Teton Sioux Music and Culture

By Frances Densmore | Go to book overview

TETON SIOUX MUSIC

By FRANCES DENSMORE


INTRODUCTION

THE TETON SIOUX

A majority of the songs in this memoir were recorded among Indians belonging to the Teton division of the Dakota (Sioux) tribe, living on the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota. Songs were recorded also among the Sisseton and Wahpeton Sioux living at Sisseton, S. Dak.; 12 of these are included in this volume under the following numbers: 95, 96, 97, 189, 190, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240. Field work was begun in July, 1911, and continued until 1914, Mr. Robert P. Higheagle acting as principal interpreter at Standing Rock and revising the material collected at Sisseton, where a competent interpreter could not be secured. The words of the songs recorded at Standing Rock, with few exceptions, are in the Teton dialect, while those recorded among the Sisseton and Wahpeton Sioux are in the Santee dialect.

Before entering on a consideration of this material, the terms applied to the tribe and its various divisions will be briefly noted. "Dakota" is the word used by these Indians in speaking of themselves; this word means "leagued" or "allied" and is used also an adjective, meaning "friendly."1 The latter part of the word, meaning "friend," is pronounced kola by the Teton and koda by the Santee. The word "Sioux" was applied to the Dakota by Indians outside the tribe and by white men and has come to be the commonly accepted designation, even being extended to include cognate tribes known collectively as the "Siouan family." According to J. N. B. Hewitt the word "Sioux" is a French-Canadian abbreviation of the Chippewa diminutive form Nadowe-is-iw-ŭg (nadowe, 'an adder,' 'an enemy'; is, diminutive; iw-ŭg, 'they are'; hence, "they are the lesser enemies"). The Chippewa used this term to distinguish the Huron and Dakota from the Iroquois proper, whom they designated Nadowe′wok, 'the adders' or 'the enemies'.2 A similar interpretation is given by Warren, the native historian of the Chippewa tribe.3

____________________
1
Riggs, Stephen R., "Grammar and Dictionary of the Dakota Language", in Smithson. Contr., IV, pp. XV, 48, Washington, 1852.
2
See "Handbook of American Indians" ( Bull. 30, Bur. Amer. Ethn.), pt. 1, p. 376, 1907.
3
Warren, William W., "History of the Ojibways", in Coll. Minn. Hist. Soc., vol. 5, p. 72, 1885

-1-

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