Mikyla Bethune's "Native Americans' Perspective - Run to The Hills! "

Updated: Nov 22, 2018

Iron Maiden is a heavy metal band known and applauded for their narrative storytelling within their songs. This can be seen with songs like “The Trooper” or even “Be Quick or Be Dead”. However, to commemorate an event such as Thanksgiving, “Run to the Hills” is the most suitable song in their discography. “Run to the Hills” became one of the band’s most well known songs. It has memorable lyrics, a good hook, and good, upbeat instrumentals. Beyond this, the song still documents the bloody conflicts that arose between the European settlers and the Native Americans. Although the main point of the song is the wars fought between the two groups, there is an even deeper meaning to the lyrics in this song.

“Run to the Hills” begins in a Native American’s point of view. From this perspective, the unknown aliens, or European settlers, have invaded the natives’ land. This song does not ease its way into its main topic. “Run to the Hills” immediately dives forth into the brutality and murders suffered by the Native Americans. In the first verse alone it proclaims, “He killed our tribes, he killed our creed, and took our game for his own need.” This particular song illustrates the fact that although the natives fought valiantly, they continued to die at the white man’s hands. Towards the end of the song, the lyrics become visibly more erratic and filled with fury. The Native American man recites the injustices that have swarmed his communities, at the hands of the white man. The entire last verse perfectly exemplifies this by stating, “Soldier blue in the barren wastes / Hunting and killing their game / Raping the women and wasting the men.” The main character in this section of the song states that they are “Enslaving the young and destroying the old.” He even notes at the end that the only Native Americans that will survive are the tame and domesticated, characteristics that go against the very nature of Native Americans.

On the settlers’ side of things, the situation is almost just as grim. They believe that they are justified in killing these natives. They are, in their own words, “fighting for freedom.” They need to “chase them back into their holes” because it is necessary in order to preserve their own freedoms. Even though it has almost the same tone as the natives’ point of view, it differs greatly by being the voice of the aggressor rather than the victim. It also purposely goes out of its way with this perspective to show how conceded and murderous the settlers are. This perspective also reveals how careless and self centered the aggressors’ are; they cannot even notice that their own women, children, and elders are being killed.

Lastly, the storytelling of this song really comes together in the refrain. The chorus of “Run to the Hills” is chanted by both the settlers and the natives. While their complaints and perspectives are both skewed to favor their own side oblivious of the opposite view, they both have the same goal when something turns nasty or when they are trying to overthrow the other. The phrase,”Run to the hills, run for your lives” perfectly epitomizes the struggle that both sides have to face in order to survive another day. Despite the animosity towards the other side that both parties seem to harbor, “Run to the Hills” is the only thing they can seem to agree on. Running towards the hills to remain alive is simply the best option for both at this point. The last line does not end in the natives’ point of view or in the settlers’ point of view. To truly show how similar and like-minded they are, the song ends simply with both sides thinking, “Run to the hills, run for your lives.”

To conclude, divisitivity that can break us apart and make us the worst of enemies. However, subtle similarities can bring us together and show how akin we all are. We all bleed the same blood, this could be exemplified in both the settlers’ and the natives’ will to live by running to the hills.

© Melida Rodas 2018   Web Developer / Writer / Multimedia Artist