Cherokee People, Cherokee Tribe: Lyrics And Meaning of The Raiders' 'Indian Reservation'

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
The Raiders as pictured on the cover of their 'Indian Reservation' album. Source: Amazon.com

The Raiders, formerly known as Paul Revere and the Raiders, had a single number one hit, with "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)." Its lyrics are a mixture of historical truth and myth, and the song has quite a dubious backstory. The Raiders were not the first to perform this song, nor would they be the last.

The Raiders were technically not one-hit wonders -- "Kicks," "Hungry," "Good Thing," "Him Or Me -- What's It Gonna Be?" were all top-ten hits in 1966-67. And in fact their period with the "Paul Revere" moniker and Revolutionary War getups is how they're best remembered. But this one song, released late in their career (it topped the Billboard Hot 200 in 1971), turned out to be their biggest hit.