Indian Games, Dances & Native Songs - online book

Native American Ceremonials, Sports, and Songs with Sheet Music, Lyrics & Commentary

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Dance V
Introductory Note. — This dance represents the bringing of the "first-fruit offering" of the corn from the seven little hills that were ceremonially planted after the dead leaves of winter had been cleared away. The dancers who follow the seven leaders carrying the corn­stalks represent the people in triumphal procession in honor of Corn as "Mother breathing forth life." Both words and music of the song for this procession are taken from a great religious ceremony of the Pawnee wherein Corn is spoken of as A-ti-ra, Mother, with the prefix H' signifying breath, the sign of life. "H'A-ti-ra" ("Mother breathing forth life") is repeated over and over and is the only word used in this song. The repetition is not an idle procedure but an awakening of echoes in the native mind, of all that Corn has meant to his ancestors and race during the centuries. The repeated words imply contemplation on the subject. This song when heard sung by a hundred or more could not fail to im­press one with its majestic fervor. The beautiful, bountiful maize giving its life that others might enjoy life, on another plane, is here reverently and joyously proclained "Mother."
Properties. — Green and other bright colored scarfs or mantles, as many as there are dancers, boys and girls, also wreaths made of long leaves like those of the corn­stalk; these can be manufactured from green paper. Tall yellow plumes, similar to the tassel of the corn, and fastened to the wreath in such manner that when the wreath is worn the plume will stand above the forehead.
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