Protestsong du jour: As long as the grass shall grow


Op de afgebeelde hoes van de LP die eigenlijk Bitter tears heet, balladen over de Indianen van de VS, wordt door het profiel verband gelegd tussen Johnny Cash en de afgebeelde chief. Toen dacht Cash nog dat hij “Indiaans bloed” had. Maar neen, het was Schotland en Ierland in zijn voorgeslacht, alsof het niet genoeg was. Een “Indiaan” heeft mij ooit gezegd dat Indiaan zijn geen kwestie van voorkomen is, maar van gezindheid, daar in Noord-Amerika. Er is eenvoudigweg te weinig voorgeslacht ter plaatse voor al die honderden miljoenen (nazaten van) immigranten.
Maar Johnny Cash en de Carter Family meenden het heel goed, dat hoor je zo wel. De tekst is van Peter LaFarge, zelf een “keuze-Indiaan”.
De LP is oorspronkelijk van 1964.

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
The Senecas are an Indian tribe of the Iroquois 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 was a treaty signed
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 that this was Indian land
As long as the moon shall rise…

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 the Senecas they’re trampling sacred ground
Change the mint green earth to black mud flats as honor hobbles down
As long as the moon shall rise…

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 brushed off the Indians plea
So the Senecas have renamed the dam they call it Lake Perfidy
As long as the moon shall rise…

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 back water 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 USA 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 (look up) as long as the rivers flow (are you thirsty)
As long as the sun will shine (my brother are you warm) as long as the grass shall grow