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Hidatsa Flag Song

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  • Hidatsa Flag Song

    Yes, I have the words.
    Now all I have to do is remember where I put them.
    Will post them soon.

  • #2
    Hidatsa Flag Song

    Any one out there have the words to the Hidatsa or Mandan flag song?



    • #3
      The Hidatsa Flag Song was originally made by two Sa'nish (Arikara) soldiers in WWII. Nick Fox and Davis Painte. When they returned home in 1946, the Nishu Singers put the words to the song. Ralph Wells Sr. translated these words in to Hidatsa.
      Awa hido ma-da wadaga-biha
      aha ihsa-gihda itsi-awa
      ma-iha ida awagua
      The land here, our flag by itself is strong. Enemy land it waves.
      awa = land hido = here mada wadaga biha aha = our flag ihsa gihda = by itself or alone itsiawa = strong maiha = enemy
      ida awagua = his land nakah bara guts = waving


      • #4
        I should give you the original Sanish (Arikara) words for the Flag Song:

        E: natara:kanu ehe:u na:wi:nsa:wi'u
        our Friends the flag
        nu:we:na:nu:haku pa:tu
        waving over there the enemy
        where it is waving over their land


        • #5
          Thanks for the words to the Flag songs. I was starting to think they were lost.


          • #6
            the flag song you are talking about was made by my two great grandfathers, Nickolas (Fox) Knight and Davis Painte from the Fort Berthold reservation in ND. The song was given to Nick in a dream while he was stationed in the Black Forest of Germany during World War II. Nickolas had dreamt of the song while he was taking cover in his foxhole during the night. He came back to the U.S. and told his brother-in-law (Nick & Davis had married each other's sisters) about the dream and asked what it meant. Davis interpreted the dream and added the Arikara words (Sahnish) to the melody. This was later translated into Hidatsa by the late Ruby Fox Parshall who was Hidatsa. This past summer during the Arikara celebration in White Shield,ND our family held a giveway and memorial singing contest in their honor. we did this because we were humbled that so many people in Indian country now know this song. we wanted to honor our grandfathers memories and to explain how this song has come about. there have been many different versions of this story so we wanted to set the record straight before the origin of the Arikara & Hidatsa flag song was lost.
            The translation depends on who interprets the Arikara words since one word can express so much more than in English. L. Garcia's version is very close, although in Arikara it conveys a somewhat deeper meaning. One of the last fluent Arikara speakers & respected elder, Ella Waters gave another similar version than the one that she gave to Douglas Parks of Indiana Univ. "The whole community, relatives, friends, everyone, the flag that is ours, it's waving, it's waving over enemy land."

            Now days there are many drum groups who sing this song but without the words. however, the drum groups of fort berthold either sing it in Arikara or Hidatsa depending on their tribal background or the community they come from. While the Hidatsa version is more commonly heard on the pow wow circuit, the original Arikara version is now being sung by many of the younger "Ree" boys. for awhile it was in danger of being lost since only the older Arikara men from Old Scouts or Dead Grass drum sang the Arikara words. the old Arikara version is now being revitalized by up and coming group - Yellow Face or where ever my uncle Clair Fox & other Ree relatives get together to sing.

            I want to thank all of the drum groups that came to White Shield this summer. We were honored by your presence. It was very hard to select one winner since there were some really good drum groups there. However, we finally chose Southern Thunder from OK. They were jammin! Na wah!


            • #7
              wow, that's a great story. thanks for sharing that with everyone! it's always important to make sure everyone knows the true origins of songs/ stories so we can all get the real meaining out of them.



              • #8
                I just spoke to Laidman Fox.
                He is one of the old Scout Singers, but lives here at Ft. Totten.
                He says that his uncle Ernest Fox is the one who put the Sa'nish words to the melody.
                He says it is okay the way I and Goodboy wrote it. It doesn't matter, they are all gone. He says that the outside world keeps calling the melody the Hidatsa Flag Song. It is the Arikara Flag song. The Hidatsa just translated the words to their language.
                He says he has noticed that the Minnesota Ojibway drums use our song but don't use any words. He wants them to translate the Arikara words in Ojibway. Just singing the tune over and over doesn't sit right with the original Sa'nish (Arikara)people.


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