December 27, 2009

Indian marching bands

A report on the Standing Rock High School Band and Indian marching bands in general:

Music:  Native American school band rocks the oldies--and the ancientsAmerican Indian marching bands emerged in the boarding-school era, when students were trained in European musical instruments and patriotic marches. From the 1930s through the 1950s, dozens of Indian nations had their own marching bands made up of musicians trained in boarding schools. A few of these bands survive, such as the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe Band of Arizona and Nevada, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006.

But today all-Indian high school bands are rare, said Georgia Wettlin-Larsen, director of the First Nations Composer Initiative. Musical education, beyond culturally-based drumming and singing, is almost nonexistent in tribal schools, she said.
Plus another pre-Columbian Native song:This year the band began a collaboration with Courtney Yellow Fat, the lead singer of Grammy-nominated powwow drum group Lakota Thunder and a culture and language teacher at Standing Rock Middle School.

Cournoyer worked with Yellow Fat to as she wrote sheet music for an ancient Lakota song so her student band could play it. The song, “The Land You Fear,” which originated before Columbus landed in the Americas, had not been written down before, like much indigenous music.
Comment:  For more on ancient Native songs, see The Oldest Native Song? and The Huron Carol. For a non-Indian marching band in the news, see Marching Chiefs Reverse Decision and No Marching Chiefs at Inaugural?

Below:  "North Dakota’s Standing Rock High School Band performs on the back of a flatbed truck." (Courtesy of Kim Cournoyer)

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Here's a post I did on an Indian boarding school that had a band:

Click here to see the specific vintage postcard photo.