The Last Battle

        © 1988 Bill Gallaher, Victoria, BC

 

        Louis Riel le the Metis in both the Red River Rebellion of 1870 and the Northwest Rebellion in 1885.  When his followers were defeated by the government at Batoche on May 12, 1885, he was sentenced to death and hanged in Regina jail.  He was a good poet and a songmaker.  The Gabrial in the song is Gabrial Dumont.

            Bill Gallaher made this poignant piece a few years ago; you can hear his beautifully crafted songs on various tapes and CDs by the contacting him at # 4-175 Pembroke St, Victoria, BC, Canada V8R 1J7, 604-382-7531.  It was Mary Garvey (of the Columbia River) who told me about Bill.  He performs quite often with the astonishing Jake Galbraith, Maureen Campbell and Mike Jones.

 

Gordon – 12 string guitar

Carol- vocal

 

 

            An east wing blew in the storms of time

            Where the Metis lived on the winding river

            For on a steel rail the settlers came

            To the South Saskatchewan, and the land they claimed.

           

            Then three Metis and Gabrial

            Rode like the wind to wild Montana

            And on the Sweetgrass, in a church of stone

            They found their savior, and they took him home.

 

                        Saying "Come Riel, we'll make a stand

                        Here at Botoche, beside the river

                        Ah, never mind their Gatling guns

                        If we lose this time, we've lost forever!"        

 

            Oh, and the bullets flew and the cannons roared

            And the Metis' blood flowed like a river

            Into the coulees where they ran to hide

            It washed their dreams away, and their spirit died.

 

            Then a silence stole across the land

            The drums of war were hushed forever

            But in the starlight on the barren plains

            The cry of Gabrial flies on the wind.

 

 

The Last Battle is recorded on the album In the Kind Land