Powwow singers are very important figures in the Indian culture
today. Without them, there would be no dance. All singers must be able
to lead at least one song in order to participate in the singing. Original
songs and chants were in the native language of the singer. Songs were
many and varied; fun and festival, war and conquest, honor and family
songs, religious songs, songs of joy and mourning.
As various tribes gathered together, they would share their songs, often
changing the songs so singers of different tribes could join in. With
these changes, came the use of "vocables" to replace the words
of the old songs. Thus, some songs today are sung in vocables having
no words. Native American singers produce music in the form of words
or sounds in their throat rather than from the diaphragm as most people
are taught to sing. Yet they still hold special meaning to those who
know the song. Many songs are still sung in native tongue and are either
newly composed or revivals of old songs. These songs are reminders to
the Indian people of their old ways and rich heritage. The Flag and
Honor songs are among the songs to be heard at this Powwow.
FLAG SONG: In recent years, nearly every tribe has composed
a flag song, dedicated to the men and women who have served in the armed
forces in various wars.
These flag songs are the Indian equivalent of the national anthem: all
stand as the song is sung. There is no dancing to this song, but all
stand in respect. (Certain women whose father, brother, or son is a
combat veteran may traditional dance in place.) The flag song is sung
at the beginning of most Indian activities.
HONOR SONGS : Honor songs are special songs sung to honor a
particular person or persons. It is customary to stand in silence to
show respect when an honor song is sung. Honor songs are always announced
before they are sung at Powwows.
information in this section of the website is courtesy of 'Chicago Original
Powwow' 48th Annual Pow Wow Flyer