25 years ago I was involved in the Prairie Island Coalition Against Nuclear Storage, fighting to stop the storage of nclear waste on the Prairie Island reservation on an island in the Mississippi River. I was also working for the Ho-Chunk Nation at the time in the La Crosse area, and had befriended a tribal elder named Elvina Decorah. She took a liking to me as though I was her grandson, and would routinely have me over to her house to hear what I was up to.

One day I told her about our efforts to stop the storage of spent nuclear fuel on the Prairie Island Rez, and she listened keenly. When I was done she said she’d pray for us and then, with a twinkle in her eye she said, ” but you’re going to need more than just prayers. ”

I went home and thought about what she’d said, and this song started to form in my mind. Elvina walked on a few months later. I finished the song well after she passed. It seems more relevant today than it did back then.

I used to feel bad that Elvina never heard the song she inspired. Then one day it occurred to me, maybe she’s the one who actually wrote it?

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