digetsi ilvse'i" means "driven like cattle against their will" (third-person reportive tense in the Cherokee language. Source: Ryan Mackey,

music ©2006 Hendrik Steiner and Karl Anselm (Germany)
lyrics ©2006-2009 Richard Schletty (Minnesota, U.S.A),