The Red Road (Play Version)

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Truckin’ all through the night can be lonely
Especially if you’re an Indian Okie
People stare at his long hair and braids
His ribbon shirt, faded jeans and shades

He calls his rig ‘The Oklahoma Eagle’
Haulin’ loads and working for his people
Sweetgrass, sage and family fill his head
He’ll live the Stomp Dance live until he’s dead

CHORUS

The Red Road fills his soul
And he can carry any load you need
You need
He’s an Indian loving life and liberty

He learned the trade from his Daddy long ago
He’s not the only Indian on the road
Ponca friends are on CB right now
Let’s have ourselves a truckin’ Pow-Wow

[PATTY SPEAKS]

Ladies, your very own Merle Yahola, Jr. could be out in the audience tonight!
Maybe you haven’t met him yet, or maybe you’ve been his wife for the past thirty-five years. Go on and give him a squeeze if he’s right next to ya. If he ain’t, give him a wink and invite him to the 49!

CHORUS

The Red Road fills his soul
And he can carry any load you need
You need
He’s an Indian loving life and liberty
He’s an Indian loving life and liberty

Written by Arigon Starr
©2006 Starrwatcher Publishing (ASCAP)
Lyrics reprinted by Kind Permission

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Arigon Starr as Merle Yahola, Jr.

Arigon Starr as “Merle Yahola, Jr.”

“Merle Yahola, Jr. is six-foot-two, hard as rock and has the biggest, brown chocolate eyes. He’s definitely the tastiest dish at the All Nations,” sighs Patty Jones. Merle is Verna’s younger brother and doesn’t make an appearance in “The Red Road” play until the very end.

In the song, Patty mentions inviting someone to a “49.” Here’s an explanation of the term from Arizona State University’s Pow-Wow committee:

The Forty-Nine is an impromptu gathering after the Pow Wow events are through for the evening. People gather together to sing “49” songs which are a combination of Native and English lyrics. The lyrics are usually composed by a lover addressing them toward their partner and often have a humorous message tucked into the lyrics. The origin of the name “Forty-Nine” is unclear.

One story is that the laments are sung because 50 warriors went to battle and only 49 returned. Another version, from Oklahoma, is that only 49 dancers showed up at a Pow Wow.