In Cree, commonly referred to as
The songs sung are very important! The sound that is made in singing is carried on the breath from deep within us. It is the Creator's breath of life. Elders tells us that the Creator took the earth from the four directions and blew his life-giving breath through the megis shell into the people of the earth so that they might begin their life on earth.
Singing recalls the Creator's breath. When we celebrate through the joy of song, our voice will be heard both in the physical and spiritual worlds. The meaning becomes richer each time the song is heard or sung.
Pow wow songs originate in the Grass Dance Lodge. You will not hear ceremonial songs from other traditional lodges sung at a Pow wow.
Each of the three main Nations in Manitoba, the Cree, the Ojibway, and the Sioux sing different songs. Not only are the songs different because of the language used, but the beat of the drum is subtly different.
Songs are usually passed on orally. Both men and women sing. The men usually lead and the women follow in harmony.
Many Pow wow songs have almost been lost. Many songs come to the Anishinabe through dreams and fasting. Other songs are handed down through generations and these are never changed. The meaning becomes richer each time it is sung. Songs will also be composed by a person with a special gift for creating songs to give special messages and to honour a special person or occasion.
There are songs for special occasions and special dances. For
example: if an eagle feather, a sacred symbol, falls during a Pow wow,
all music and dancing will stop. The
Below is a list of songs you may hear and experience at a Pow wow:
Written by: Harold Flett
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