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Big Tree

Watch the new Official Lyric Video!

Little girl with flying pigtail on bouncy tractor at playground
Little girl with flying pigtail on bouncy tractor at playground

Watch the new Official Lyric Video!

00:00 / 00:31

Available on EP

Click here for the "ellipsis" EP

Watch the new Official Lyric Video!

Big Tree

Down in the valley of the big tree

I will lay down my head

High on the cliffs where the wind lives

It is as I have said

I am not her master

How can I sell the land?

Perhaps I am a savage, but I don’t understand

Perhaps I am a savage, but I don’t understand

- repeat refrain-

Your tribe is empty and divorced from his birth

Your tribe is hungry to devour the Earth

I’ve seen your cities and my eyes fill with pain

Ten-thousand buffalo rot on the plain


The river is the blood of my people

And the sap in the tree

The ground holds the ashes of our fathers

And the tribe’s history

The mist in the words is our brother

And the beasts share our breath

And our dead remember their mother, the Earth


Where are the horses and the sound of the wind?

Where is the thicket? Gone.

The peace of the forest and the sight of the hills?
Where is the eagle? Gone. Gone, gone, gone…


Artist Statement

This song is based on a version of the text known as “Chief Seattle’s Reply.” For many decades it was thought the text was a rough transcript of an 1854 speech given by Chief Seattle of the Duwamish tribe to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs (Washington State governor Isaac Stevens).

There is evidence that the content may be at least in part fictional, at best being a reconstruction three decades later from handwritten notes, although based on that speech. Moreover, the modern version of the text is now widely accepted to be a creation (again, based on the Chief Seattle text) for a Baptist-produced environmental documentary produced in the early 1970s. So much for unadulterated history.

Still, it is likely still based on that authentic transcript, and the speech remains a lyrical and powerful expression of the environmental ethos that speaks to many people of the ways humans have exploited the environment and dismissed Native American tradition

Words and music by Adam Steinberg

©1991 (Revised 2011) Squeaky Toy Music - All Rights Reserved

Demo produced, mixed and engineered by Al Steele at Shabbey Road Studios, Caerphilly, March-June 2016.

Demo @2016 All Rights Reserved

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