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While the song itself didn't immediately catch my attention, the spoken poem at the end did. I was instantly fascinated with who the speaker was and what he was saying.
What he was saying turned out to be a poem that Tuomas originally wrote in English, then John Two-Hawks translated into Lakota. And then someone on Youtube posted a translation back into English, which in some parts I like even better than the original version:
- I still dream all night long with the wolves, the horses, these endless meadows
the unquiet winds over the mountain
the safe and sound frontier of the good friends and relatives
I still believe in the sacred earth where the Great Spirit inhabits
I am like the elk
And you as the wolves that make me stronger
We have no obligation to you
Our only debt is a life for our Mother
Good times when we could sing to her
our spirits were here long time before yours
long time even before us
and for a long time it still will be
until the day your pride leads you to your own end.
Here's the video where the above translation was posted, of a live performance where John Two-Hawks steals the show:
The "prelude" before the Nightwish song in this version of the video is actually the tail end of a song written and performed by Two-Hawks (full performance here). The video itself is from a DVD of the entire concert, End of an Era.
As for who the speaker was...
I watched those End of an Era videos until I had them memorized, and I couldn't take my eyes off him the first several hundred times.
I read both of his websites in their entirety, then Googled everything else I could find about him.
I wrote him a Wikipedia article. It was how I got sucked into Wikipedia in the first place.
I suddenly redeveloped a childhood interest in American Indians. Back then, I had to stop looking because it just got too depressing (the good guys are supposed to win!!). Now, I'm delighted to have discovered that they're still with us and in some ways even thriving.
I am inspired to stand up straight by watching his posture, which will no doubt please my mother to no end.
I signed up to receive his monthly newsletter and am still too chicken (nearly six months later) to actually try talking to him directly.