SALEM, OR (KPTV) – On Monday, Oregon lawmakers passed a resolution that some might say sweetens a sour note that was struck with the state song. Now, the lyrics to “Oregon, My Oregon" have been updated.
Let's take a look at the changes: Instead of saying "Land of the Empire Builders, Land of the Golden West; Conquered and held by free men, Fairest and the Best,” the song now says "Land of Majestic Mountains, Land of the Great Northwest; Forests and rolling rivers, Grandest and the best.”
Critics felt the old lyrics carried racial and oppressive undertones.
The new lyrics were written by local music teacher, Amy Donna Shapiro, who said she was shocked by what was in the original lyrics, and what was left out. “I thought the white people came and killed the Indians in order to take the land and that they were the fairest and the best-- the ones who did the conquering, and I just didn't agree with that,” Shapiro told FOX 12. “There were no words about mountains, rivers, or trees at all! Which, I didn't understand, I couldn't believe.”
Shapiro said she first heard the original state song when she was asked to teach it to some of her students, and she knew right away after reading the first couple of verses that the song needed an update. FOX 12 asked her what kind of reactions she's received about the song changes, and she said the comments have been very positive.