Rock on, Vancouver, rock on.

I know that when I think of Vancouver, Washington, I wonder: “If the city had a boom box, what would it blast?”

Fear not, Vancouverites, I have your answer. “Roll On Columbia, Roll On,” by Woody Guthrie.

A 1941 popular hit, it’s an ode to the power of the mighty river to bring power to the areas around it, and the hard-fought settlement by the pioneers.

The city’s revamped website touts the song, here. Note, however, the lyrics the city lists aren’t complete.

Give a listen here. Slyly left out in the city’s Disney-fied Guthrie version are references to the line, “The wild Indian warriors to the tall timber run/We hung every Indian with smoke in his gun,” and “Fighting the rapids at Cascades and Dalles/The Injuns rest peaceful on Memaloose Isle.”

Still, even the great state of Washington isn’t deterred by the less PC-portions of this Guthrie ditty. It also adopted “Roll On Columbia, Roll On” as the state’s official folk song two years later, in 1987.

Of course, the battles between the tribes and settlers aren’t done with yet in Clark County…

Scroll to top