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  • Wolf Songs

    Have we talked about Wolf Songs here?

    What are they and when are they used? I've got two reasons for asking. First, at the Ponca Hethushka in April there was a session after the dinner break where women danced and I was told that they were dancing to Wolf songs. Second, I just picked up a vinyl record on Ebay of Omaha songs that were recorded in the late 1800's & early 1900's in Nebraska. There are some Wolf Songs on that. I haven't had a chance to listen to it since I don't have a record player.

    CEM

  • #2
    not exactly sure what wolf songs are of the ponca's, but do know that the omahas and poncas are really close they have almost they same songs as one another.

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    • #3
      your not supposed to sing them outside of whiteagle,the ponca word for these songs means coyote but i dont know why they started calling them wolf songs,and the women are supposed to pay there way to do this dance too just like paying your way to dance or sing.there are just as many wolf songs as there are heleshlka songs,but dont sing them any where but whiteagle

      [ October 02, 2001: Message edited by: ndn_ave ]
      john arkeketa

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      • #4
        The Poncas call the songs mi'kasi waan which as was said before mi'kasi means 'coyote', not wolf. I have only seen them sung at White Eagle and and that is where they belong. The singers around White Eagle sing them pretty much whenever they feel like it but they always sing at least a set of them. Today, they are only danced by women but some of the old literature suggests that they might have been danced to by men in the past. The Library of Congress has some Omaha songs from wax recordings that date around 1895 where they are singing some songs they call Mi'kachi songs. In their commentary, the Library says this:

        In traditional Omaha society wolves were naturally associated with wars and warriors. As Fletcher and La Flesche note, "In myths that deal with the creation of the earth . . . man's restlessness, his questionings of fate, his destructiveness, are frequently symbolized by the wolf (1911, p. 171)." The Wolf dance was performed when warriors gathered in their last public appearance before leaving the village, whether on a war party or simply traveling together as a group. The dancers, imitating the movements of the wolf, asked the wolf to share with them his predatory, restless character (1893, pp. 44-45, 123-126; 1911, pp. 416-420).

        Since the Ponca and Omaha were together at one time, maybe the origins are the same.

        Fletcher and La Fleshe also comment that some of the songs were either Sioux or about the Sioux which might suggest that they diffused from the North. This might explain the northern wolf songs but that is just speculation.

        At any rate, they are beautiful songs but, at least in the case of the Ponca wolf songs, should be left in White Eagle where they belong. Just my humble thoughts....
        ------------------------
        The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.

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        • #5
          Last edited by okndnman; 03-11-2006, 08:59 PM.

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          • #6
            I am the LAST person who would take ANYTHING away from the Ponca people but "Completely Wrong!". I know very little but I did the best that I could to answer the question that was asked the best way I knew how. I'm sorry if I offended you but I am not sorry for what I wrote. If you know something we don't, please don't just get mad and respond with a terse reply. Enlighten us... Explain it to us as you have been told.

            [ October 14, 2001: Message edited by: WaxeNuZhinga ]
            ------------------------
            The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.

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            • #7
              Last edited by okndnman; 03-11-2006, 08:59 PM.

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              • #8
                Forgive my intrusion on the impending argument, but this subject has raised some questions in my young mind.

                WaxeNuZhinga has replied to the initial question with academic documentation gathered from the Omaha in 1911, was it? Then, okndnman says the songs are of the Ponca and no one else, but gives no reasoning for his response.

                Given that, at one point, the Omaha and the Ponca were one people, having the same language, music etc., (why else would the Comanche call the Ponca "Little Omaha"?), and that these songs were around in the 1800's (the wax cylinder dates), I would like to know when the Ponca and Omaha split apart, and why?

                Obviously, both groups have some claim to the origins of these songs (why would there be a disagreement if they didn't?), so I am left to wonder if the songs were created before they separated, leaving both answers to be correct. Is there even anyone left who can honestly answer these questions?

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                • #9
                  That was a poor choice of wording on my part with regards to my previous post and for that I am sorry but before you assume that I know "nothing" about something, get to know me first, lest you make the same mistake you are accusing me of. As for me being someone that I am not, I have never claimed to be anything other than the young, white male that I am who happens to love to sing Indian music with all his heart....
                  ------------------------
                  The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.

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                  • #10
                    It is my understanding that the Ponca were known as the "Big Omaha" and the current omaha wereknown as the the "Litle Omaha"
                    Pahonga means "first" or "big" or "head" and the poncas were the "Umaha Pahonga" which was shortened to Ponca. Even though these tribes are considered distinct, Many members of the same family are registered in one or the other tribes. I know people who are first cousins, and one will be registered in the Omaha tribe and the other in the Ponca.
                    Just my two cents worth.

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                    • #11
                      There are regular songs that were made and given to the Ponca so long ago (like over 100 years) that many Ponca or other tribes may not realize that they are not Ponca that it could be Souix or CHeyenne, etc. That does not take away from the reason for them or the joy people have in singing or dancing them.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by paraivo:
                        <STRONG>It is my understanding that the Ponca were known as the "Big Omaha" and the current omaha wereknown as the the "Litle Omaha".</STRONG>
                        Thank you for offering that clarification. Perhaps my ears were deceiving me when I heard the reverse. ;)

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