American Indian poetry by Helen Addison Howard

By Helen Addison Howard

The fashion of Indian poetry --
Alice Cunningham Fletcher --
Frances Densmore --
Mary Hunter Austin --
Natalie Curtis (Burlin) --
Alice Corbin Henderson --
Constance Lindsay Skinner --
Lew Sarett --
Eda Lou Walton.

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Sample text

She was appointed special agent to the Omaha tribe in April, 1883, to secure allotments in severalty, and she completed the work in June the following year. Her contacts with the Omaha resulted in the 1884 publication of The Wawan or Pipe Dances of the Omahas as the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Annual Reports of the Peabody Museum. No songs in this pamphlet were translated. She then commenced an extended study of Indian music and songs, in which she was ably assisted by the Omaha Indian ethnologist Francis La Flesche, a head chief's son, whose grandfather was a French trader.

When Densmore visited these Indians at the White Earth Reservation again in 1907, she heard songs of the Midewiwin (Grand Medicine Society) at Leech Lake Reservation. Financed by the Bureau of American Ethnology, she began recording music and songs with a phonograph at the Chippewa agencies at Onigum and at White Earth. After that experience she made repeated trips during her vacation periods to visit this nation at various reservations to continue collecting and preserving a large body of their songs and music.

Witz, from tawitz'sa, to reach or arrive. pari, traveling. These five words tell of a religious rite performed by the leader. The first two refer to his going to a solitary place to fast and pray, seeking help and favor from the powers above; the last three describe his voice, bearing his petition, traveling on and on, striving to reach the abode of Tira'wa [the Great Spirit]. hiril harken! a call for reverent attention. ti'ruta, special or assigned places, referring to the places where the lesser powers dwell, these having been assigned by Tira'wa atius, the father of all.

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