Neil Young's Song "Indian Givers" Protests North Dakota Pipeline
by Alex Cosper
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Neil Young's song "Indian Giver," released in September 2016, is proof that social commentary music
has a place in both music and politics. His song is a tribute to Native American tribes in North Dakota
that are being harassed by local government and the oil industry. A Texas oil company wants to install
a pipeline through lands occupied by Native American tribes. The Obama Administration has terrorarily
sided with the tribes, blocking the pipeline.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media has not been covering the event much other PBS TV journalist
Amy Goodman was arrested and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Jill Stein for spray painting on
a tractor. Protesters have been successful at interrupting oil business meetings to resume construction.
Neil Young's song has been covered by major media outlets in the music world such as Rolling Stone and
The song vividly describes the situation going on in North Dakota. The reoccuring line is "I wish somebody would share
the news." It's a statement that calls into question why the media has been silent on the issue. The song opens
with the line "there's a battle raging on the sacred land." In many ways the song is a time capsule that captures
the state of media in 2016, who weak it has been at focusing on real issues.
"Indian Givers" is one of the most revealing songs of the decade in terms of how big business controls
so much of the American landscape. The song alludes to the "big machine." The key line is "behind big money
justice always fails." This statement has a loud impact, as it's delivered in a mature relaxed manner by Neil Young.
The song accurately defines evil as the big biz empires trying to steal land from native tribes.
In terms of rating the song for its social significance, I'd give it 100/100. It's one of the best songs
I've heard in a long time that talks about what's really going on and sees through propaganda. I wish more
artists would follow Neil's lead the past few decades in writing about relevant social commentary themes. Music
that delivers powerful social messages has played a big role in social revolutions.