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Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

[ká:ˀke:taˀ] (Seneca: ‘whistle’)

Vertical whistle of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation people of north-eastern North America. It is made of cane, about 45 cm long with an external duct, like the courting flute, but no fingerholes. Only two notes are produced, the fundamental and its overblown octave. It is used only during the ceremony of the Little Water Medicine Society and in the Eagle Dance, a curing ritual....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[kana’tsio:wi] (Seneca: ‘covered keg’ or ‘bucket’)

Water drum of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy peoples of northeastern North America. It is called gana’atso [gä no jo’ o] in Cayugan. The drum is a small wooden vessel covered with a soft-tanned hide which is held taut by a cloth-wound wooden hoop. Water is kept in it at all times and before being played it is inverted to soak the skin, which is then tightened until a characteristic high ‘pinging’ tone is heard when it is tapped lightly with a wooden beater. The body can be carved from a solid block of wood, in which case a binding ring is wrapped around it to prevent it from splitting, or it can be made from a staved wooden nail keg. The drums are usually 13 to 15 cm in diameter and 11 to 13 cm deep. A bung hole about halfway up the side allows water to be added without removing the head; if allowed to dry, solid-bodied drums tend to split and staved drums loosen and could collapse. The drumstick (...

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Kaibab  

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Kainah  

Article

Beverley Diamond

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[kalluraq, kalluak, kaylukuk, kotlookuk]

Ceremonial box drum associated with the Messenger Feast of the Iñupiaq-speaking people of Alaska. It is a rectangular wooden case (usually made of poplar), 45 to 90 cm tall by 18 to 30 cm long and wide. A fur-padded rail, attached along one side with a strip of black whale baleen, is struck with a thick, short stick while the drum is suspended from the ceiling of the ceremonial house. The drum is played by a seated drummer (usually male) wearing the tuutlik, a loon-skin headdress. A soundhole can be cut in the bottom of the drum and a handhold attached to one side. The drum is decorated with a zigzag pattern on the top edge and with eagle feathers. In the native cosmology that explains the origin of the feast, the drum is said to represent an eagle’s heartbeat.

The Tlingit people call the box drum lákt gaaw. Such instruments are often decorated in red and black stylized raven patterns....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[ka:nóˀskä:ˀ]

Rasp, or scraper, of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation peoples of northeastern North America. It is called gaksaga:nye (‘chipmunk sticks’) in Cayugan. It is a pair of flat hickory sticks, each about 30 to 35 cm long, 1 to 3 cm wide, and 2 cm thick. One stick is notched along two-thirds of its length and the other is smooth with slightly rounded edges. The notched stick is held at its unnotched end while the notched end rests on the player’s left leg. The smooth stick, held in the right hand, is scraped up and down over the notches. The sticks produce a rasping sound in the same rhythm as the water drum ka’nohko’wah that leads the singing.

Rasping sticks are used only at wakes, held in people’s homes, and even here their use is quite rare, with preference given to the drum. The sticks are either buried with the person for whom the wake is held or are broken and burned with the drum-beater used during the singing....

Article

John-Carlos Perea

(b Tama, IA, May 13, 1933; d Ames, IA, Aug 16, 2006). Native American (Meskwaki) singer, drummer, and flute player. Kapayou was born on the Meskwaki Indian Settlement in Tama, Iowa, where his mother Lucille, a flute player, taught him sacred and secular repertoires of Meskwaki music. While serving in the Army and working in construction, Kapayou retained his commitment to these traditions. He received a National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA in ...

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Karok  

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[ká’nowa’, gasdöwøe’ sä]

Generic term for vessel rattles of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy peoples of northeastern North America. Haudenosaunee vessel rattles are made from horn, bark, gourd, tin, and coconuts, as well as snapping, box, and painted turtles.

The most important rattle is the kanyáhte’ [kánˀo:waỉ] (‘great turtle rattle’) made from the shell, head, and neck of the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentine). It is called ganya:hde gano:wa or ganya:hde gasdawedra in Cayugan. Its construction is a skilled and lengthy process: the legs, tail, and viscera are removed and the shell is placed in the earth for ants to clean it; chokecherry pits are placed inside the shell and all openings are sewn closed. The head and neck are stretched out to form a handle, which is supported by a wooden rod or splints and wrapped with a rawhide thong, friction tape, or strips of inner tree bark (hickory or slippery elm are preferred). After the rattle has dried, it may be varnished and painted with red, black, or brown dots, bands, or crosses. The dimensions vary according to the size of the turtle and the total length can be from 25 to 50 cm. Instruments of about 30 cm are considered best for playing....

Article

Kiowa  

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by Ann McFarland

Native American tribe of the southern Plains. During the 18th century the Kiowa migrated from western Montana to what is now Oklahoma; they adopted a nomadic existence typical of Plains dwellers. In the 2010s the Kiowa tribe had more than 12,000 members, the largest number living near Carnegie, Oklahoma.

During pre-reservation days the Kiowa economy was based largely on the buffalo hunt and the horse raid. The horse became the standard of wealth and a means of achieving social rank and status. Equally important were honors gained in warfare, which led to the development of warrior societies, each having its own set of rituals, dances, and songs. Music and dance also supported the institutions of raiding and warfare. Before leaving camp, for example, war parties performed the Buffalo Dance and addressed songs to the Buffalo Guardian spirit, a symbol of power and courage. On the return of a successful war party, the women performed the Scalp Dance in its honor. If any warrior did not return, the women performed the Mourning Dance instead. Kiowa servicemen are still honored on Veterans Day with a modern version of the Scalp Dance....

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J. Richard Haefer

[cōcōkai]

Suspension rattle of the Wintu people of Northern California. It is made from insect cocoons filled with small seeds and strung on a cord about 2 metres long. The cord is worn around the neck of male dancers for the h’up chonas, traditionally a war dance, nowadays used to symbolize tribal authenticity....

Article

Chad Stephen Hamill

Term in the Sahaptin language for a bell used by Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. It is a normal hand bell of thin brass with a wooden handle. Assimilated into the Washat (Seven Drum Religion) by the Sahaptin peoples, especially the Nez Perce, it is rung at the opening of the ...

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Konkow  

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Lakota  

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[labaleo]

Violin of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Northern Mexico. It is a variant of the European violin, made from local woods. The Yaqui and Mayo Indians originally learned violin making from missionaries in the 18th century. The instrument is used to accompany the pahko’ola (pascola) dancers. There is no standard size, but most are close in size to the modern violin. They lack a separate bass bar and are not varnished. The four strings can be either normal violin strings or made from monofilament nylon; the bridge is usually purchased. Tunings vary in patterns of 4th and 5ths between adjacent strings according to the series of songs played throughout the night, and are referred to by the names of animals. The bow is hand made and a peg is inserted in the frog end to tighten the horsehair, which might or might not be woven into strands. Two violinists play in 3rds or 6ths accompanied by the ...

Article

Leli  

Richard Keeling

Bone whistle of the Maidu and other native peoples of northern California. It is made from the leg bone of a large bird, a deer or other animal, or local cane. The whistles, from 12 to 20 cm long and 1.5 to 2 cm in diameter (the larger of cane), are usually played in pairs, hence the Kato name tulnok kleyulit (‘whistles tied together’); other names for them include xosa:ng’ay (Hupa); speryspery (Yurok); məpu (Southeastern Pomo); tōka (Patwin); and delni (Wailaki). The bones are bound together with sinew or cord near each end and plugged at one end with pitch. Each tube has a V-shaped hole at or near the centre, with a block of pitch to direct the airstream over the opening. The two whistles produce different notes but are not played melodically; rather, they mark the rhythm of dancing. In ceremonial and secular dances, several men blow them at the same time, producing a rich texture that also includes contrapuntal singing. Historically they were used in shamanistic rituals. ...