The post was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.
Calina Lawrence is an indigenous vocalist and activist from the Suquamish Nation. She effectively fuses traditional native music with elements of hip-hop, soul, and spoken word. Lawrence uses her art to draw attention to social justice issues.
She recently released a video and new version of “Gaia,” a track off her 2018 debut album, “EPICENTER.” This rendition features vocals from the song’s composer Sylvie Karina and percussion from Francesca Rivera.
The song opens with the lyrics, “No one man has power over me / got this fool in the right house says he wants to grab me.” She makes it clear that “society fails when you dis-empower women.”
It goes on to urge men to be supportive allies with the poignant line, “Brother will you stand with me? / I need you to stand with me / Don’t wait until it’s too late so that I can’t breathe.”
The second half of the song addresses the destruction of sacred land by the construction of pipelines. This is fitting since in Greek mythology Gaia is the personification of Earth. In Lawrence’s song, capitalistic greed is akin to the raping of Mother Earth.
Lawrence was actively involved in protests against the Dakota Pipeline. She supports the Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline camps across Canada.
The YouTube page for her video for the song includes a quote from The Guardian: “Native American women are leading the movement against the Dakota Access pipeline, but say they face cruel and inhumane treatment from police.”
Reflecting on the injustices faced by Native women adds resonance to the question, “Brother will you stand with me?” It is as imperative as ever for male allies to stand along with women against oppressive patriarchal structures.