Folk Music in The United States

Indian Music of the United States

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Indian Music of the United States                                            31

Almighty, look down on me, have pity on me.

I am the crow. Watch me.

Young man, be brave.

You are going to a dangerous place.

Your chieftainship will become famous.

Young man, it is good that you are going to war.

Birds, up there in the heavens, come down, have pity on us.

The following texts are from the Blackfoot Indians of Montana. Their culture is quite similar to that of the Arapaho, and so are text and musical structure.

Woman, don't worry about me. Fm coming back home to eat berries.

This is sung by men going on a war party.

White Dog [name of a Sioux chief],

stay away from this tribe.

You will cry when they scalp you.

The Indians of the Northwest Coast have more elaborate texts and fewer meaningless syllables. There is a considerable diflEer-ence in subject matter and the way it is presented, when compared to the Plains songs. Frances Densmore recorded the following Nootka songs:

Who is my equal or can compare with me? I have forty whales on my beach.^

Do not think for a moment that you can defeat us, for we have slaves from all other tribes, even from the coast tribes to the north.^

These songs are part of the Northwest Coast complex of institutionalized boasting and threatening, a part of this highly com-

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