The Senecas (Peter La Farge)

“The Senecas” Sheet Music (pdf).
“The Senecas” Karaoke (midi with lyrics).

Lyrics: Peter La Farge.
Tune: Peter La Farge.


[spoken] The Senecas are an Indian tribe of the Iroquois nation. Down on the New York – Pennsylvania line, you’ll find their reservation. After the U.S. Revolution, Cornplanter was a chief. He told the tribe these men they could trust. That was his true belief. He went down to Independence Hall and there a treaty signed that promised peace with the U.S.A. and Indian rights combined. George Washington gave his signature. The Government gave its hand. They said that, now and forevermore, this was Indian land.

As long as the moon shall rise….
As long as the rivers flow….
As long as the sun will shine….
As long as the grass shall grow….

[spoken] On the Seneca Reservation, there is much sadness now. Washington’s treaty has been broken, and there is no hope, no how. Across the Allegheny River, they’re throwing up a dam. It will flood the Indian Country: a proud day for Uncle Sam. It has broken the ancient treaty with a politician’s grin. It will drown the Indians’ graveyards. Cornplanter, can you swim? The Earth is mother to the Senecas. They’re trampling sacred ground, changing the mint-green earth to black mud flats, as honor hobbles down.

As long as the moon shall rise….
As long as the rivers flow….
As long as the sun will shine….
As long as the grass shall grow….

[spoken] The Iroquois Indians used to rule from Canada way south, but no one fears the Indians now, and smiles the liar’s mouth. The Senecas hired an expert to figure another site, but the great, good army engineers said that he had no right. Although he showed them another plan and showed them another way, they laughed in his face and said, “No deal. Kinzua Dam is here to stay.” Congress turned the Indians down and brushed off the Indian plea, so the Senecas have renamed the dam: they call it Lake Perfidy.

As long as the moon shall rise….
As long as the rivers flow….
As long as the sun will shine….
As long as the grass shall grow….

[spoken] Washington, Adams, and Kennedy, now hear their pledges ring, “The treaties are safe. We’ll keep our word.” But what is that gurgling? It’s the backwater from Perfidy Lake. It’s rising all the time over the homes, and over the fields, and over the promises fine. No boats will sail on Lake Perfidy. In winter, it will fill; in summer, it will be a swamp and all the fish will kill. But the Government of the U.S.A. has corrected George’s vow. The “Father of Our Country” must be wrong. What’s an Indian anyhow?

As long as the moon shall rise….
As long as the rivers flow….
As long as the sun will shine….
As long as the grass shall grow….


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