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
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
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.