Music and song have always played an important part in Native American life and history.
The Native Americans used songs as a form of prayer. Many of the Indian songs were created as a form of prayer for the spirits.
In the Native American culture the earth and all the elements were sacred. For example most people have heard of the ”rain dance”. This was actually a ceremony to pray for rain. The connection between the Native American and nature was seamless.
All living things have a spirit; this includes trees, the water, the sun and the sky. These spirits were taught about and glorified through song. In most cases an Indian song has a specific purpose such as the rain dance mentioned above.
A majority of Indian music and songs are a single melody. This melody is also usually only accompanied by a single instrument. Together they produce a powerful and stimulating song that can be remembered by the younger people in the tribe.
Perhaps the greatest use of Indian songs is to tell history. If it had no been for Indian songs a majority of the Native American history could have been lost through the generation.
Indian songs combined with ceremonies actually created what we call a play today. Important events in a person life and the history of the tribe were told to youngsters in this manner.
If you think about it Indian song, music and ceremonies were the precursor to the modern day television shows such as Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers. Perhaps we should take some advise from Native Americans and teach our children more often using music and song.
The next time that you are out buying music pick up a compact disk of American Indian Music. The singular melody will be sure to stir your soul and it might even lift your heart.
Joseph Paige © 2006