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  • Honoring whistle?

    Can someone please expand on the meaning of honoring the drum with a whistle? I've seen it done but not sure of it's actual meaning or origin. Can anybody do it, or must it be someone specific? MC's often count the number of whistles also. A little background info please?
    "As through this world I've wandered, I've met lots of funny men. Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen." -Woody Guthrie

  • #2
    This is what my father has told me. When u blow a whistle on a drum, the person who blowed it prolly has a sick family member or a family member who is or something else which cuases them distress. once he blows it it turns the song into a healing song. Only men blow whistles. fancy, chicken straight, tradish, grass. the arena director is the one the usually counts the number of whistles. ive been told that the maxium number of whistles is 4.

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    • #3
      Strongly encourage

      I would strongly encourage you to stay away from whisltes unless you've been given the rights to it. If you have rights to it you know what it is for.
      In many areas, blowing a whistle will denote additional required actions.
      In my option, as far as the internet goes, nothing more should be said here.
      Ask a Vet or Elder at your next dance.
      "Now remember, things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is." JW

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      • #4
        Men blow the Whistle at the drum to honor the drum. We call it whistling up the drum. It's the same as fanning up the drum. I have seen it done 4 to 7 times depending on if they really really like the song and the drum is doing a good job on it...
        Thankful for the blessing from the Creator in my life!!!!

        Life should not be measured by the number of things that we aquire on our journey but by the number of lives that we touch along that road.

        I am a bridge on the red path between my ancestors and the future. I am a bridge between my white heritage and my native heritage. A bridge joins two sides together and provides a way to move on..... A.K. O'Pry-Reynolds

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lostsalt View Post
          I would strongly encourage you to stay away from whisltes unless you've been given the rights to it. If you have rights to it you know what it is for.
          In many areas, blowing a whistle will denote additional required actions.
          In my option, as far as the internet goes, nothing more should be said here.
          Ask a Vet or Elder at your next dance.
          Yeah, what he said!
          "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by cconn9c View Post
            This is what my father has told me. When u blow a whistle on a drum, the person who blowed it prolly has a sick family member or a family member who is or something else which cuases them distress. once he blows it it turns the song into a healing song. Only men blow whistles. fancy, chicken straight, tradish, grass. the arena director is the one the usually counts the number of whistles. ive been told that the maxium number of whistles is 4.

            Healing Songs? Fanning? 7 times?

            Dang, no wonder everything is so screwed up these days. No one knows the heck is going on.
            I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

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            • #7
              If this is one those "insulting questions" then I apologize, but I find it strange for you to say "stay away from the whistles", when I'm merely a spectator in the stands. I don't participate, I only spectate, and when an MC asks the audience to stand because a whistle has been blown, it only leads to questions. Again, sorry if I offended you. I thought this "spectators" area of the forum was exactly for this purpose.
              "As through this world I've wandered, I've met lots of funny men. Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen." -Woody Guthrie

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by socman View Post
                Can someone please expand on the meaning of honoring the drum with a whistle? I've seen it done but not sure of it's actual meaning or origin. Can anybody do it, or must it be someone specific? MC's often count the number of whistles also. A little background info please?
                When someone honors the drum with a whistle, they have to collect the whistles until they have 4. When they have been honored 4 times, they take the whistles and make corners to hang the drum on. If they don't have 4 whistles than they have to leave the drum on the ground. Thats why you see so many drums with no corners, setting on the ground. If a drum collects 7 whistles they are truly Wakan!! If they received the 7th whistle east of the Missippi river, they have to give the other 3 whistles to a drum that has only one whistle, so that drum can make a drum stand. This is because our eastern brother's are whosheka. If the drum receives the 7th whistle west of the Missouri river, than they drum keeps the whistles, because we are 7th generation and west the Missouri river is lands of the lakota.

                You heard it here!!
                Sahnish

                "There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action."

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                • #9
                  Thats what my dad told about whistling drums. it then becomes a healing song and then he throws eathers cigs or tabacco on the drum and prays.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by socman View Post
                    If this is one those "insulting questions" then I apologize, but I find it strange for you to say "stay away from the whistles", when I'm merely a spectator in the stands. I don't participate, I only spectate, and when an MC asks the audience to stand because a whistle has been blown, it only leads to questions. Again, sorry if I offended you. I thought this "spectators" area of the forum was exactly for this purpose.
                    Hey Socman, I don't think your question is one of the "insulting questions" as you suggest. I think it's an honest and fair question especially since your original question was simply asking for some general background on the subject. However the question might be on touchy side at least for some as there may be aspects of this activity which are not or should not be discussed on the WWW.

                    As a spectator, I think that the best thing to do is to recognize that a dancer or dancers have been moved by a song or the drum and are giving recognition to it, the drum. It is generally appropriate for everyone to stand and remove headgear and often times the MC will call for "no pictures" and "no recording." Sometimes the MC and/or the whistle blower may talk about what is happening (at least I've seen this at NC/VA powwows), and sometimes not. But even if there is some public announcement it will likely not explain the background and/or the meaning of what has taken place. The "practical" explanation of counting the number of whistles and limiting to 4 is that the blowing of a whistle generally extends the songs to four more pushes of the song. Generally this is hard on the singers as they have already come to the end of the song when the whistle is blown and all they want is a drink of water or a smoke.

                    My suggestion is that if you're going to many powwows, you've probably made some friends who may dance and/or sing and they may be able/willing to share more about the background and meaning of whistling the drum.
                    "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Whistling will cary from powwow to powwow, by local tribal traditions and by the understandings of the powwow committee, this summer I've seen/heard:

                      1) committees announce "no whistles" at this powwow
                      2) committees allow all the whistle carriers (a known position among certain tribes) to whistle up 1 song during one session only, usually early in the session during the first round of intertribals
                      3) whistle carrier blow during any non-contest song


                      Typically a whistle is blown over the drum at the end of the 4th pushup, and by blowing it, the singers will sing one more pushup, but the whistle blower will blow over the drum 4 times. Unless 4 whistle carriers agree to each do it once. Or after the first has blown 4 times, the next will approach the drum. Also, each whistle carrier will make a donation to the drum (unless the singers are not at the drum and their drum has been left down, then it is blown over to teach them a lessons).

                      If a drum is flat it can be whistled over at any time. I remember during a pause in the action at Gathering in the early 90s maybe, somebody whistled up Blacklodge when only 2 of the guys were sitting at the drum, but it was down. I was near one of their singers, we were in a group checkin out the hotties, when their singer got this look on his face like, "hey, that sounds like ...... oh crap" and off he ran down the steps at the Pit.

                      That's some of what I've been taught.

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                      • #12
                        NO one I repeat NO one

                        knows nothing...thas good...ive sent the thread starter some private info,,
                        sigpicMITAKUYE OYASIN... "then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all , and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world . and while i stood there I saw more than I can tell . and I Under Stood more then I saw . for I Was Seeing in a Sacred manner the Shapes of All . Hehaka Sapa. dec 1863-aug 17 or 19 , 1950.. listen online TO KILI 90.1 FM porcupine butte

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                        • #13
                          Thanks very much for all the responses, both public and private. Let me emphasize one more time, that I certainly meant no disrespect by asking. I think my past posting on here should lend a little "cred" to the fact that I am not ignorant of the culture and hold it in the highest regard. I actually saw this at Red Earth which as you know is an extremly "public" pow wow, so I assumed (wrong) that it must not be a very "private" thing. Thanks again.
                          "As through this world I've wandered, I've met lots of funny men. Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen." -Woody Guthrie

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by socman View Post
                            Thanks very much for all the responses, both public and private. Let me emphasize one more time, that I certainly meant no disrespect by asking. I think my past posting on here should lend a little "cred" to the fact that I am not ignorant of the culture and hold it in the highest regard. I actually saw this at Red Earth which as you know is an extremly "public" pow wow, so I assumed (wrong) that it must not be a very "private" thing. Thanks again.
                            "Extremely public pow-wow" and one you pay to get in! That says it all right there. Speaking only for my tribes' ways (Bitterroot Salish and Ksanka), there are never sacred or ceremonial things carried out at pow-wows. We do not even do memorials for our ones who passed on; there is another time and way to do those. The modern pow-wow is open to all, and it is for celebration.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by socman View Post
                              Thanks very much for all the responses, both public and private. Let me emphasize one more time, that I certainly meant no disrespect by asking. I think my past posting on here should lend a little "cred" to the fact that I am not ignorant of the culture and hold it in the highest regard. I actually saw this at Red Earth which as you know is an extremly "public" pow wow, so I assumed (wrong) that it must not be a very "private" thing. Thanks again.
                              Public venue?...yes...

                              You do have to be careful with it all,...remember, "When in Rome, do as in Rome!"

                              I can not speak on behalf of whistle carriers, or any tribal/native community, but I can say this as I answered a question of a spectator at a dance...

                              "What does your songs mean?", I was asked!

                              I replied, "This last song had no words in it. This song this group is singing has words and it talks about ____, ____, & ____."

                              They then proceeded to aks, "What is the spiritual significance?"

                              My response was, "Are you a Christian? Do you need a church to worship? Do you need to be in the confinements of a building to worship? When I compose a song, they come to me...I do my best not to force it. I may be in the shower when the Creator talks to me...I may be in the middle of teaching...I may be in the middle of grocery shopping! The issue is that God waits for no man when he has a message to delive to you or I. The question then becomes if you're gonna be obedient to His call! So, having said that, the music that I am gifted is a message for someone...some form of healing somewhere. Do I concern myself with all that? No! But, I do sing whatever I am led to do. To the general public while at a pow wow, it looks like nothing different but in this modern world I stand out!"

                              In the case of the whistle, I think you have been given some fair information...now you just have to take the information you've been given and formulate your own opinion of understanding. As it was mentioned somewhere, we'll never know it all...so we should stop trying.

                              Even in this day and time we'll get a grasp on something and as we witness more of it our views change!


                              LSS
                              To get a true picture of your purpose in life, you only get the whole picture when you listen with your mind, your ears and your heart. This way The Creator has a direct connection with you and only you...no outside interference.

                              When you follow the will of IT that created you, understanding that your purpose is not for you...but for IT and all that IT has created, there can be no wrong except failure to be obedient. Only then do we jeopardize the gifts we are given.

                              Its not the final destination that defines us, rather the journey taken!

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