Native American Music and Dance

byEnetta Nelson Rose


"We are the Ancient People; . . . The red men, of the plain; For we are the Ancient People, Born with the wind and rain" (Proctor as stated in Music in the New World,1983: 3). The American Indians were the first people to immigrate to the United States. "There is no important scholarly disagreement with the theory that these people first came to North America from Asia, across a land bridge then connecting Siberia with Alaska, and over a period of time migrated throughout the two Americas" (Hamm, 1983: 3). Although most of the northern region was covered with ice, the Indians survived as well as built villages, cities, and develop methods for using the natural resources to aid their existence. Each tribe was both unique and different in their ways of life. Each group created unique and distinguishable cultures, languages, musical styles, art forms, clothing styles, social and political systems. Music and dance were essential to each tribe. For the reasons mentioned above, the seminar I am participating in is entitled, "Native America: Understanding the Past through Things". My curriculum unit will be entitled, "Native American Music and Dance".

Unit Rationale

The rationale for developing this curriculum unit is to cultivate an awareness of the American Indian cultures and examine their methods of self expressions through music. Another reason for developing this unit is to cultivate an appreciation and awareness of a forgotten people and culture of the first true Americans, in addition to, examining their contributions to the woven fabric of American arts and history. Moreover, students do not separate their learning into segregated compartments or subject areas. Therefore, it is crucial to the learning outcomes to innovatively correlate the arts with the academic subjects as much as possible in order to build on the wholeness of the students' perspective and their connections to the multicultural society in which they live. This unit of study is important to my students for many reasons. First, the Indians innovatively created many forms of dance rituals. Through the study of music and dance, it will enable my students to gain knowledge and lessons of sensitivity and self expression. Another reason for studying this unit is to examine the performance practices of music and dance forms. The study of the cultures will enable my students to develop beliefs or come to the realization that all people have similarities through music and dance as means of self expressions. The discourse of this unit will concentration on the following tribes: Creek Confederacy (Southeast culture) and both the Illinois Tribe and the Iroquois Confederacy from the Northeast culture. Within the Creek Confederacy, the studies will concentrate on the Choctaw and Coushatta cultures. In the Iroquois Confederacy or Nation, the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) as well as the Illinois cultures will be examined. The ceremonial music and dance genres will be surveyed. Through the examination of dance genres, rhythm, instruments, and rituals will be investigated. Through the analysis of the music, the structural organization, melodic characteristics, scale patterns, modes, and rhythm will be researched.

Pedagogical Strategies

The teaching strategies incorporated within the development of my curriculum unit will reflect the following principles for implementing the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills from the state's curriculum guidelines and Project CLEAR from The Houston Independent School District's curriculum guidelines in order to evoke critical thinking. These strategies are: meditative, generative, directive, and collaborative strategies (see pedagogical design in the appendix).

First, the meditative strategy will be implemented by encouraging my students to utilize research skills for investigating the background of each tribe. In other words, this strategy will be used in the analysis of the political structure of each tribe, ways of life, family structure, and other cultural trends. The meditative strategy will enable my students' enhancement through an investigation of epistemological developments or theoretical concepts with reference to its limits and validity in correlation to the society created within each tribe. In addition, the musical structure, performance practices, and dance will be explored.

Second, the generative strategy will be implemented by encouraging my students to develop insights into the lives and social structures of the Indians. In addition, my students will analyze distinctions between music styles, instruments, and the cultural traditions. The generative strategy will enable my students' enhancement through application of concepts, theories, and practical aesthetic interpretations with regard to the music. In other words, the generative strategy grows out of the meditative, and it will generate critical analysis and knowledge in the philosophical developments cultural issues.

Third, the directive strategy will be implemented by me, the instructor. I will utilize this strategy in introducing the unit and the explanations of background information such as tribal influences between various groups, philosophies, and vocabulary list, written exercises, and explanation of procedures for assignments and projects.

Fourth, the collaborative strategy will be implemented by assigning group projects and discussion groups. Through the implementation of the above strategies in the development of this unit, my students will gain personal enhancements in the tribal diversity, ceremonial rituals, and the contributions made in music and dance.

Upon the completion of this unit my students would have developed an aesthetic appreciation for cultural music and dance of various American Indian tribes. My students would have developed an understanding of structural organization of musical styles and dance genres. My students will be able to correlate distinctions between melodic development and rhythmic structures and other devices utilized to implement idiomatic cultural influences. It will enable my students to develop an understanding of the instruments and their role in ceremonial traditions. Moreover, my students will develop an appreciation for experiencing styles and forms of cultural traditions through music. My students would have learned that the Indian dance and music are reflections of social implications, spiritual, and the artful blend of diverse cultures (see Figure 4 in the appendix).

Finally, this unit will enable my students to develop an understanding and tolerance for racial diversity because, "Art is not an end in itself, but a means of addressing humanity" (Modest Mussorgsky as stated in Harper's Book of Quotations, 1993:48).

Demographic Profile

Dowling Middle School of Fine Arts is located in Houston Texas. The grades levels at Dowling are sixth through eighth. The physical address is 14000 Stancliff. It is an inner city Title I school located on the south side of Houston. Dowling Middle School is apart of the Houston Independent School. The administrative district for Dowling is the South District. The regional office is Region IV Educational Resource Center.

The enrollment of Dowling Middle School is eighteen hundred and eighty students. The student population is composed of the following classifications. The Regular Ed students total is 64%. Magnet, AP or PreAP, Gifted and Talented students total is 13%. Bilingual and ESL students total is 1%. The Career and Technology students total is 2% of the population. The Special Ed students total is 11%. The ethnicity distributions are African American, 47%; Asian, 1%; Hispanic, 51%; White American, 2%.

The faculty of Dowling Middle School is composed of approximately one hundred and ten teachers. Most have terminal bachelors' degrees, 27% have masters degrees, and 1% hold doctoral degrees.

At Dowling Middle School, I am a Magnet or Gifted and Talent Piano and Strings instructor. My student enrollment for 2005 to 2006 was one hundred and eight students. My class schedule consisted to two beginning piano classes (no previous background/limited experience), one intermediate piano (second year), advanced piano (third year), beginning strings and guitar (no previous background/limited experience), and general music (music appreciation). Each class meets on alternating days. To explain myself more plainly, all classes are setup using the ninety minutes block. The classes are classified as "A-Day" (indicating class periods one through four) and "B-Day" (indicating class periods five through eight). My students are placed in my program either by an interview (for students without previous experience) or by an audition (limited experience) during their fifth grade year the fifth grade. My students remain in my program for three years. In other words, at the time of the audition or the interview, a contract is signed by both the students and the parents acknowledging that they will remain in the piano or strings program for three years as well as meet the performance criterions.

In my piano lab, there are a total of twenty student model digital pianos and two instructor's model. I have seventeen Yamaha digital pianos (one year old) and three Roland digital pianos. The instructor's models are Yamaha and Kurt Weill. These pianos are maintained by assigning each student a specific piano as well as a student responsibility form. In addition, each of the students' piano are checked before each class period end to make sure that they are not damaged. Furthermore, in the Fall of 2006, I will add more technology equipment such as computers and recording equipment so that my students will be exposed to a mini recording/production studio. The expense of this equipment is funded by grants.

Unit Objectives

This unit study will include the following objectives from the Texas Essentials Knowledge and Skills in Social Studies and Music for grade 8 (Texas Education Agency Curriculum Codes). My students will examine geographical locations of the Native American tribes using maps. They will examine the similarities and differences within tribal cultures among the Creek Confederacy, Illinois, and the Iroquois Confederacy. They will investigate the relationships that existed between these tribes with regard to territorial boundaries, cultural regions, and cultural borrowing. Last, my students will examine the historical relationships that existed between the Northeastern and Southeastern, and the tribal performers. My students will analyze the ways in which societal issues impacted creative expression, and they will identify examples of both ceremonial music and dance. They will determine stylistic similarities and differences of tribal songs, instruments, and dance (refer to Project CLEAR objectives in the appendix).

The Project Clarifying Learning to Enhance Achievement Results (Project CLEAR) established by the Houston Independent School District's objectives are listed below and in the appendix. Students will develop a perspective on how music and dance forms from the past and present express and reflect traditions and cultural issues of any society within a given time and place. They will determine stylistic similarities and differences of tribal songs and dance (Musi. Ch. MS 2b. in the HISD objectives and correlation charts in the appendix).

Unit Background

"Like all people inhabiting the United States of America, the American Indians were the first immigrants to the land" (Hamm 3). Anthropologist and other researchers have found evidence to indicate that remains from this culture can be "dated twenty-seven thousand years old" (Hamm,1983: 4). These remains were located in the Yukon Territory. Through archeological excavations, the remains of the earliest Americans indicate that "these people resembled the modern Chinese or Japanese, or present-day Eskimo" (Hamm, 1983: 4). In studying these remains, present day scholars have made connections of these people to the Indians and some Hispanics of today.

Although the Native Americans had many different cultures and traditions, it is important to show how the correlations between music and dance are impacted or influenced through culture. The tribes discussed in this unit were classified and distinguished by culture areas. In other words, culture areas were geographic locations where various groups of Native Americans had in common or similar life styles and traditions which included music and dance. The cultural areas to be studied within this unit are classified as followed: Southeast and the Northeast. The cultural areas and their connections between each tribal groups will be discussed in another section of this unit.

Historical Background

I feel strongly that my student needs to know the background information of any unit that we are studying. In the previous units, the background information about culture and traditions has helped my students improve their performance of musical selections as well as improve their interpretation the composer's style. To me, developing an awareness of the ways sociocultural influences within a specific time span can give my students insightful information about musical form, characteristics of thematic developments, and other structural organization or composition techniques. For this unit, I think my students need to know the history of the Native American music in order to understand the development of their musical genre and the areas of differences with regard to other American folk music. Another reason the historical background of this unit should be studied is because the majority of my students' ancestral backgrounds can be linked to the other of the Indian cultures. In other words, 65% of my students are Hispanic. Therefore, this unit will have a personal interest to them although most are descended from indigenous of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Nonetheless, they do share indigenous heritage. The knowledge gained from this research will enable my students to understand the reasons why the Native American musical styles are both unique and different. Listed below is a brief historical background story for the Native American.

When the European explorers came to America, there were approximately a million Native American tribes living in America. The Indian territories stretched from Far North to the southern tip of South America. Because the lands were undeveloped, the Indians taught the settlers how to survive as well as make different types of clothing and grow crops such as, avocados, beans, squash, corn, peanuts, pineapples, cotton, and tobacco.

Many of the explorers and settlers followed trails made by the Indians. These trails led to water, turquoise, silver, gold, and other minerals. The Europeans and Indians learned from one another. African slaves added complexity to the experience, and runaway slaves sometimes sought haven with Indians. The European brought products that were different and new to the Indians. These products included guns, liquor, and metal equipment. The Europeans also introduced the Indians to horses and cattle. The Indians introduced the Europeans to "moccasins that were both waterproof and comfortable as well as the birchbark canoes" (Mann, 2005: 58).

The lifestyle between the Indians and the Europeans were very different. Many of the Europeans tried to live in harmony with the Indians. On the other hand, some Europeans took advantage of them by cheating them out of their land and treated them unfairly. When the Indians fought back, thousands were killed in battle because their weapons were no match for guns. Large numbers of Indians were killed by the diseases of the Europeans. Europeans introduced the Indians to smallpox, tuberculosis, and measles. Sometimes whole Indian villages were suddenly wiped out.

As more settlers came, some of the settlers decided to expand their settlements by moving west. This meant that more land would be taken from the Indians. The Indians retaliated through raids and wars. Consequently, the Indians were eventually moved to reservations throughout the United States.

Although they had lost their land, tribesmen, and family members, many of today's tribes are continuing their cultural traditions through intertribal events.

Tribal Social Systems

Just as we have various forms of government in society today, the American Indians had different forms of social systems and social organization. Many of the Native Americans live in groups and shared in making decisions. There are some groups that developed complicated social systems and social organization, especially, the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas of Peru. However, many tribes in North America did not devlop complicated systems. Listed below are the systems used by these tribes as they as generally understood by anthropologists today.

Many North American tribes were organized into a social organization that anthropologists call bands. Indian bands were formed by families. The band consisted of any number from twenty to three hundred people. The size of the geographic location determined the number of people in each band. In other words, the size was determined by the number of people that the area could support. For example, if the area was plentiful with game and land, the band would be large. If game or food was scarce, the band would be small.

Tribal organization is more complex than bands, as one might expect, tribes are larger than bands. The members of the tribe spoke the same language, held the same religious customs and beliefs, and lived in the same area. Within the tribe, there was a permanent leader called the chief. All decisions that affected the tribe were made by the tribal council. The tribal council members consisted of the elders. Some tribes had more than one chief. When there was more than one chief, each one had specific functions. One chief may rule during the times of peace. The other chief ruled during war time. In order to become chief, the man had to be a member of a certain family of clan. This stipulation was not used by all tribes.

Confederations are another system of political and social organization used by the Indians. In this system, groups of Indian tribes joined with other tribes to form larger groups. An example of this concept is the Iroquois nation which is composed of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, and Cayuga. Other confederations include the Creek, Cherokee, and Powhatan. The confederations to be discussed in this unit are listed in the next section.

Functions of Music with Dance in the Indian Culture

In all of the Native American cultures, the roles of music and dance are connected with ceremonial rituals. "Music is viewed as having god-given magical properties" (Hamm, 1983:13). The purposes of music and dance are "to invoke this magic in operation for the benefits of the person or persons making the music or other participants and onlookers" (Hamm, 1983:13). In other words, the primary function of music is to accompany ceremony or rituals such as, "dances, religious rites, tribal ceremonies and celebrations, healing rituals, games, or personal and private rites" (Hamm, 1983:12). The performance of music under these conditions or special occasions, were accompanied with costumes or ceremonial regalia. Other songs performed within rituals were exclusively for specific individuals. In ceremonial rituals of this type, the songs performed by medicine men.

Native American Culture Areas

The culture areas of the Native Americans referred to the "geographical region where the different Indian tribes had similar ways of life" (Waldman, 1999: 281). Culture areas are used to determine and differentiate the various tribal societies. In other words, culture areas refer to the territorial lands owned by a particular tribe. This section of the unit will classify the culture areas with regard to their musical and dance heritages.

Southeast Culture Area

The Southeast culture area tribes that will be studied include the Alabama, Choctaw, and Coushatta. The territories for this group of Indians ranged from the Eastern Woodlands south to the Gulf Coast and from the East coast west to the Mississippi River.

The Alabama Tribe

The Alabama tribe's ancestry and culture was similar to the Creek and Choctaw. The language spoken was the Muskogean dialect. "They were allies to the Creek in what is called the Creek Confederacy" (Waldman, 1999:6). This tribe lived near the upper Alabama River. During the eighteenth century, the Alabama tribe became allies to the French. Mobile was founded on Mobile Bay in 1710. Later Fort Toulouse was established within the Alabama. In 1763, France lost the Fort Toulouse to the British. This event occurred after the French and Indian War. As a result, many of the Alabama tribesmen left their homeland. Some of the tribe united with the Seminole tribe in Florida. Still others relocated to "the north of New Orleans on the banks of the Mississippi River" (Waldman, 1999: 6). Later this group resettled in the western Louisiana region. Later, the majority of this band relocated in Texas. Today, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe has continued their tribal traditions on the reservation located in Polk County, Texas.

The Coushatta Tribe

The Coushatta tribe lived in Alabama near the Coosa and the Tallapoosa Rivers join to form the Alabama River. The cultural attributes are related to the Creek and the Alabama tribes. These tribes belong to the Creek Confederacy. All three of these tribes are classified as apart of the Southeast Culture Area. Contacts began with the Spanish explorer, Hernandez de Soto's expedition traveled this region from 1539 to 1543. After the expedition of René-Robert Cavelier de la Salle in 1682, the region of the Alabama River became a French settlement. The French expedition "founded the settlement of Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico in 1710" (Waldman, 1999: 72). More importantly, the French established themselves as allies and trading partners with the tribes residing in the area. In 1763, the French lost their settlement in the French and Indian War against the British. As a result, the Coushatta was divided and relocated to other regions. Some of the tribesman relocated to Louisiana while others united with the Seminole in Florida. Some of the bands moved to Texas.

The bands remaining in Alabama united with the Creek. During the Trail of Tears in the 1830s, they traveled on foot, pushed out of their homelands, to the Indian Territory known as Oklahoma. Today, many of the descendants

the Creeks are living in Oklahoma as part of the Alabama Quassarte Tribe. The descendants of the Coushatta who relocated to Louisiana, reside near Kinder. This is a non-reservation community. The bands residing in Texas are living on a reservation in Polk County. These bands are known as the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.

The Creek Tribe

"The Native Americans, known as the Creek, received their tribal name from the early English traders because they built most of their villages on woodland rivers and creeks" (Waldman, 1999: 75). The Creek tribe consisted of several bands. Each band had different names. Most of the Creek bands resided in villages "along the banks of the Alabama, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Flint, Ocmulgee, and Chattahoochee rivers" (Waldman, 1999: 75). Their tribal regions were "Alabama, Georgia, in addition to, parts of northern Florida, eastern Louisiana, and southern Tennessee" (Waldman, 1999: 75). The Creeks were divided into two bands. They are the Upper Creeks and the Lower Creeks.

The Creeks were very powerful. Their language was derived from Muskogean family. The Muskogean tribal families includes the Alabama, Coushatta, Chichasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole. The Alabama, Coushatta, and other Muskogean bands joined together to form the Creek Confederacy.

Tribal Ceremonial Rituals

The tribes of the Creek Confederacy belonged to the Southeast Culture Area. The tribes of this culture area have similar attributes or characteristics in ceremonial rituals. Many of the tribes' ceremonial rituals are performed with specific instruments categorized as aerophones, idiophones, or membraphones. These instruments have specific functions that are parallel to the instruments of the West African culture. The aerophone instruments are classified as non-western wind instrument such as the cane flute. In other words, the aerophones are wind instruments existing in cultures that are not from Europe. Another group of instruments used in ceremonial rituals are the membraphones. Membraphones are classified as instruments made using a combination of stretched animal skins and some other materials. Examples of these instruments include "drums using animal skins as heads" (Hamm, 1983:10). Other tribal instruments used in ceremonial rituals are categorized as idiophones. Idiophones are instruments that produced sounds but may be made from wood or metal. Examples of this type of instruments are the striking sticks (sometimes called the claves and used by the Mississippi and Louisiana Choctaws), drums, bells or rattles (today, the gourd rattles are obsolete).

In addition to this, ceremonial rituals are accompanied by special music. The most significant ceremonial ritual was the Green Corn Ceremony which always performed at the end of summer after the last corn crop had ripened. This ceremony usually continued for several days.

One of the traditions practiced during this time were the specific preparations made before the performances. For example, for the Green Corn Ceremony, the men of the tribe would complete all of the maintenance work for the buildings. The women of the tribe would do chores similar to that of spring cleaning. In addition to this, the upper class officials such chief, elders, and others would give up eating for a specified time period. The fasting was broken when they participated in the feast and started the ceremonial fire. Afterwards, the Green Corn Dance would be performed.

Other performance practices will be discussed through a comparison of dance genres in this unit.

The Choctaw Tribe

"The Choctaws are one of the largest southeastern tribe in America" (Howard and

Lindsay, 1990:xxi). The tribe was originally located in Mississippi near Noxapater. "According to tribal legends, they originated from Nanih Waiya which is translated to mean the Mother Mound" (Waldman, 1999:64). This tribe occupied the largest region or territory of the New World. During the time of the early European settlement, the Choctaws resided in the region from southern and central Mississippi to territory in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana. Today, this tribe lives near Durant, Oklahoma.

Tribal Musical Traditions

The Choctaws had many different tribal traditions that included music. Among these traditions were song writing competitions. The competitions would include tribesman from more than one village. In other words, the song competitions would be presented as a song festival. The titles and lyrics of these songs would have a variety of texts and subjects such as songs about animals or people. One example is a song and dance entitled, "Stealing Partners Dance". During the performance of both the song and dance, the men and women have specific roles while singing and dancing.

The Choctaw dance songs repertoire is passed down to the next generation through oral traditions. During the performance, "sometimes improvisation techniques used will not change the continuity of fixed musical materials" (Howard and Levine, 1990:67). In other words, the titles and lyrics will not change. Only musical embellishments are used in the melodies. These techniques occur frequently in the dance songs repertoire.

The Choctaws' musical heritage is divided into two groups. The groups are classified as the Oklahoma Choctaws and the Mississippi Choctaws. After analyzing some of the transcribed musical scores, one of the traditions of the most of the music was performed using a call-response pattern or form. In other words, the soloist or leader will sing a phrase followed by the group. This performance sequence is continued throughout the duration of the song. Listed below is an example of this form using a rhythm pattern.


Example 1. Call-Response Pattern

In other words, another way to describe the above performance sequence is "a musical question" and "answer" pattern. In my research, the song leader is always a male singer.

Although women participate in both dances and songs, there are some songs sung exclusively by the men. The responses in most of the songs include only men. Examples of these styles are the War Dance, Double Header, and the Jump or Stomp Dance. The females participating with the group do not sing the responses. However, they are participating as dancers only. Although the music is sung, the stylistic characteristic is antiphonal singing and chants.

The formal organization of many of the songs form this tribe is in a strophic form. In other words, in this form the all verses or stanzas are performed using the same repeated melody without any variations. An example is listed below using a chart.

Melodic Pattern: A | A | A | A | A1 | A

Chant: Verse 1 | Chorus | Verse 1 | Chorus | Verse 2 | Chorus

Example 2. Strophic Form

The titles of dance-songs using this form are Stealing Partners Dance performed by the Mississippi Choctaws. In this version, the meter signature continuously change from 5/4 to 4/4 by the leader in first chant. In the Stealing Partners Dance performed by the Oklahoma Choctaws, the meter signature does not change until the second chant begins. Other songs performed in this style include Hard Fish Dance (Chickasaw), Drum Dance (Oklahoma), and the Double Header Dance (Mississippi and Oklahoma).

The musical style of the dance songs melodic structure consist of an anhemitonic scale. In other words, the melody rarely uses half steps. This scale will include four to six tones each. The songs' rhythm is in repetitive pattern with frequent meter signature changes. Listed below is an example of this concept using pitch names with rhythm.


Example 3. Anhemitonic Scale

Example of the dance song melodies employing this technique are the Jump Dance, Drunk Dance, and the War Dance.


Example 4. Anhemitonic Scale on Piano Keyboard

Performance Practices

Although there are many differences between each tribe, many of these tribes share similarities with regard to their musical practices. For example, all of the tribes used drums as one of their most significant accompaniment instruments. Another similar characteristic of all tribes were singing, dancing and sometimes games. Singing and dancing were always performed together. More importantly, music and dancing were an important part of most ceremonial rituals. The information I have found by researching this topic, indicates that in some tribes there were similarities in instruments, such as, flutes, rattles (now obsolete), drums, bells, whistles, and dance genres. In some tribes, sleigh bells or hawk bells are used by the male dancers to place accents on the dance movements. Some tribes such as the Mississippi Choctaws use a non-traditional instrument known as the claves (this word means key in Spanish) or striking sticks. This instrument was used "to provide the accompaniment to certain songs" (Howard and Levine, 1990:20). Examples of the songs using this method are Double Header, Drunken-man, and the Stomp. All of the previously mentioned songs are performed by the Mississippi Choctaw.

One example of this is a set of dances known as the "house dances, the Choctaw version of the French quadrille or the Anglo-American square dance" (Howard and Levine, 1990:18). Within this dance music, the changes for the maneuver sets are implemented by "whooped weeeheea" (Howard and Levine, 1990:18). Based on my research findings, there is no accompaniment during the performance of this dance. The only music made is the singing or calls of the leader.

Another performance practice used by this tribe is that before the dancers enter the dance floor, they march in a procession to the area by the beating of a snare drum. The same method is used for exiting the performance area. This method is predominantly used by the Mississippi Choctaws.

Survey of Dance Genres

The majority of the dances performed by this tribe have a musical tempo of moderato or andante. In other words, both of these terms indicate a medium tempo. The song that is performed to an allegro or fast tempo is the War Dance (known as the Tibuli Hila by the Choctaw).

In the Jump or Stomp Dance which is known as "Opanka haco by both Creek or Seminole tribes and the Cherokees as Dilsti" (Howard and Levine, 1990:38), the dance starts with double lines consisting of both men and women. The men are positioned "on the outside and the women on the inside" (Howard and Levine,1990:38). The participants maneuver consist of "a counterclockwise circular progressions employing a trotting step while singing in antiphonal style phrases" (Howard and Levine, 1990:38). In this dance-song sequence, the singing is performed only by the men and boys. The women only dance.

In the Double Header song-dance sequence, the participants start by forming an "alternating combination men and women with arms linked in a single file line. When the music starts, the dancers walk in a counterclockwise progression. On a musical cue, the dancers turn and began jumping on the left foot then on the right" (Howard and Levine, 1990:42). The pattern continues for a specific number of repetitions have been performed. After this the direction is changed and the sequence is repeated through the duration of dance.

The Tick or Walk Dance is performed as a processional or march. The purpose of this song-dance sequence is to display the dance costumes. This dance is "very solemn and dignified" (Howard and Levine, 1990:43). In the procession, the men are arranged "in front of the single file line followed by the women" Howard and Levine, 1990:43). The

Tick or Walk Dance is performed by both Oklahoma and Mississippi Choctaws.

Survey of Music Genres

In reviewing the musical literature for the tribes of the Creek Confederacy, the functions of music were used for social, ceremonial, or for games. Most dances were accompanied by songs classified as entertainment or social music. An example of a song that has been classified as an entertainment song is the Stickball song. This concept also is applied to music used in games. The ceremonial songs are classified as religious. Examples of songs classified as religious are the Green Corn and the Wedding Dance. An example of a ceremonial ritual is the War Dance, also known, as the Drum Dance.

Northeast Culture Area

The Northeast culture area Indians included the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy or Nations. The tribal territory extends from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Coast, including the Great Lakes region. The tribes of this culture area speak the Macro-Algonquian Phylum and the Macro-Siouan Phylum dialects.

The Iroquois Nations

The Iroquois League is composed of "Six Nations: Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. When speaking of themselves collectively,the Iroquois call themselves Haudenosaunee, after translation, mean people of the longhouse" (Waldman, 1999:103).

The founders or organizers of the Iroquois Nations were Deganawida, known as both the Peacemaker and a prophet of the Huron Tribe, and Hiawatha, a Mohawk medicine man, "who paddled through the Haudenosaunee territory preaching the message of unity and carrying his wampum belt that symbolized the Great Law of Peace" (Waldman, 1999:104).

The tribes that will be studied are Haudenosaunee and Illinois .

The Haudenosaunee Tribe

"Archaeologist theories revealed that the homeland sites for the Haudenosaunee Tribe are located in the upper New York and the Lake Ontario region of Canada from the St. Lawrence to the north; or from the west of the Mississippi River; or from the south" (Waldman, 1999:104). The Haudenosaunee built their villages in forest areas near bodies of water, such as, the banks of lakes or rivers. Their villages were "surrounded by walls made from sharpened poles stuck upright in the ground" (Waldman, 1999:104). Their houses were constructed from elm bark. Each of the houses was home for more than one family. The houses were referred to as longhouses which symbolized the confederacy.

The Illinois Tribe

The Illinois tribe is apart of the Northeast Culture area and speak a dialect that belong to the Algonquian language family known as the Macro-Algonquian Phylum language. Their tribal territory extended from the Mississippi River banks to the Atlantic Ocean coastlands. The boundaries of the Illinois began at "the western areas of the above region to the southern areas of the Great Lakes and to the east of the Mississippi River" (Waldman, 1999:96). The Illinois Confederacy included bands of the following tribes: Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Metchigamea (Michigamea), Moingwena, Peoria, and Tamaroa. Their villages were always located in the woodlands near bodies of water. This tribe was important to the French settlers because " they had control of apart of the Mississippi River and the trading lane to Louisiana" (Waldman, 1999:97).

During the 1700s, "the Illinois were defeated by an alliance of other tribes. They were enemies of the Great Lakes Algonquians as well as the Sioux, which included, the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota" (Waldman, 1999:97). The Illinois tribe was an ally of the French. In addition, they fought with the French against the British in the French and Indian wars from 1689 to 1763.

During 1769, a member of this tribe killed Pontiac, the Ottawa chief. In addition to the murder of Pontiac, many of the Native American tribes resented the Illinois tribe because they supported the Americans in the American Revolution. As a result, many of the Indian tribes united to defeat them. These tribes included the Potawaromi, Sac, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Ottawa, and the Chippewa (Ojibway). When this conflict ended, there was only one hundred and fifty (150) members of this tribe left. These tribesmen united with

" the French settlers at Kaskaskia, where the Kaskaskia River meets the Mississippi River in Illinois" (Waldman, 1999: 97).

Tribal Musical Traditions

The musical traditions for the Iroquois Nation are performed for religious rituals, medicine rites, and social dances. The performance sequence is depended upon the occasion. The songs always accompany dances and the improvised patterns are determined by choreographies. The tribal song-dance style descriptions are common among all the bands.

Performance Practices

There are four religious rituals included song-dance cycles. The function of these song-dances is to thank the Creator for everything. The performances of these songs are in antiphonal style. The only instrument used in the performance of religious rituals is the turtle rattles. One example of a religious ritual performed is the Green Corn Dance.

Another example of a religious ritual is the Great Feather Dance. During this performance, there are two introductory chants accompanied by the rattles. The tempo is determined by the person playing the rattles.

In the religious song-dance cycle, there are thirty-two dance-songs. There are changes or fluctuations in tempo for each. When the singing starts, the tempo changes to "a fast iambic beat; on repetition a slow even beat and again the fast beat, always opening and concluding with the antiphonal call" (Kurath, 2000:4).

The musical form used in strophic. The musical texture is monophonic. Based on my research, the melody is always in unison. For example, "two or more notes are never sounded together in a planned, systematic way" (Hamm, 1983:8). Music and dance does not exit except for the occasions for which it is performed. The melodies of tribal music of the Northeast always use "a limited number of notes that are repetitious" (Hamm, 1983:12).

Survey of Dance Genres

The dances of the Northeast culture area tribes are characterized by both the functions and the occasions for which they are to be performed. The dance cycles that addressed religious rituals are always performed in a specific order. For example, at the Coldspring Midwinter Festival, the dance cycle will include the "Green Corn Dance on the first day; the Planting and Strawberry Dance on every morning of the meeting; and the Great Feather Dance performed twice: once on the third day and twice on the sixth day" (Kurath, 2000; 4).

The social dances include the Stomp Dance or Trotting Dance. This dance is performed as a ceremonial ritual to the food god. The occasions associated with these dances are at the "Maple Planting, Green Bean, and Harvest Festivals" (Kurath, 2000: 19). Other dances are classified as person rites or shamanistic cures for illness. These dances are performed by the medicine men or shamans.

The formal organization of the dances are usually in A A B A B or A A A1 A A1 forms. These dances are in classified as duple meter meaning that meter signature is 2/4. During the performances, there are "alternating accented duple beat throughout, accelerating during each song" (Kurath, 2000: 17).

Analysis Musical Structure and Organization

All melodies of the Northeast tribes are repetitious with simple rhythm patterns. "The range of the scale of the melodic progressions "varies from a third to twelve notes" (Kurath, 2000: 32). The scales of the songs are classified as anhemitonic, monotone, secundal, or tertial. The melodic contours consist of the intervallic progressions of seconds and thirds that are built on a anhemitonic scale. The monotone tonal center is defined as a sustained note that is chanted as well as performed in an antiphonal style. The secundal is a scale built on the keynote and an adjacent note of a scale. In other words, the intervallic relationship of the scale tones are a second. This means that the other notes may lie a step higher or lower than the keynote. The tertial is a scale built on notes that are an interval of a third apart. Examples of songs built using the above scales are: the Feather Dance, Pigeon Dance, Duck Dance, Changing a Rib Dance, and Shaking the Bush Dance.

The musical form of most of the songs are organized as "A, B, a, b" (Kurath, 2000: 29). However, in the Garters Dance, the musical form is ternary. This means the structural organization is A B A form. More importantly, the some of the songs always start and end on the same note. An example of the implementation of this concept is the Feather Dance and the Yeidos Round Dance.

The rhythmic structures are composed of even tempo that can be described using the musical term, tranquillo. In most of the musical scores, the notations within the rhythm pattern are combinations of quarter and eighth notes. Examples of songs implementing the above rhythm pattern are classified as the "animal rites, and women rites songs" (Kurath, 2000: 37). There are songs in the repertoire, of which, the rhythm patterns are composed of dotted rhythms, triplets, and syncopation. These songs are False Face, Fishing, Snow, Changing a Rib, Moccasin Dance and Devil Dance.

Through analysis of the musical scores, the metronome markings for the songs mentioned above can be described using the following tempo terms. The musical term, vivace, means very fast. The metronome marking to classify this term is a quarter note (q) speed is equivalent to at least 152. The musical term, allegro, means fast. The metronome marking to classify this term is a quarter note's speed is equivalent to at least 112. The terms, moderato or andantino, refer to a metronome marking at least a ninety-five. The terms, adagio or lento, refer to a marking of at least an 80. The very slow tempo terms are

lento and grave. These terms refer metronome markings of at least 65.


The musical traditions of the North American Indian nations are preserved through oral traditions. In other words, the songs and dances have been passed from one generation to the next by anyone that remembers them. All songs and dance combinations are associated with activities such as religious rituals, ceremonial, celebrations, or social rites. The tribal musical traditions of the Native Americans cultures in the United States, after listening, may not seem to have any distinguishable differences. After listening discriminately, the listener is able to detect the distinguishable differences. The differences are featured through forms, textures, instrumental accompaniment, melodic patterns, chants, styles, and rhythm patterns. Although most of the songs and dances are monophonic in texture, most are accompanied by drums, rattles (the Iroquois), bells, or flutes. The musical characteristics of the performances are classified as antiphonal style.

" This style resembles the African slaves call and response" (Kerman and Tomlinson, 2000: 382).

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan I: "Understanding and Thinking About Culture Heritages"

Objective: To analyze the functions of traditions with regard to its influences on cultural heritages.

Notes to the teacher: This is an introductory lesson for this curriculum unit. The length of time for the segment is one class period at ninety minutes. The pedagogical strategy implemented for this segment is the directive and the meditative strategies (refer to the pedagogy strategies section and Figures 2 and 3 in the Appendix). In addition, refer to the power point section in the Appendix.

Materials Needed: KWL Chart, Venn diagram, drawing paper (11 x 17), pens, pencils, paper, reference, materials, books, maps, transparencies or a multimedia projector, power point presentation disc, internet access and computer.


My lesson will began by introducing the unit, lesson, and lesson sequence titles using a power point presentation (refer to appendix). In the first activity, my students will complete a KWL Chart to write as well as reflect on their prior knowledge for the vocabulary terms: culture, heritage, customs, and traditions. Next, I will explain the definitions for the terms in the vocabulary list and give examples. Afterwards, my students will be divided into pairs. Each pair will complete a Venn Diagram. The information used in the Venn Diagram will be used to make a comparison of the family traditions and customs (in celebrating birthdays, holidays, etc.) for each person in the class. This information will be shared by each student in the class by using the "round robin" format.

The third activity will include creating a "My Heritage Storybook". Each student is given a sheet of drawing paper. The paper is folder into three equal parts. On the cover, each of my students will label or write the above title as well as add their name in the middle of the front cover. Near the bottom, the students will draw a map of the state in which they were born. Next, on the inside cover of the first section, my students will label the top by writing the word, traditions. On the second section, my students will label this section by writing the word, customs. On the third section, my students will write the word culture. On the back of the third section, my students will write the word heritage. Under each section, each student will write a brief paragraph about their family's traditions, customs, culture, and heritage. This assignment will be subjectively evaluated by me.

For the remainder of the class period, my class will go to the school's library. Using the Native American outline, the students will use the reference books, internet, and computers to research the history of the Native Americans.

Lesson Plan II: "Native American Culture Areas"

Music Objective: To develop a perspective on how music and dance from the past and present reflect political, cultural issues, and traditions within a given time period.

Notes to the teacher: This part of the unit will implement both the meditative, collaborative, and generative strategies.

Materials needed: Transparencies of Culture Areas, overhead projector, CD player, and music CDs, students research papers, computers, digital pianos, Sibelius software program, Slowgold software, printer, and CD-RW computer discs.


This lesson will began with me giving an explanation of various Native Americans culture areas using the maps on the transparencies. For the next activity, I will explain the tribes related to each culture area as well as the location of their territories. My students will use their reference materials and research information to discuss the events and background information about each tribe.

For the next activity, my students will draw maps to illustrate or show how each culture area is different with regards to lifestles. Next, the students will listen to examples of Indian songs. They will compare instruments, rhythm, melody, tempo, and texture for each song. My students will construct charts to illustrate their comparisons. Last, my students will analyze the effects of the differing tribal practices in maintaining their traditions and customs as well as their contributions to American folk music genres. My students will compare their information using a collaborative group discussion. Using the information learned through the musical analysis, my students will compose a folk song using one of the following scales: anhemitonic, tertial, or secundal. In addition, the meter signature will be in 2/4, 4/4, or 6/8 meters. The musical form will be A B or A B A. The length of the song will be a total of twelve measures. More importantly, my students will use both the Sibelius and Slowgold software programs, in addition to the multi-tracking and rhythm generator on the digital pianos. Evaluations will be made by me in the form of a critiques.

Lesson Plan III: "Field Study Project I"

Music Objective: To utilize research techniques in a field study project.

Notes to the teacher: The part of the lesson will be conducted on the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation in Polk County, Texas ( refer to Figure 4 in the Appendix and the field study project design).

Materials needed: Bus and Field Trip Permission Forms


This activity will take place on the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. My students will tour the reservation, museum, and view the performances of songs and dances. Afterwards, my students will interview the performers as well as the elders of the tribe in order to compare the first-hand information with the historical records. Last, they will evaluate their findings and record this information in their journals.

Lesson Plan IV: "Field Study Project II"

Music Objective: To utilize research techniques in a field study project.

Notes to the teacher: The part of the lesson will be conducted on the Coushatta Indian Reservation in Kinder, Louisiana.

Materials needed: Bus and Field Trip Permission Forms


This activity will take place on the Coushatta Indian Reservation. My students will tour the reservation, museum, and view the performances of songs and dances. Afterwards, my students will interview the performers as well as the elders of the tribe in order to compare the first-hand information with the historical records. Last, they will evaluate their findings and record this information in their journals.

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