As Long As the Grass Shall Grow
About the Song
(note: the verses of this song are usually performed as a "Talking Blues".)
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
(in C) F - C - (4x)
The Senecas are an Indian tribe of the Iroquios nation
Down on the New York-Pennsylvania line you'll find their reservation
After the US 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 USA & Indian rights combined
George Washington gave his signature, the government gave its hand
They said that now & forever more that this was Indian land
C - F - / G - C - (repeat 4x)
On the Seneca reservation there is much sadness now
Washington's treaty has been broken & 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 broke the ancient treaty with a politician's grin
It will drown the Indian graveyards, Cornplanter can you swim?
The earth is mother to the the Senecas, they're trampling sacred ground
Change the mint (or "good") green earth to black mud flats as honour hobbles down
The Iroquios Indians used to rule from Canada way south
But no one fears the Indians now & 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 & showed them another way
They laughed in his face & said no deal, Kinzua dam is here to stay
Congress turned the Indians down, brushed off the Indians plea
So the Senecas have renamed the dam, they call it Lake Perfidy
Washington, Adams & Kennedy now hear their pledges ring
The treaties are safe, we'll keep our word, but what is that gurgling?
It's the back water from Perfidy Lake, it's rising all the time
Over the homes & over the fields & over the promises fine
No boats will sail on Lake Perfidy, in winter it will fill
In summer it will be a swamp & all the fish will kill
But the government of the USA has corrected George's vow
The Father of our Country must be wrong, what's an Indian anyhow?
lyrics & music by Peter La Farge. (c) All rights reserved.
On his album of the same title.
Johnny Cash included this song on his important 1964 "Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian" album.