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  • Trot Dance

    Here is a question for anyone who wants to chew on it... How does a person correctly dance the trot songs? Why are these songs done the way they are? Are there tribal differences? Have a good one and enjoy the holidays!

  • #2
    Best thing is to go check out the pros at White Eagle, Hominy, Greyhorse, or Pawhuska......

    I was taught that it's a "trot" step, not a "stomp" or that buffalo dance kinda step. Like you're not supposed to drag the second foot on the ground.....

    This brings up another good debate - a friend of mine suggested that trot songs aren't really appropriate for contests cause they're a ceremonial song from Hethushka. But couldn't the same be said for the "stop" or so-called "trick" songs? Some really knowledgeable singers seem to have no problem singing those for contests, so I have no problem with it either. And if it's OK to sing stop songs and trot songs, why not go ahead and make straight dancers contest to shake songs too? That would really separate the folks who know something about what straight dancing really is and the songs used in Hethushka from those who just picked it up as a style but don't know the history and purpose.

    Whatever song you give me, I'll be cuttin up......
    Functionless art is simply tolerated vandalism.

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    • #3
      I think the songs talk about horses and getting them. Like the kiowas have horse stealing songs. It could be linked with buffalo songs I would think since plans indians had songs for everything. I will check with a few people, but it might be a few days.

      Thease songs are part of the Hethuska but are used out side of that warrior circle all the time, to me if you know those songs then you really know your stuff. I danced in a contest and the final song was a kiowa horse stealing song. The poncas have tip toe songs too, heard theam sung once at the White Bear war dance in Chicago. The difference is the tip toe songs had no language in them. Maybe some of the Poncas here on the board will chime in and correct me if I am wrong....
      If I do not know the answer someone else will!!!!
      Also forgive me, this system does not have a spell check so forgive the bad spelling

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      • #4
        I know these songs as horse(pony) stealing songs. They are Ilonshka/Hethuska songs as far as I know. I know the Kiowas also have these songs. I'm not sure of the appropriateness of using these songs in contest, but if they are sung I will dance to them. I like these songs myself. They aren't like the crow hop or some other Tradish type songs although those not knowing may try to associate them together. I have heard some funny looking people talk to others as if our songs are the same as the crow hop. I'm not a singer nor a Drum Keeper so I'm not the one to be the expert on these songs. Perhaps a Drum Keeper can help us out here if you all would, please.
        BOB

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        • #5
          My understanding of trot songs.
          The Hethuska dance, or ceremony, follows the logical procession of a battle. Starts with the calling and gathering of the men, various fights take place, victory, comming home, and remembering those lost. This explains why the beat gets faster as the dance goes on and finally comes to roll-the-drum or ruffle songs (victory). None of the translations I have for trot songs talk about horses, so I don't believe there is any connection to Kiowa horse stealing songs, they just happen to have a similar beat. The trot songs of the Hethuska (again as I understand it) are the wounded coming home and the step imitates a limp. The translations of the songs somewhat show this.
          Most of the older men I have seen at these dances seem to have a limp-like step when dancing trot songs. Then again, they are old and maybe all of their steps look like that?

          I'm not a scholar of Hethuska ways, this is just information I have picked up and offer it here for discussion.
          Last edited by BeadMan; 12-28-2003, 09:44 PM.

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          • #6
            Trot Dance Songs

            I can't speak of Trot Dance Songs from other tribes, but according to a conversation I had with Ponca Headsinger Harry Buffalohead in 1985, the Trot Songs should not be confused with Horse Stealing Songs, as they are very different. The Ponca Trot Songs are word songs said to have been composed in honor of Ponca warriors wounded in battle and often refer to the bravery of the warrior and his companions who helped him return home. There is one still being sung that talks about a Ponca warrior named Little Elk.

            It is also said that in the Buffalo days, these Trot Songs were sung by warriors returning from battle, while mounted on horseback, as they returned to their encampment. The horses were said to be arranged side by side and "pranced" in a line into camp as the warriors sang the songs of warriors who had been wounded. The style of dance is said to immitate the "prancing" or "trotting" of the horses as they entered camp.

            Immediately following the Trot Songs in a Ponca Hethuska dance ceremony are a group of songs called "Nahstopee" Songs. These Nahstopee Songs, slower in tempo, are all vocable songs contrasting with the Trot Songs which are all word songs. "Nahstopee", the Ponca word for "tip-toe" or "to walk softly", refers to the action of Ponca warriors approaching an enemy or enemy encampment, and being as silent as possible. The dance movements are said to immitate the very soft "tip-toe" steps of the silent warrior.

            "Be good, be kind, help each other."
            "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

            --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

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            • #7
              Well riding in on horses sure explains the name trot. Thanks. Does anyone know the Ponca word for trot songs? is it litterally translated as "trot?"

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              • #8
                :karate:

                I had been told that the trot dance is the warrior returning from battle. He is tired, possibly wounded, and zig zags to avoid being tracked. Just some thoughts on what I had been told in the past.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BeadMan
                  Well riding in on horses sure explains the name trot. Thanks. Does anyone know the Ponca word for trot songs? is it litterally translated as "trot?"
                  __


                  If I weren't Indian . . . "trot dance" would have a whole 'nother meaning!


                  *L



                  j/k
                  Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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                  • #10
                    I'm reading all the comments but not saying anything. I'm proud of being Ponca but whatever you believe or what you think you know, read the comment made by Abe Conklin. I agree with his statement. Good to know that there are those of you out there that want to know and ask about these sort of things cause that's how you learn. I still don't like to see dancers using our buffalo dance songs for a crow hop.
                    Last edited by PoncaPride; 01-03-2006, 12:09 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Good Stuff

                      Thanks everyone for the good stuff. I am reminded that one of those Ponca Trot songs speaks about passing on those traditions. Something about an elder to the youth asking what they will do when he is gone. I am probably wrong but that was what I was taught. What a good example of that in this discussion. I learned a lot with this! Thank you.

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                      • #12
                        "Little Elk" Ponca Trot Song

                        Originally posted by Fat Albert
                        I am reminded that one of those Ponca Trot songs speaks about passing on those traditions. Something about an elder to the youth asking what they will do when he is gone. I am probably wrong but that was what I was taught.
                        Howdy Albert,
                        Sounds like you might be referring to the "Little Elk" Trot Song. The meaning is a little bit different as you can see below. The overall meaning refers to the Ponca warrior "Little Elk", who died in battle. The composer of the song is saying to "Little Elk" that even though you a gone away, the memory of you stays. Though I returned alive from the battle, I will suffer the rest of my life because you are gone.

                        In Ponca it is sung like this:

                        Thi thinge dan, santha thise sabe do
                        Thi thinge dan, santha thise sabe do
                        Thi thinge dan, santha thise sabe do
                        Santha thise sabe do, "Anpa Zhinga", thi thinge dan
                        Ansa an santhise sabe do
                        Anitathi he ondonsabo thi he na
                        Thi thinge dan, santha thise sabe do

                        The translation is:

                        You are gone away, memory of you stays
                        You are gone away, memory of you stays
                        You are gone away, memory of you stays
                        Memory of you stays, "Little Elk", you are gone away
                        Returned alive with memory of you
                        Suffering through life as you are gone
                        You are gone away, memory of you stays

                        "Be good, be kind, help each other."
                        "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

                        --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BeadMan
                          Well riding in on horses sure explains the name trot. Thanks. Does anyone know the Ponca word for trot songs? is it litterally translated as "trot?"
                          Isn't it "Sassasa" or "Sessesa"?

                          Something like that....I think it kinda means to "trot", or at least, I've heard that word used when speaking about Trot Songs in particular.
                          "This next song goes out to some girls in dot com. They don't know who they are, but, it doesn't really matter anyway."




                          "When the God's wish to punish us, they grant our prayers."

                          O. Wilde

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                          • #14
                            Translations as I understand them to be.

                            Perhaps the words to the 4 Ponca Trot songs I am aware of will give the reader an insight as to what they were originally sung for. Note, the Ponca words may be off a little as they are phonetic spelling of words sung, which is a bit different from words spoken, and the translations are as I know them to be. However, I welcome any other comments or corrections.

                            Ponca Trot Song #1:
                            A liN ga do, he hay no
                            A liN ga do, he hay no
                            A liN ga do, he hay no
                            A liN ga do, he hay no
                            A liN ga do, he hay no, hay a lay a yoi
                            Hay nokke tay wa sho shay
                            A liN ga do, he hay no
                            A liN ga do, he hay no
                            A liN ga do, he hay no
                            A liN ga do, he hay no, hay a lay a yoi

                            English Translation:
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.
                            Today, enemies, bravely.
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.
                            I’m coming, I won’t be back.

                            Ponca Trot Song #2:
                            “AN-ba-the-te,” wi-na thi he na
                            “AN-ba-the-te,” wi-na thi he na
                            “AN-ba-the-te,” wi-na thi he na
                            O-ki-te ma-se, wi-na thi he na
                            “AN-ba-the-te,” wi-na thi he na
                            “AN-ba-the-te,” wi-na thi he na

                            English Translation:
                            Anbathete,” today I am alone.
                            Anbathete,” today I am alone.
                            Anbathete,” today I am alone.
                            Enemies coming for me, today I am alone.
                            Anbathete,” today I am alone.
                            Anbathete,” today I am alone.

                            Ponca Trot Song #3:
                            O-ki-te wa-shu-she, hi thiNga ti be do
                            O-we-he gaN-te, i-thiN-ga be do
                            O-wa-ga shaN-te, i-thiN-ga be do
                            O-we-he gaN-te, i-thiN-ga be do
                            O-ki-te wa-shu-she, hi thiNga ba
                            ON-ba-ka thi he na, Wa-koN-da e-ska-na, ma-shi na-ziN-te
                            O-wa-ga shaN-te, i-thiN-ga be do
                            O-we-he gaN-te, i-thiN-ga be do

                            English Translation:
                            Enemy brave, challenged me to enter the battle.
                            To enter the battle, I am told.
                            To go scouting, I am told.
                            To enter the battle I am told.
                            Enemy brave, challenged me to battle.
                            It made me angry, God will not leave, I will come back.
                            To enter the battle, I am told.
                            To go scouting, I am told.

                            Ponca Trot Song #4:
                            Thi thiN-ge daN, saN-tha thi-se sa-be do
                            Thi thiN-ge daN, saN-tha thi-se sa-be do
                            Thi thiN-ge daN, saN-tha thi-se sa-be do
                            SaN-tha thi-se sa-be do, “An-pa ZhiN-ga,” thi thiN-ge daN
                            AN-sa aN saN-thi-se sa-be do
                            A-ni-ta-thi he on-doN-sa-bo thi he na
                            Thi thiN-ge daN, saN-tha thi-se sa-be do

                            English Translation:
                            You are gone away, memory of you stays.
                            You are gone away, memory of you stays.
                            You are gone away, memory of you stays.
                            Memory of you stays, “Little Elk,” you are gone away.
                            Returned alive with memory of you.
                            Suffering through life as you are gone.
                            You are gone away, memory of you stays.
                            Last edited by Historian; 03-20-2005, 03:33 PM.

                            "Be good, be kind, help each other."
                            "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

                            --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              trottin

                              well, from what im told this was so sacred that you had to have the rite to even sing these songs. it was a seperate part of the hethuska arena. i may be wrong or the person who told me maybe wrong but he also told me that these songs are for the wounded who were lame and the fallin who were dead. there's a song that talks about a warrior who died in battle and it says to remember him, he died and the creator made it that way for him and all of us, and this upsets us. guess i'll let u guyz figure the song out and publish it here but i wont cuz it took me a while to get it. lol. some of the things that are being asked on here can be found by talking to elderes. im 30 yo and i still talk to my elders cuz thats where real info comes from. its good to talk about some of this stuff here so i guess talk on but it kinda takes away from talkin to elders. so in closing, i would say that trot songs are basically memorial songs that talk about the bravest of warriors. its like the purple heart songs. but im sure someone is a gona disagree with me and thats kool cuz you might have been told different. so any way you have been taught you should dance hard on any song cuz it reps our culture surving throughout the years.

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