Sunday, November 24, 2013

Native American music for Thanksgiving

We are coming up on my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  This is the sole time when individual citizens are allowed to decide what the holiday is about.  What are you thankful for?  Whatever it is, there's no government functionary between you and your family.

But remember that this holiday came out of the neighborliness of the Native American nations, who were, well, neighborly to the strange newcomers who had splashed ashore at Cape Cod.  They acted as a generous people would act, and the annals of the first Thanksgiving recall that the natives of these shores brought five deer to the feast.  It's not recounted in the annals what out response was, but King Philips's War gives a suggestion that these peoples did not settle down to a "melting pot".

But the Nations were here, before Europeans arrived on these shores.  Their music is mostly lost in broader society, but some artists are trying to preserve it.  In 2008 I bought a CD at the Grand Canyon which had this song on it.  I suspect its authenticity, but it is a flavor of the music that might have been heard on these shores in 1619.

For anyone interested, Mom is an enrolled member of the Pottawatomie Nation.  I'm thinking of enrolling, if they'll have me.  It's quite odd thinking in terms that would have been familiar to the Third Reich, on precisely how much of the blood of your ancestors you have in your veins.  It's very odd indeed.


libertyman said...

You always bring a fascinating perspective to your musical posts (classes), always thought provoking from a number of ways.

What musical heritage did the indigenous peoples share or demonstrate to the Europeans? We have our Hollywood versions, but I wonder what the real traditions were?

Interesting comment on racial origins, and considering we abhor what the Nazis did 70 plus years ago, wasn't the U.S. government doing much the same a scant few years before that?

Years ago I visited the Grand Canyon on Columbus Day weekend, We stopped at one of the Indian roadside stands, and I was not about to bring up the nature of the holiday with the vendor. Irony, it seems, rears its head when you least expect it.

Anonymous said...

Latest scientific studies indicate that Native Americans share a lot of ancestral genes with Europeans, so they are distant cousins anyhow.
They are a mix of East Asian and European and not pure East Asian.