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The Senecas / As Long as the Grass Shall Grow, song lyrics

Song: The Senecas (As Long as the Grass Shall Grow)
Lyrics: Peter La Farge(1)

Music: Peter La Farge(1)
Year: c. 1963(1)
Genre: Ballad
Country: USA

The Senecas(2) are an Indian Tribe of the Iroquois nation(3),
Down on the New York-Pennsylvania line, you'll find their reservation.
After the U. S. revolution, Cornplanter(4) was a chief;
He told the tribe these men they could trust, that was his true belief.
He went down to Independence Hall(5), and there a treaty signed(6),
That promised peace with the USA, and Indian rights combined.
George Washington gave his signature, the Government gave its hand;
They said that now and forever more 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.

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(7);
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 Senecas; they're trampling sacred ground,
Change the mint-green earth to black mud flats, as honor hobbles down.
This song was originally posted on

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 Indian down, brushed off the Indians' plea;
So the Senecas have renamed the dam, they call it "Lake Perfidy."(8)
This song was originally posted on

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, 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?



1 - This song was first released on the 1963 Peter La Farge album, As Long as the Grass Shall Grow: Peter La Farge Sings of the Indians

2 - The Senecas

3 - The Iroquois Nation

4 - Chief Cornplanter and Cornplanter (1740 - 1836)

5 - Independence Hall

6 - Treaties page from the Senaca Nation of Indians

7 - Kinzua Dam and All about the Kinzua Dam.

8 - Lake Perfidy from Geocaching.