Pawnee Ghost Dance Songs

The hypnotic phase which the hand game has in common with the Ghost dance is indicated in the following song which was sung at the Ghost dance and also at the hand game. In old times the game and its accompanying dances were held on the prairie instead of inside a lodge. A portion of the people were called "crows," and the woman who recorded this song said that she "belonged on the crow side of the circle." At intervals these people gave the caw of the crow and imitated that bird in their dancing. (This was done in the dance connected with the hand game attended by the writer.) It is said that under the hypnotic influence of the occasion, the dancers sometimes saw a crow inside the dance circle, no one except themselves being able to see it. The singer said that she "dreamed" this song when she was a young girl.

Free translation: The crow, we see his likeness moving inside the circle of dancers.

The Crow [Encoded file]

The crow which sometimes appeared in the Ghost dance might speak of taking the dancer to Mother Moon or to the Ghost dance messiah. The following song was "dreamed" by the woman recording it, who said she might sing it either at a hand game or a Ghost dance.

Pawnee text: Kaka ti waku kaka ti waku we tat tuta tuta tuta atira i ri raa atira i ri raa
Literal translation: Crow it spoke crow it spoke now I do do do mother there place coming
Free translation: The crow spoke and said, "Now I am coming to where my mother is."

Song Concerning Mother Moon [Encoded file]

The next was said to be a "true song" of a boy who is now dead. He once dreamed that he was in a grave and seemed unable to free himself from this impression. Whenever this song was sung it "threw the boy into a Ghost dance fit." The words are translated, "Here is the hole, right here." The song was sung at a hand game or a Ghost dance.

Free translation: Here is the hole, right here.

Song Concerning an Open Grave [Encoded file]

The four songs next [this, and the following three] were also said to be Ghost dance songs, used in the dances incident to a hand game.

[no text available]

Ghost Dance Song (a) [Encoded file]

The four songs next [this, the preceding, and the following two] were also said to be Ghost dance songs, used in the dances incident to a hand game.

[no text available]

Ghost Dance Song (b) [Encoded file]

The four songs next [this, the preceding two, and the following one] were also said to be Ghost dance songs, used in the dances incident to a hand game.

[no text available]

Ghost Dance Song (c) [Encoded file]

The four songs next [this, and the preceding three] were also said to be Ghost dance songs, used in the dances incident to a hand game.

[no text available]

Ghost Dance Song (d) [Encoded file]

This and the succeeding song were not used in the hand game. The singer said that he composed this song when waking from a trance in the Ghost dance. He dreamed of a yellow star which came to him and said, "I am the star which you see in the sky at night." The star was in the form of a woman holding in her hand an eagle feather painted yellow. She gave him the feather, saying, "All the stars in the sky are people." A dream of the yellow star was induced by watching the star when in a ghost dance trance. The favor of "yellow star" was greatly desired as she does not appear to many dancers, but she gives to her favored friends the right to wear a yellow eagle feather upright in their hair and to use it in hypnotizing other dancers. If such a feather is used under a false pretense no results can be obtained.

Free translation: The yellow star has noticed me,
Furthermore it gave me a standing yellow feather,
That yellow star.

The Yellow Start [Encoded file]

The man to whom the next song belonged was Running Scout, a man who was very religious and remained in a Ghost dance trance for several days. His friends thought him unbalanced but when he awoke he told them that he had been to the Messiah who told him to "go to the village." Following this instruction, he saw many men dancing. Some had fox skins around their heads while others used fox skins in hypnotizing their fellow dancers. For this reason Running Scout always wore a fox skin in the Ghost dance. The skin was not made into a cap but the head and tail were fastened together and hung at the back of his neck in such a manner that the tail rested on his shoulder. He also gave the call of the fox while he was dancing.

Pawnee text: Irehe wei sarit irehe wei sarit irehe wei sarit kewaku ri raraha irehe
Literal translation: Now there they are now there they are now there they are fox they have now there they are now there they are
Free translation: [no text available]

Running Scout's Ghost Dance Song [Encoded file]

The final song of this group is concerning the Ghost dance and, according to Mr. Murie, was sung in the Young Dog Society. The words "the father's child" refer to the messiah whose coming was expected in the Ghost dance.

Pawnee text: Wi ra ha i i ya a ha i ra ha a i i ya ha he a ha i ra ha ha i ra ha ho he a he ti weri hak tsa atias pirau kura a kura hak kux ti ku hak kux i ra ha
Literal translation: There coming yonder it it yonder it coming yonder it it yonder yonder it coming yonder yonder it coming yonder this now stick lies father child his his stick his he to me stick his it coming yonder
Free translation: There it is lying yonder, this stick lying here,
The father's own child gave it to me,
It is coming yonder.

Song Concerning the Ghost Dance [Encoded file]