Salmon Bay Charlie

(Song by: Allan Hirsch  –  Performance Notes below)

Al Hirsch

Al Hirsch


Did you ever wonder what it was like here before
Native people living on these Northwest shores
Clam beds n’ eel grass salmon estuaries
Dug out canoes on the Salish Sea

Salmon Bay Charlie a Duwammish man
hunter an’ gatherer of the Shilshole clan
Madeline by his side weaving cat tail mats
Digging clams and mussels in the flats.

Salmon Bay Charlie saw it all
Salmon Bay Charlie saw it all
Life was hard work near the Salish Sea
Salmon Bay Charlie saw it all

Long houses made from huge cedar logs
Blankets made from hair of little white dogs
Life was good ‘neath Mother cedar tree
Gathering food from the Salish sea.

Cedar hats like a cone, no shoes on their feet
Nothing sweeter than berries for a treat
Tightly woven baskets full of Camas roots
Music from the sacred Indian flute.


Then came the settlers with a great big plan
Straighten out the rivers, flatten the land
Deepen the bays so ships could pass free
Connect the inland lakes to the sea.

Lightening ships dredging Shilshole Bay
Where the native children really liked to play
The fish weirs along little canoe creek
Gone before Charlie had a chance to speak.


The locks complete and the unspoiled land
Filling fast with woman, child, and man
Little Lake longhouse now no more
No summer harvest huts on Magnolia shore

Salmon Bay Charlie had to move his clan
No room for Indians in the settlers’ plan
Off to Suquamish in their dugout canoes
The only life left they could choose.



  • Words and music by Allan Hirsch
  • Performed by:
    • Allan Hirsch (vocals and rhythm guitar)
    • Doug Bright (bass and lead guitar)
  • Recorded at Jack Straw Cultural Center

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