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Selu
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The story of Selu, The Cherokee Earth Mother told in song
Single - $0.75
Album - $13.00
Acoustic - Folk
Charts #9,967 today (peak #159)
Charts #745 in subgenre today (peak #24)
Michelle Mays
Michelle Mays
April 10, 2006
1 version uploaded:
MP3 18.4 MB  •  320 kbps bitrate  •  8:02 minutes
Story behind the song
Selu, the Cherokee Corn Mother, and Grandmother to the Cherokee Nation. Tommy Wildcat, a Traditionalist and Nammy winner 2003 plays his Flute on this beautiful song story of Selu. O'sio - a formal Cherokee greeting. Selu -Earth/Corn or Mother Creator (Selu is the Cherokee Earth/Corn Goddess) Awa do li - I want or give to me. My father always told the story of his Cherokee Grandmother, Susie Ballard Mays, and how she insisted that he speak Cherokee when he wanted cornbread. Selu awa do li. My father said she would get very upset if he didn't ask for the cornbread in Cherokee. This was the only Cherokee phrase she insisted he use. And so, when he had children, he insisted that we too, say Selu awa do li. To us, Selu awa do li, only meant, Please, pass the cornbread. Later, I learned the Story of Selu, the Cherokee, Earth Mother/Corn Goddess. It is a beautiful story, and I've set it to song. I learned why my Great Grandmother insisted that her Grandchildren learn that particular phrase. It means much more than... Please, Pass the Cornbread.. it was a message to her children and grandchildren.. to remind us where and who, we came from. It's a long song.. as is the story of Selu and the Cherokee people. And now, it's time, (as Paul Harvey says), for the rest of the story..... There was a time in our nation's history when Native American children were manditorily taken away from their parents to be schooled away from their families..The Government was assimilating the Native Children into the White Culture. At these schools, Native languages were forbidden. Throughout these times in our American History, many links in the eternal chain of culture and tradition, were broken. My Great Grandmother, living in those times.. did what she could to help her children and grandchildren remember.. who they were. The Native American flute is played by Tommy Wildcat, Native American Music Award, flutist of the year, 2002.
Lyrics
Selu Selu awa-do-lee, Selu. Selu awa-do-lee, Selu. Selu awa-do-lee, Selu. Selu awa-do-lee, Osio, Selu. She had always been there, Standing tall in her Green Robe Loving hands reaching for her people. Caring for her beloved people. Grandmother cared for her people, kept them healthy and strong. Selu fed her children, even when the hunters failed. From the strength of her bones and the Life in her blood, she fed them. Selu taught them the sacred way, to respect and honor life. All you need is given if the sacred way you keep. Take only as you need, and leave the rest, Keep the balance of life. (CH) Her children listened, and knew the wisdom of her words. For she was the oldest, the wisest, and guided with loving hands. The People grew, their numbers were many, Strong Tsa-la-gee. But some young ones, bold and daring, and filled with curiosity, Followed her, when the hunters failed... They'd claim the food the glory for themselves. They saw her undo her robe, and shake her body as the basket filled with corn. She had always been there, feeding the people and tending their needs. No one had asked, for they'd been just children, but now they knew who she was. (CH) The Young ones told all the people what they'd seen. And the people, confused and afraid, knew that Selu was the Mother of ALL life. They shunned her in fear, they shunned her in awe, the balance of life was gone. Selu knew her time with her beloved children had come to an end. It broke her heart, it broke the People's heart when she said, "It's time for me to go'. When she died, she told them, bury me in the meadow by moonlight, Where the Day moon shines, and I'll come back to you. (CH) And the People cried, as they buried her in the moonlight. The Tsa-la-gee people cried, their tears fell like rain. They remembered her words, and tended her grave, All summer long. In the Harvest moon she returned... As if she'd always been there, Standing tall in her Green Roe. Loving hands reaching for her people... And in her hands?? Corn!
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