Coast Salish Anthem | Chief Dan George's Prayer Song


This arrangement of Chief Dan George’s beautiful prayer song features Gordon Dick (Tchilaqs7tchila) of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation drumming and singing. Gordon taught the Coast Salish Anthem to Seycove’s choir students in December 2019 and has graciously shared it with many other schools in North Vancouver. We look forward to acknowledging and honouring the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples – the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations on whose land we live and learn by singing it as a choir, as a school, and as a district.

𝘾𝙝𝙞𝙚𝙛 𝘿𝙖𝙣 𝙂𝙚𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙚’𝙨 𝙇𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙛𝙚𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣

How long have I known you, Oh Canada? A hundred years? Yes, a hundred years. And many, many seelanum more. And today, when you celebrate your hundred years, Oh Canada, I am sad for all the Indian people throughout the land.

For I have known you when your forests were mine; when they gave me my meat and my clothing. I have known you in your streams and rivers where your fish flashed and danced in the sun, where the waters said ‘come, come and eat of my abundance.’ I have known you in the freedom of the winds. And my spirit, like the winds, once roamed your good lands.

But in the long hundred years since the white man came, I have seen my freedom disappear like the salmon going mysteriously out to sea. The white man’s strange customs, which I could not understand, pressed down upon me until I could no longer breathe.

When I fought to protect my land and my home, I was called a savage. When I neither understood nor welcomed his way of life, I was called lazy. When I tried to rule my people, I was stripped of my authority.

My nation was ignored in your history textbooks – they were little more important in the history of Canada than the buffalo that ranged the plains. I was ridiculed in your plays and motion pictures, and when I drank your fire-water, I got drunk – very, very drunk. And I forgot.

Oh Canada, how can I celebrate with you this Centenary, this hundred years? Shall I thank you for the reserves that are left to me of my beautiful forests? For the canned fish of my rivers? For the loss of my pride and authority, even among my own people? For the lack of my will to fight back? No! I must forget what’s past and gone.

Oh God in heaven! Give me back the courage of the olden chiefs. Let me wrestle with my surroundings. Let me again, as in the days of old, dominate my environment. Let me humbly accept this new culture and through it rise up and go on.

Oh God! Like the thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man’s success – his education, his skills – and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society.

Before I follow the great chiefs who have gone before us, Oh Canada, I shall see these things come to pass. I shall see our young braves and our chiefs sitting in the houses of law and government, ruling and being ruled by the knowledge and freedoms of our great land.

So shall we shatter the barriers of our isolation. So shall the next hundred years be the greatest in the proud history of our tribes and nations.


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  1. This is a beautiful recording of a moving song; is it possible to get permission to use it in a class slideshow documenting our experience on the Salish Sea? We are looking at the cultural history of the area and interactions between humans and the sea ecosystem, encouraging the human's role as steward and caretaker. <3

  2. This is absolutely beautiful. I am a student at the University of British Columbia. I understand that Indigenous music is a part of Indigenous culturural property. I would love to use this song for a podcast in one of my classes that acknowledges the cultural repatriation of Indigenous history. Could I use this sound?

  3. Wow, this is Powerful, Beautiful. I acknowledge the damage done by white people, the foreigners who took everything. I am listening and learning.

    My kids are ALWAYS talking about Gord – the stories he shares. They describe his drum and his voice as he teaches them the songs of his people. I love hearing them singing these songs at home. We have missed Gord since covid and hope we’ll meet again. We wish strength and health to our Coast Salish neighbours.

  4. Hello, I am school teacher in BC, Canada. I respect that songs are part of Indigenous People's cultural property. Do I need to ask for permission to share this song with my students in the class when we do are morning land acknowledgement exercise? Thank you.

  5. @melodielangevin. This is a sacred song for indigenous peoples. This is not meant for you to take and change because you like the way it sounds. That in a way is colonization and erasure of culture. Just because it was taught to you, does not mean you have the jurisdiction to make it different and share it. This song was made accessible for OTHER INDIGENOUS people when it was shared to youtube. It was not made for you. In doing this you have stolen a piece of our culture – just as your ancestors did our land.

  6. Beautiful arrangement. I was wondering about permission to use this arrangement and reading of the lament for a project. Do I need Gordon Dick's permission?

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