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MP3 Omaha Indians Music - Omaha Indian Music: Hethu'shka Songs (2-CD Set) - FOLK: Traditional Folk

Odes of the fabled Omaha Indian Warrior Class: the return of early Omaha recordings assembled by Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, Jr. greatly helped the Omaha Indian tribe’s ongoing efforts to reclaim cultural material.

30 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Traditional Folk

The existence of 90-year-old recordings of songs by the Hethu’shka Society - a group of honored veterans - helped facilitate a refocusing of this erstwhile Warrior Class in its new role of conservator of traditional Omaha Indian values. The Omaha tribal council and tribal historian cooperated with American Folklife Center staff members in the compilation of selected early songs, some copies of which were given to graduating Omaha high school students as a reminder of their living traditions. In 1985, Hethu''shka Society members traveled to Washington, D.C., to sing some of those same songs in a noontime performance on the Library''s Neptune Plaza.

The Omaha Indian Music: Hethu''shka Songs 2-CD Set features music that was collected in an effort to preserve, catalog, and disseminate early sound recordings of this tribe’s traditional music and lore. Here are some excerpts from the collection:

"If you see me coming, please stand up and blow your whistle"

This was one of the songs that was played as representative of the Fletcher/La Flesche wax cylinder recordings during the Omaha powwow.

"God, look at me."

Loosely translated, the words of this song mean, "God, look at me. It was hard for me to be a warrior." One must bear in mind that ancient Hethu’shka tradition demands that one must be honored in order to be a warrior; this song therefore has a lot of meaning for the Omahas.

"The spirit is around."
In its essence, this song says, "When I came to your village, I saw your spirit and was thinking of you. My spirit is still here." It is a song that honors the host.
"The young man is coming home."

This song is one of welcome and rejoicing, and says, "The young man is coming home. Get something ready for him." It also includes an invocation that goes, "God help us. Pity us. Thank you for the beautiful things that we can share with one another."

These and 26 other songs included on this 2-CD set were recorded during the festive Omaha powwow that took place in Macy, Nebraska in 1983.

Most members of the Hethu’shka Indian tribe now belong to mainstream life and Reservation life no longer applies to them. However, this is a fiercely individualistic people and they have always sought to preserve their old ways, traditions and cultural heritage by various means. In a manifesto issued by The U Mon Hon Hethu''shka Society, the importance of carrying out their traditional ways within their lives and educating their young men so that these ways may not be lost is emphasized. This Society is remarkably organized. It incorporates a Code of Ethics, advocates a positive and tolerant approach to all issues pertaining to the tribe and the rest of the world, and has strict parameters for membership.

The musical heritage of this Omaha Indian tribe was remarkably showcased in a concert program conducted at the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. on August 22, 1985. This concert generated much-needed public awareness as well as the active support of heritage-oriented organizations like the American Folklife Center. This 2-CD set from A2ZCDS presents the most memorable musical highlights of this event. It is a tribute to this remarkable tribe’s heritage and is worthy of further study. Novel music aficionados, the historically inclined and seekers of their true American roots will find this an indispensable resource.
"These CDs should be used to teach the present and future generations about our variegated American heritage. The Omaha Indians have been relegated to the sidelines and are largely ignored today, but we walk on the soil they safeguarded against intruders before we came along. Their music reflects this, and the pride and pathos is unmistakable. I’m glad I bought the Omaha Indian Music: Hethu''shka Songs 2-CD Set."

Customer''s Name: Ginger Winger (Jonesboro, Arkansas)
"Of course, one can’t understand the words, but the songs are fascinating because of their source and background. Isn’t it funny? My family has lived in Omaha for ages and we still don’t know much about the Omaha Indians. I know someone who belongs to the Hethu’shka Society - I think I’ll call him over and let some bonding take place with these fascinating CDs from A2ZCDS."

Customer''s Name: Leno Pitman (Omaha, Nebraska)

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