Music Indigenous Musics of the Arctic
by
Heidi Aklaseaq Senungetuk
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 April 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0206

Introduction

Circumpolar Indigenous peoples share a common cultural thread that may at times seem disparate because of multiple colonial and Native languages, political systems, and distances between communities. Due to their extensive relationships with the northern climate, Indigenous peoples share commonalities that can be appreciated in many facets of contemporary and traditional life. Traditional musical cultures arising from Indigenous peoples of the Arctic share a recognizable characteristic of skin-covered frame drums and vocals, often inseparable from dance. A myriad of regional and local variations not only demonstrate high levels of creativity, but also act as diverse forms of identity and solidarity, and they show a variety of spiritual ideologies expressed through music. Indigenous peoples of the Arctic also use music and dance as a form of cultural sovereignty in the current era of Indigenous rights, frequently adapting or adopting nontraditional musical forms and infusing them with Indigenous cultural elements. As Arctic peoples experienced and navigated colonial and neocolonial appropriations and tensions, they maintained and rejuvenated their cultural performance arts as symbols of identity and existence. In the current era of potential Arctic resource development, Indigenous peoples use music to accentuate their connections to their homelands and emphasize the importance of their lifeways through public performance. This Oxford Bibliographies article includes introductory works as well as focused research materials, presents recent works alongside valuable research from past generations, and highlights the small but growing body of works from Indigenous points of view. Authors write from a variety of disciplines, including musicology/ethnomusicology, anthropology, ethnography, oral history, and cultural education, but they focus on Indigenous performing arts in the Arctic. This article is organized on the basis of geographical regions of the Arctic, with five major Arctic areas including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Greenland, Sápmi (the Indigenous name for northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and northwestern Russia), and Russia. Each region is home to multiple Indigenous peoples and their cultural performing arts.

Circumpolar Reference Works

Few works address the musical arts of the entire circumpolar north, but these important contributions introduce the variety of Indigenous musical styles of the Arctic. Kingston 2005 and Johnston 1976 give introductory overviews of traditional music and dance practices, noting similarities among Arctic cultures. Johnston’s more substantial work also gives the reader a link to a different era, providing photos and interviews with past elders and ancestors. An encyclopedia, Wright-McLeod 2005 contains a chapter on recordings of music of the Arctic/circumpolar region, including a wide variety of musical styles and eras from archival recordings to popular contemporary music.

  • Johnston, Thomas F. Eskimo Music by Region: A Comparative Circumpolar Study. Ottawa, ON: National Museums of Canada, 1976.

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    A study showing the relationships between all the traditional Indigenous performing arts of the Arctic with similar characteristics, including the use of shallow frame drums, unison singing, and mimetic dance. Provides summaries of regional styles across the Arctic, with extra attention to Northwest Alaska Native styles of music.

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  • Kingston, Deanna. “Music (Traditional Indigenous).” In Encyclopedia of the Arctic. Vol. 2. Edited by Mark Nuttall, 1339–1341. New York: Routledge, 2005.

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    Brief introductory article addressing performative, religious, and social aspects of traditional musics of the Arctic, from Russia to Greenland. Mentions various festivals such as the Messenger Feast and the Bladder Festival.

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  • Wright-McLeod, Brian. The Encyclopedia of Native Music: More Than a Century of Recordings from Wax Cylinder to the Internet. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2005.

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    Section 1 is a list of recordings from the “Arctic/Circumpolar Region,” defined in this work as ranging from Greenland across northern Canada to Alaska and Russia. Shows the variety of Indigenous musical contributions to contemporary music styles, compilations, soundtracks, traditional/archival recordings, and spoken word recordings.

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United States—Alaska

Alaska is a vast geographical area that is home to multiple Indigenous cultural groups, each with distinct languages, cultures, and histories. This section is subdivided into four geographical regions. Southwest Alaska includes Indigenous cultures such as Central Yup’ik (with Cup’ig and Cup’ik language and cultural dialects), Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, Siberian Yupik, and Unangax (Aleut). Inupiaq peoples have inhabited Northwest Alaska/North Slope and the North Slope region for millennia. Southeast Alaska includes Tlingit, Eyak, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures. Interior Alaska is home to many variants of Na-Dene, or Athabascan cultures, including Gwich’in, Koyukon, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Han, Tanacross, Holikachuk, Deg Xinag, Upper Kuskokwim, Dena’ina, and Ahtna. Johnston 1988 introduces broad categories of Alaska Native music and dance by region throughout the state, providing the reader with cultural contexts and social functions of traditional musics. Williams 1992 presents an essay introducing how Alaska Native performing arts were suppressed and rejuvenated throughout different parts of the state, and Williams 1996 develops this idea in greater depth, drawing attention to the politics of Indigenous land claims in connection with music and dance. Krejci 2010 and Perea 2011 are dissertations that address topical areas of music and globalization and the politics of indigeneity in the performing arts, and both attend to variations on the idea of modernity.

  • Johnston, Thomas F. Inupiat, Yupik, Athabascan, and Tlingit Traditional Dance: Context, Meaning, and Function in Alaskan Native Social and Ceremonial Dance. Fairbanks, AK: T. F. Johnston, 1988.

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    Four separately formed sections addressing four broad cultural areas, informed by fieldwork completed between 1973 and 1983. Includes reviews of archival materials and musical analyses of trends in each area.

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  • Krejci, Paul R. “Skin Drums, Squeeze Boxes, Fiddles and Phonographs: Musical Interaction in the Western Arctic, Late 18th through Early 20th Centuries.” PhD diss., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2010.

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    Inquiry into early globalization of the western Arctic region through music during periods of initial cultural contact with explorers, whalers, miners, traders, and missionaries. Examines historical documents and oral histories that reflect outsiders’ impressions of Alaska, and explores Native dances that demonstrate awareness of or commentary on Euro-American cultural traditions.

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  • Perea, Jessica Bissett. “The Politics of Inuit Musical Modernities in Alaska.” PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2011.

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    Investigates the performance of culture, the politics of indigeneity, contemporary Inuit musicians, and what it means to make “Native music.” A Dena’ina scholar provides insight from interviews with young Alaska Native musicians and from personal experience.

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  • Williams, Maria. “Contemporary Alaska Native Dance: The Spirit of Tradition.” In Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions. Edited by Charlotte Heth, 149–167. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1992.

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    Introductory article treating Alaska Native adaptations to colonial pressures on music and dance. Presented by the National Museum of the American Indian in this collection of essays about dance and musical styles of Native Americans.

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  • Williams, Maria Del Pilar. “Alaska Native Music and Dance: The Spirit of Survival.” PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1996.

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    Examines histories of colonial suppression of cultural arts in Alaska, and a renaissance of traditional dance forms since passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Includes multiple interviews with community leaders who witnessed changes in attitudes toward Native cultures over time. First major study of Alaska Native music conducted by an Alaska Native scholar.

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Southwest Alaska

Stüssi 1997 observes that the history of ethnomusicology in southwestern Alaska is quite short. Since this thesis, several published works are notable for their depth and insight from Yup’ik perspectives. Bogeyaktuk, et al. 2004 treats the music and dance of a Yup’ik cultural festival in the Yup’ik language. Written by Yup’ik scholar Theresa Arevgaq John (John 2010), discusses the importance of dance and music in her community, including the function of dance as societal infrastructures. Barker, et al. 2010 is an intense work that could qualify as the current textbook for Yup’ik music and dance, and it provides an excellent model for texts not yet available for other regions of the state. A documentary film, Kamerling and Elder 2007 is worthy of mention for its community-collaborative process, giving voice to the people, music, and dance that play a central role in the community. Johnston 1989 is appropriate as a brief introductory overview to Yup’ik cultures. While Desson 1995 draws attention to some of the earliest documented observations about music in Kodiak, including song texts and descriptions, Squartsoff, et al. 2015 is among the latest works to document the same, one intended for language and cultural education and revitalization.

  • Barker, James H., Ann Fienup-Riordan, with Theresa Arevgaq John. Yupiit Yuraryarait: Yup’ik Ways of Dancing. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2010.

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    A collaborative work among a Yup’ik scholar, an anthropologist, and a photographer. Provides insight into Yup’ik dance and music as social structure and morality code. Includes a DVD video recording with interviews and dance performances from Tununak, Toksook Bay, and Bethel.

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  • Bogeyaktuk, Anatole, Charlie Steve, Rose Ann Dan Waghiyi, et al. Taprarmiuni Kassiyulriit: Stebbins Dance Festival. Edited by Ann Fienup-Riordan. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2004.

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    Two Yup’ik elders of Tapraq (Stebbins) present their stories of kassiyuq (dance festivals) in the Yup’ik language, with side-by-side translation into English. Details of the Bladder Festival, the Great Feast for the Dead, and the Messenger Festival. Includes photos by James Barker and Suzi Jones.

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  • Desson, Dominique. “Masked Rituals of the Kodiak Archipelago.” PhD diss., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1995.

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    Much of Alutiiq traditional culture from Kodiak Island had been dormant for generations due to colonization that began during the Russian period. This dissertation presents historical and ethnographic documents describing masked rituals associated with dance festivals. Chapter 3 presents translations and analyses of Alphonse Pinart’s descriptions of music and dance collected in the 1870s.

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  • John, Theresa Arevgaq. “Yuraryararput Kangiit-llu: Our Ways of Dance and Their Meanings.” PhD diss., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2010.

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    A study of Yup’ik categories of dance, and how dance has played a functional role in the organization of Yup’ik community social structure. This Yup’ik scholar provides personal insights into Yup’ik worldviews, historical context, and translations of song texts.

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  • Johnston, Thomas F. “Song Categories and Musical Style of the Yupik Eskimo.” Anthropos 84.4–6 (1989): 423–431.

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    Introductory overview of Yup’ik song types and characteristics, with attention to styles that are unique to Yup’ik cultures, such as “Fish Identification Songs” and “Inqum Cooling Songs.”

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  • Kamerling, Leonard, and Sarah Elder, dirs. The Drums of Winter: Uksuum Cauyai. Watertown, MA: Documentary Educational Resources, 2007.

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    Feature-length documentary film showing preparations for a ceremonial Yup’ik festival in Emmonak. Includes archival footage documenting early missionary suppression of cultural activities and subsequent encouragement. Significant input into the design of the film by community members gives voice to the people, music, and dance.

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  • Squartsoff, Peter, Alisha Drabek, and Laura Blackwood, eds. Alutiit Atuutet: Alutiiq Songs of the Kodiak Archipelago. Kodiak, AK: Afognak Native Corporation, Administration of Native Americans, 2015.

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    Documentation of Alutiiq songs by Indigenous authors and composers. Intended to teach Alutiiq language skills, histories, and culture. Includes a brief history of colonial suppression and cultural revitalization.

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  • Stüssi, Felix. “Iqugmiut-Russian Mission: Musical Change and Cultural Survival in a Yup’ik Eskimo Community on the Lower Yukon River in Western Alaska.” MA thesis, University of Zurich, 1997.

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    An ethnographic description of Yup’ik musical culture from the beginning of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century, with an emphasis on musical transculturation and change. Addresses spirituality in music, resistance to assimilation policies, and musical transactions with Athabascan cultures.

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Northwest Alaska/North Slope

Drawing on a degree of nostalgia, some research stems from or looks back at a time before colonial systems took their tolls on the practice of Inupiaq dance and music. Hawkes 1914 is among the earliest works dedicated to the music and dance of Inupiaq communities, and it provides current researchers access to imagery and observational methodologies of the past. The recordings presented in Ingstad 1998 were originally made in 1949 in Anaktuvuk Pass, then edited, remixed, and presented here with Groven’s musical transcriptions from 1956. Kakaruk and Oquilluk 1964 presents oral histories regarding the Eagle Wolf dance festivals from centuries ago. Fair 2000 and Johnston 1992 give historical accounts of the decline and subsequent restoration of Messenger Feasts. Kingston 1999 brings research into the present era with an investigation into performances of the Wolf Dance from the author’s own community of King Island. Pulu, et al. 1979 aims to educate future generations about traditional music and dance. Fox 2014 traces the processes of the repatriation of sound recordings made by Laura Boulton in Utqiaġvik (Barrow) in 1946.

  • Fair, Susan W. “The Inupiaq Eskimo Messenger Feast: Celebration, Demise, and Possibility.” Journal of American Folklore 113.450 (2000): 464–494.

    DOI: 10.2307/542043Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces histories of the impact of missionary influences on Inupiaq and Yup’ik cultural dance festivals from western and northern Alaska and subsequent revitalization efforts.

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  • Fox, Aaron A. “Repatriation as Reanimation through Reciprocity.” In The Cambridge History of World Music. Edited by Philip V. Bohlman, 522–554. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

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    Details processes of repatriating archival audio recordings from Columbia University’s collections to the community of Utqiaġvik (Barrow) after a period of more than half a century, and the inspiration that has resulted for musicians and dancers in Utqiaġvik.

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  • Hawkes, Ernest William. The Dance Festivals of the Alaskan Eskimo. Philadelphia: University Museum, 1914.

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    One of the earliest works devoted entirely to details of dance festivals in the Bering Strait region, based on the author’s observations during a three-year residence on the Diomede Islands and St. Michael.

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  • Ingstad, Helge. Songs of the Nunamiut: Historical Recordings and Transcriptions of an Alaskan Eskimo Community. Oslo, Norway: Tano Aschehoug, 1998.

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    Booklet includes CD sound recordings. In 1949 Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad visited Anaktuvuk Pass for an extended period, where he recorded 141 songs, 97 of which are presented here. Program booklet includes introductory essays by Helge Instad, Sigvald Tveit, and song transcriptions by Eivind Groven, derived from his thesis of 1956.

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  • Johnston, Thomas F. “A Historical View of Inupiat Eskimo Dance.” Anthropologie 30.3 (1992): 269–279.

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    Overview of Inupiaq dance styles, festivals, and ceremonies from Utqiaġvik (Barrow) to Nome, citing historical sources mixed with contemporary interviews. Includes histories of suppression and survival in the 20th century.

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  • Kakaruk, John A., and William Oquilluk. The Eagle Wolf Dance (Messenger Feast). Anchorage, AK: Charles V. Lucier and William Oquilluk, 1964.

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    Oral history as told by Inupiaq elders born in the 1890s regarding the origins of the Eagle-Wolf Dance on the Seward Peninsula.

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  • Kingston, Deanna M. “Returning: Twentieth Century Performances of the King Island Wolf Dance.” PhD diss., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1999.

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    Inupiaq scholar traces the history of King Island Inupiaq community’s traditions of the Wolf Dance ceremony and details performance revivals of 1982 and 1991. Examines relationships with religious and governmental influences on the community, commodification of culture, and ownership issues.

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  • Pulu, Tupou L., Thomas F. Johnston, Ruth Ramoth Sampson, and Angeline Newlin. Iñupiat Aġġisit Atuutiŋich: Iñupiat Dance Songs. Anchorage: University of Alaska, 1979.

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    Introduction to Inupiaq dance as presented by Point Hope Inupiaq elders. Includes musical transcriptions of twenty-one songs, with images of dancers performing motions and commentary regarding each song’s history, composers, and representation. Coordinates with video recording “Inupiat Dance Songs” of 1977 held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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Southeast Alaska

Tlingit scholar Maria Williams forged the way for Alaska Native ethnomusicologists with her first work, Williams 1989, which addresses how cultural identity and social structure are embedded in Tlingit song. A collaborative work, Worl 2008 shows the depth of color in Southeast Alaska’s “Celebration” festival. Johnston 1986–1988 provides a clear history of suppression of Tlingit dance, while Carol Beery Davis in an earlier work, Davis 1939, believed that Tlingit songs would be lost to Euro-American ways. De Laguna 1972 provides more comprehensive transcriptions of Yakutat songs, and Morrison 1988 furnishes additional analysis of that collection. Enrico and Stuart 1996 provides a broad analysis of Haida music and dance from ethnomusicological and linguistic perspectives.

  • Davis, Carol Beery. Songs of the Totem. Juneau, AK: Empire Printing, 1939.

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    Musical transcriptions with song texts and translations into English. Commentary and photographs regarding customs, potlatches, celebrations, community leaders, and politics of the day.

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  • de Laguna, Frederica. “Recordings of Yakutat Songs, with Transcriptions of the Music by David P. McAllester.” In Under Mount Saint Elias: The History and Culture of the Yakutat Tlingit. By Frederica de Laguna, 1149–1373. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology 7. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1972.

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    The voluminous contribution of Frederica de Laguna to the study of all aspects of life in Yakutat includes a considerable descriptive passage regarding music in Part 2. The appendix listed in Part 3 includes hundreds of musical transcriptions by David P. McAllester, translations of song texts, commentary, and structural analyses.

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  • Enrico, John, and Wendy Bross Stuart. Northern Haida Songs. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.

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    Collaborative collection of Haida songs in Alaska and Canada by a linguist and an ethnomusicologist. Includes Haida song texts with translations into English and musical transcriptions and analyses.

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  • Johnston, Thomas F. “Tlingit Dance, Music, and Society.” Acta Ethnographica 34.1–4 (1986–1988): 283–324.

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    Discusses the impacts of colonial suppression and subsequent renaissance of Tlingit cultural heritage after passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Describes typical social potlatch celebration activities, including etiquette and formalities, and relationships of music to mythology, the natural environment, and other cultural groups. Includes musical transcriptions, song texts, and photographs.

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  • Morrison, Dorothy. “A Descriptive Analysis of Yakutat Tlingit Musical Style.” MA thesis, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1988.

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    Analysis of musical style particular to the Gulf Coast Tlingit, based on recordings collected by Frederica de Laguna in Yakutat between 1949 and 1954, furthering the analytical work of David McAllester. Uses graphic notation and other theoretical methods to show the musical elements common among ninety-nine songs.

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  • Williams, Maria Del Pilar. “Clan Identification and Social Structure in Tlingit Songs.” MA thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989.

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    Pioneering paper by a Tlingit scholar who provides an emic approach to relationships between social structure and music context and performance. Includes song transcriptions and analyses, references. Manuscript available at Sealaska Heritage Library in Juneau.

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  • Worl, Rosita. Celebration: Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian Dancing on the Land. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.

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    Essays by Southeast Alaska Native and Canadian authors describing aspects of “Celebration,” a cultural festival started in 1982, with archival photographs and contemporary intimate photographic documentation by Bill Hess. Discusses histories of Southeast Alaska Native music and dance, the use of ceremonial masks, and worldviews regarding art objects used in ceremonies.

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Interior Alaska

Interior Alaska has many variations of traditional cultures, as introduced in a general survey in Johnston 1979. Written by a Koyukon elder, Carlo 1978 provides an intimate view of celebrations from Nulato. Pulu, et al. 1978 includes transcriptions and analyses of Koyukon music and dance and is compiled to serve as education materials for use in schools. Guédon 1974 and Pearce 1985 provide portraits of dance and music in Tetlin and Tanana, respectively, and Coray 2007 presents rare early recordings of Dena’ina music. Mishler 1993 introduces and analyzes Athabascan fiddling styles and their histories, while Stevens 2013 gives a portrait of Bill Stevens, Alaska’s best-known Athabascan fiddler.

  • Carlo, Poldine. Nulato: An Indian Life on the Yukon. Fairbanks, AK: Carlo, 1978.

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    Now an honored Koyukon Athabascan elder, Carlo writes about life in an Athabascan village. She discusses potlatch celebrations with singing, washtub dancing, stickdance, and mourning songs from a personal perspective.

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  • Coray, Craig, ed. Dnaghelt’ana Qut’ana K’eli Ahdelyax: They Sing the Songs of Many Peoples: The 1954 Nondalton Recordings of John Coray. Anchorage, AK: Kijik, 2007.

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    As a schoolteacher in 1954, John Coray recorded local musicians in Nondalton. His son Craig Coray later transcribed the music, song texts and spoken words, and he believes these are the earliest recordings of Dena’ina music in existence. Includes rare recorded performance of the plank drum. Accompanied by a CD sound recording.

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  • Guédon, Marie Francoise. People of Tetlin, Why Are You Singing? Ottawa, ON: National Museums of Canada, 1974.

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    A documentation of Tetlin potlatch of 1969, including participants from Northway, Tanacross, Dot Lake, Copper Center, Gulkana, and Mentasta. Details musical sharing between villages and musical exchange with Tlingit cultures.

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  • Johnston, Thomas F. “Athabascan Indian Music in Alaska.” Viltis 38.2 (1979): 6–11.

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    General overview of Athabascan styles of traditional dance in five regions (Fort Yukon, Copper Center, Northway, Susitna, and Lower Yukon), with musical transcriptions of song examples and photographs. Brief mention of the introduction of fiddle reels by Hudson’s Bay traders.

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  • Mishler, Craig. The Crooked Stovepipe: Athapaskan Fiddle Music and Square Dancing in Northeast Alaska and Northwest Canada. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

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    An in-depth study of Gwich’in adaptation of a style of music that has roots in the British Isles, French Canada, and the American South but that has been cultivated as their own style in relative isolation for nearly 150 years in villages in northeastern Alaska and Yukon, Canada.

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  • Pearce, Tony Scott. “Musical Characteristics of Tanana Athabascan Dance Songs.” MA thesis, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1985.

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    Musical transcriptions and analyses of forty-one dance songs from Nenana and Minto, Alaska, to reveal musical profiles of the two villages, how songs are shared between the villages, and why differences are maintained between the villages. Utilizes pitch content, intervallic, and durational analyses and classifies songs by type.

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  • Pulu, Tupou L., Madeline Solomon, Tom Johnston, and Eliza Jones. Koyukon Athabaskan Dance Songs. Anchorage: University of Alaska, 1978.

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    Based on teachings of elder Madeline Solomon, this booklet provides teachers and other interested parties introductory materials regarding Koyukon music and dance, including oral histories and musical transcriptions of songs from Koyukon, Nulato, Tanana, Huslia, and other villages in Interior Alaska.

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  • Stevens, Bill E. Ch’adzaa Aghwaa: He Carries the Dance; The Life and Times of Gwich’in Fiddler Bill Stevens. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Knowledge Network, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2013.

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    Biography of Bill Stevens, Alaska’s preeminent Athabascan fiddler, followed by interviews with Bill Stevens presented in the Gwich’in language and translated into English that touch upon his life with music, concluding with tributes by fellow musicians.

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Canada

Canada is home to numerous Indigenous peoples, each with distinct languages, cultures, and histories. For the purposes of this article, entries in this section are grouped into three subsections corresponding to vast geographical regions: Arctic Canada, Western Subarctic and Northwest Coast Canada, and Plateau, Plains, and Eastern Woodlands Canada. Conlon in Grove Music Online (Canadian First Peoples), the article Indigenous Peoples: Music by Hoefnagels in The Canadian Encyclopedia, and Keillor 2006 introduce traditional musical styles across Canada, while Hoefnagels and Diamond 2012, an anthology, presents essays regarding music and modernity among Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Diamond 2005 aims to change perceptions about Indigenous peoples of Canada by introducing them as contemporary artists who practice ancient traditions in the present.

  • Conlon, Paula J. “Canadian First Peoples.” In Grove Music Online. New York: Oxford University Press.

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    Brief overview of sources for beginning research into Indigenous Canadian musical cultures. Includes bibliographic resources. Available by subscription.

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  • Diamond, Beverley. “Music (Contemporary Indigenous, Canadian Arctic).” In Encyclopedia of the Arctic. Vol. 2. Edited by Mark Nuttall, 1335–1339. New York: Routledge, 2005.

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    In this compact introductory article, the author presents traditional musics of Indigenous Canada in the present tense, challenging readers to see their performative arts as living cultures. Details musical styles of Inuit, First Nations, and Métis, Yukon First Nations, non-Aboriginal performers, and broadcasting and recording industries.

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  • Hoefnagels, Anna. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Indigenous Peoples: Music. Toronto: Historica Canada.

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    Website introducing different Indigenous nations in Canada, their traditional music and dance styles, and contemporary adaptations. Includes videos, links, and suggested readings.

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  • Hoefnagels, Anna, and Beverley Diamond, eds. Aboriginal Music in Contemporary Canada: Echoes and Exchanges. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012.

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    Comprehensive anthology consisting of twenty-two essays (many presented by Indigenous authors) that emphasize contemporary issues of Indigenous musicians, such as new technologies, modes of transmission, intercultural processes, and intellectual property rights. Editors provide suggestions for classroom use, such as thematic ideas and topics for discussion.

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  • Keillor, Elaine. Music in Canada: Landscape and Diversity. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006.

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    Chapter 2 provides an introduction to Indigenous musical traditions across Canada, addressing broad culture areas, using vignettes of typical musical examples as illustration. Includes mention of Indigenous adoption of popular music styles.

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Arctic Canada

Variations of Inuit music are highly sophisticated and stylized expressions of culture and reveal the creativity and ingenuity of their peoples, whose traditional homelands are in Arctic Canada. Conlon 2009, Dewar 1990, Kritsch Vascotto 2001, Diamond 2008, and Piercey-Lewis 2015 consider styles of Inuit drum dance. Beaudry 1978, Charron 1978, Diamond 2008, van den Scott 2014, and Piercey-Lewis 2015 discuss vocal games, while Diamond 2008 and Piercey-Lewis 2015 examine Indigenous adoption of non-Native contemporary musics.

  • Beaudry, Nicole. “Toward Transcription and Analysis of Inuit Throat Games: Macro-Structure.” Ethnomusicology 22.2 (1978): 261–274.

    DOI: 10.2307/851490Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author notes the difficulty of transcribing something as intricate as katajjaq, also known as Inuit “throat singing,” suggesting that one must perceive sound differently to notate differently. In making her formal analysis, the author reveals the complexity and creativity of Inuit singing games.

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  • Charron, Claude. “Toward Transcription and Analysis of Inuit Throat-Games: Micro-Structure.” Ethnomusicology 22.2 (1978): 245–259.

    DOI: 10.2307/851489Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This musicologist uses phonological data using the technology of sonagrams [sic] to examine the micro-structure of the creation of sounds in katajjaq (Inuit vocal games).

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  • Conlon, Paula. “Iglulik Inuit Drum-Dance Songs.” In Music of the First Nations: Tradition and Innovation in Native North America. Edited by Tara Browner, 7–20. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

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    Discusses a collection of 315 traditional songs recorded in Mittimatalik, Igloolik, and Ikpiarjuk between 1964 and 1985. The author shows how Inuit maintain a connection to the past through songs and dances, yet continue to create new songs, sometimes incorporating elements of Euro-American aesthetics.

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  • Dewar, K. Patricia. “A Historical and Interpretive Study of Inuit Drum Dance in the Canadian Central Arctic: The Meaning Expressed in Dance, Culture, and Performance.” PhD diss., University of Alberta, 1990.

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    Explores solo drum-dance styles of the central Canadian Arctic region, with examples from the Melville Peninsula and western Hudson Bay areas. The author brings the perspective of dance scholarship to music, using Inuit drum-dance specifically to show the inseparable nature of sound and movement.

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  • Diamond, Beverley. “Music and Historical Encounter: Inuit Communities.” In Native American Music in Eastern North America: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. 35–59. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    Chapter 2 is devoted to Inuit perspectives on music. Discusses the roles of traditional Inuit musical forms as games, historical repositories, and modes of conflict resolution, and addresses modern adaptions of Inuit music, while simultaneously challenging the reader to examine histories of colonialism, representation, and ethics. Includes CD with sound recordings.

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  • Kritsch Vascotto, Norma Mae. “The Transmission of Drum Songs in Pelly Bay, Nunavut, and the Contributions of Composers and Singers to Musical Norms.” PhD diss., University of Toronto, 2001.

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    Examination of song structure and individual compositional styles from a musicological perspective to show how music reflects family ties, namesake ties, and gender issues, with a focus on Inuit songs from Pelly Bay.

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  • Piercey-Lewis, Mary E. “‘Inulariuyunga; Imngirnik Quvigiyaqaqtunga!’—I’m a Real Inuk; I Love to Sing! Interactions between Music, Inummariit, and Belief in an Inuit Community since Resettlement.” PhD diss., Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2015.

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    A study of music and change in Arviat, examining the connections between musical choices and the concept of “real Inuit” over multiple generations of family members. Discussions of music in relation to issues of forced relocation, adaptations of Christian philosophies and music, and music as expressions of sovereignty and identity.

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  • Roberts, Helen Heffron, and Diamond Jenness. Eskimo Songs: Songs of the Copper Eskimos. Vol. 14, Report of the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913–18. Ottawa, ON: F. A. Acland, 1925.

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    Transcriptions of 137 of some of the earliest recorded songs of northern Canadian Inuit, referred to as “Copper Eskimos.” Includes a few songs from Alaska. Roberts provided musical transcriptions and Jenness provided song texts and translations.

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  • van den Scott, Jeffrey. “Experiencing the Music: Toward a Visual Model for the Social Construction of Music.” In Studies in Symbolic Interaction. Vol. 42, Revisiting Symbolic Interaction in Music Studies and New Interpretive Works. Edited by Norman K. Denzin, 3–19. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group, 2014.

    DOI: 10.1108/S0163-239620140000042000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author uses two instances of Inuit throat games to illustrate his model of visualizing musical events to show the effects of the social world on creative activities. He compares qiaqpaarniq (throat games) performed in a more traditional setting to throat singing used in formalized composition for a concert hall.

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Western Subarctic and Northwest Coast Canada

Works presented with an Indigenous perspective are still few in number. Lafferty and Keillor 2009 is a collaborative work with Lafferty’s emic views on Dogrib songs, and Dangeli 2015 brings the author’s own culture of Northwest Coast performing arts as the focus of her dissertation regarding protocol and dancing sovereignty. Perspectives from other cultures can impart clear ideas, such as Diamond 2001 and Harrison 2002, which examine contemporary performance issues, including intercultural musics and intellectual property rights. Halpern 1976 challenges readers to rethink words and concepts applied to Indigenous cultural characteristics, while simultaneously presenting analyses of Hamatsa songs. Mark 1955 presents a classic analysis of recorded Tlingit songs, while Goodman 1977 is appropriate for introducing Northwest Coast performing arts, equipped with discussion questions. Evans and Glass 2014 draw attention to early cinema featuring a Kwakwaka’wakw cast and current reconstruction and presentations of the film with discussion of the original film score and reinterpretations by Indigenous musicians.

  • Dangeli, Mique’l. “Dancing Sovereignty: Politics and Protocols of Northwest Coast First Nations Dance.” PhD diss., University of British Columbia, 2015.

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    A Tsimshian First Nations dance group leader, dancer, choreographer, and scholar discusses the importance of protocols in Northwest Coast dance performances through the lens of art history and theory. Examines traditional styles and contemporary music and dance collaborations with symphony and chamber groups and other non-Native musicians as ways of performing sovereignty.

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  • Diamond, Beverley. “Re-placing Performance: A Case Study of the Yukon Music Scene in the Canadian North.” Journal of Intercultural Studies 22.2 (2001): 211–224.

    DOI: 10.1080/07256860120069611Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses issues of intercultural performance studies using examples from Northern Tutchone singer Jerry Alfred and the band Medicine Beat from Pelly Crossing, Yukon. Examines the relationships between members, between audiences and the band, and between recordings and live performances.

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  • Evans, Brad, and Aaron Glass, eds. Return to the Land of the Head Hunters: Edward S. Curtis, the Kwakwaka’wakw, and the Making of Modern Cinema. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014.

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    An anthology examining Edward Curtis’s feature-length silent film of 1914, surviving orchestral score, documentary audio recordings, and the all-Native American orchestra that reinterpreted the musical score in 2008.

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  • Goodman, Linda. Music and Dance in Northwest Coast Indian Life. Tsaile, AZ: Navajo Community College Press, 1977.

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    Booklet introducing Northwest Coast musical and ceremonial cultures, including Nootka, Kwakiutl, Bella Coola, Haida, Tsimshian, and Tlingit. Focuses on music and ceremonies, music and medicine, musical instruments, and song texts. Includes a discography and teacher’s guide with topical questions.

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  • Halpern, Ida. “On the Interpretation of ‘Meaningless-Nonsensical Syllables’ in the Music of the Pacific Northwest Indians.” Ethnomusicology 20.2 (1976): 253–271.

    DOI: 10.2307/851018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Known for her life’s work in collecting recordings of Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuuchahnulth, Haida, Nuxalk, and Coast Salish First Nations of British Columbia, Halpern challenged the membership of the Society for Ethnomusicology to rethink the meaning of vocables used by Indigenous musicians. Presents numerous examples with musical transcriptions.

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  • Harrison, Klisala. “The Kwagiulth Dancers: Addressing Intellectual Property Issues at Victoria’s First Peoples Festival.” The World of Music 44.1 (2002): 137–151.

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    Ideas regarding intellectual property rights may vary depending on worldview, and they can create tensions between communities. Illustrated with examples from the Kwagiulth Dancers, a Kwakwaka’wakw dance group, as they perform at a major performing arts festival in Canada.

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  • Lafferty, Lucy, and Elaine Keillor. “Musical Expressions of the Dene: Dogrib Love and Land Songs.” In Music of the First Nations: Tradition and Innovation in Native North America. Edited by Tara Browner, 21–33. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

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    Keillor joins with Lafferty to present Indigenous perspectives on Dogrib Dene love songs and love-of-the-land songs and their relationships with a sense of place, with ancestral heritage, and with maintaining a distinct culture and worldview. Includes spectral and formal analyses of songs.

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  • Mark, Lindy Li. “The Structure of Inland Tlingit Music.” MA thesis, Northwestern University, 1955.

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    Early formal and tonal analyses of Inland Tlingit music in British Columbia and Yukon Territory based on recordings of songs collected by Catherine McClellan from 1949 to 1951. The author describes seventy songs, grouped by type, including myth songs, hunting songs, mourning songs, clan children songs, and war dance songs.

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Plateau, Plains, and Eastern Woodlands Canada

Scholars often discuss topics associated with regional musical styles. Influential dance scholar Gertrude Prokosch Kurath combines the academic studies of music and dance, citing their indivisible qualities present in many forms of Indigenous performing arts, in Kurath 1968. Diamond, et al. 1994 combines studies of organology with ethnology, bringing a more holistic approach to ethnomusicology. Hoefnagels 2001, Dueck 2005, and Quick 2009 emphasize topical discussions, such as public performance, political stances, relationship to place, and intercultural music. Scales 2012 draws attention to Indigenous control over representation among powwow circuits and recording industries.

  • Diamond, Beverley, Franziska von Rosen, and M. Sam Cronk. Visions of Sound: Musical Instruments of First Nations Communities in Northeastern America. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1994.

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    More than two hundred photographs of musical instruments help illustrate the variety and complexity of Indigenous musical minds, shown here in the context of interviews with instrument makers and musicians who use them. Uses musical instruments as metaphors to explore ideas of relationships, realness, languages of sound, images, and motion.

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  • Dueck, Byron. “Festival of Nations: First Nations and Metis Music and Dance in Public Performance.” PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2005.

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    Focuses on public performance practices of powwow music and dance, gospel music, and square dance by First Nations groups in Winnipeg, often as articulations of political ideals. Examines the differences and tensions between public and private performance practices.

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  • Hoefnagels, Anna Theresa. “Powwows in Southwestern Ontario: Relationships, Influences and Musical Style.” PhD diss., York University, 2001.

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    Study of the history and prevalence of Ojibway powwow gatherings in southern Ontario, especially in the Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation region, observing how participants generate a “local” sense through relationships with neighboring nations.

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  • Kurath, Gertrude Prokosch. Dance and Song Rituals of Six Nations Reserve, Ontario. Ottawa, ON: Queen’s Printer, 1968.

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    Ethnography of longhouse customs of a Six Nations Reserve, focusing attention on music, song texts, dance, and graphic arts of masks used in ceremonies, based on observations from 1948 to 1964.

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  • Quick, Sarah. “Performing Heritage: Métis Music, Dance and Identity in a Multicultural State.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 2009.

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    Illustrates the promotion of Métis heritage through musical performance, highlighting Métis fiddling and associated dance. Discusses how fiddling sustains Métis culture.

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  • Scales, Christopher A. Recording Culture: Powwow Music and the Aboriginal Recording Industry on the Northern Plains. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822395720Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the relationships between competitive powwow circuits and the recording industries. Illustrates how Indigenous musicians strive for control over representation through media.

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Greenland

Inuit have lived on coastal areas of Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) for thousands of years. Olsen and Hauser’s article in Grove Music Online (Greenland) introduces Indigenous musical styles and includes a bibliography for beginning research. Olsen 1969 presents a suggestion to respect Indigenous concepts of musical intervals and rhythms. Through song analyses, Hauser 2010 suggests family migration histories, by showing connections to Canadian Inuit songs. Greenlandic singer-songwriters in the 20th century were among the first Indigenous musicians to write song lyrics in their own language, inspiring Indigenous rights activists around the world to embrace the power of music. Lynge 1981, Lynge 1986, Johansen 2001, and Otte 2014 examine ways in which Greenlandic popular musicians have expressed ideas of identity, resistance, and nation-building discourse.

  • Hauser, Michael. Traditional Inuit Songs from the Thule Area. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2010.

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    This study analyzes Erik Holtvedt’s early collection of songs recorded in the Thule area and the recorded collection of Bent Jensen to suggest histories of migration from Canada. Includes a thorough survey of research on music in the Arctic, photographs, and musical transcriptions that reflect the author’s lifetime of work.

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  • Johansen, Brian A. “Contemporary Greenlandic Music.” Études/Inuit/Studies 25.1–2 (2001): 169–190.

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    Discusses the adaptation of European and Euro-American music styles in Greenland from the mid-20th century and through the next fifty years, especially as markers of identity and as symbols of ethnicity in society and politics.

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  • Lynge, Birgit. Rytmisk Musik i Grønland. Århus, Denmark: PubliMus, 1981.

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    Danish monograph developed from the author’s master’s thesis. Examines the incorporation of popular music into Greenlandic cultural performing arts, using examples from bands, artists, and the recording industry to express ideas of opposition to an imperialist regime. Translated as “Rhythmical Music in Greenland.”

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  • Lynge, Birgit. “New Currents in Greenlandic Music: From Traditional to Contemporary Music.” Arctic Anthropology 23.1–2 (1986): 387–399.

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    Study of popular music of the mid- to late-twentieth century, showing how music reflects the past and present. The use of Greenlandic languages in song lyrics for entertainment purposes as well as for political situations expresses the need for autonomy, especially through the music and lyrics of the band Sume.

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  • Olsen, Poul Rovsing. Intervals and Rhythm in the Music of the Eskimos of East Greenland. Proceedings of the Centennial Workshop on Ethnomusicology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 19–23 June 1967. Copenhagen: Dansk Folkemindesamling, 1969.

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    Study of the music of the community of Angmagssalik (now known as Tasiilaq) in the mid-20th century. Exploration of local concept of intervals and rhythm, and brief commentary on the use of song contests as a means of conflict resolution and shamanistic use of drums.

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  • Olsen, Paul Rovsing, and Michael Hauser. “Greenland.” In Grove Music Online. New York: Oxford University Press.

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    Brief overview of sources for beginning research into Indigenous Greenlandic musical styles. Includes two sample musical transcriptions demonstrating representative music from eastern Greenland and Thule in northern Greenland. Available by subscription.

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  • Otte, Andreas. “Popular Music from Greenland: Globalization, Nationalism and Performance of Place.” PhD diss., University of Copenhagen, 2014.

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    Explores the connections between popular music and place, offering historical accounts of musical styles in Greenland, promotional strategies used by local bands, audience consumption of music, and the framing of musical activities within nation-building discourse.

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Sápmi

Sápmi (also spelled Sábme and Saemie) is the cultural region in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia that is the homeland of Saami (also spelled Sámi), who are recognized and protected under international conventions pertaining to Indigenous peoples. Arnberg, et al. 1969 focuses on traditional joik, or Saami music, in collaboration with an Indigenous linguist. Ahlbäck and Bergman 1991 examines the Saami shaman drum, with multiple perspectives from different disciplines. Jones-Bamman 2001, Angell 2009, Ramnarine 2009, and Hilder 2015 draw attention to some of the ways in which Saami adopt nontraditional styles, such as symphonic and popular music, to express identity, claim relationship to place, relate history, and inspire activism for human rights. Diamond 2007 introduces the idea of Saami-controlled representations of identity in media. Krumhansl, et al. 2000 discusses cognition in regards to some unique qualities of sounds inherent in joik.

  • Ahlbäck, Tore, and Jan Bergman, eds. The Saami Shaman Drum: Based on Papers Read at the Symposium on the Saami Shaman Drum Held at Åbo, Finland, on the 19th–20th of August 1988. Åbo, Finland: Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History, 1991.

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    Nine essays presented at a symposium that deal with the histories, usage, and importance of the Saami shaman drum. Includes works by Åke Hultkrantz, Håkon Rydving, Eero Autio, Inger Zachrisson, Bo Lundmark, Rolf Kjellström, Bo Sommarström, and Rolf Kristoffersson.

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  • Angell, Synnøve. “Davvi Šuvva 1979: Being Sámi, Becoming Indigenous: Vocal and Musical Manifestation of Sámi and Indigenous Movement.” MA thesis, University of Tromsø, 2009.

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    A study of the origins and events of the Davvi Šuvva music and culture festival in northern Sweden in the 1970s. Shows the importance of vocal musical expression as a means of building a Sámi movement for sovereignty.

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  • Arnberg, Matts, Israel Ruong, and Håkon Unsgaard. Yoik. Stockholm: Sveriges Radios Förlag, 1969.

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    Catalogue of joik recorded by the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation in 1953 and 1954, with transcriptions of Sámi lyrics translated into Swedish and English, and commentary on each joik. Includes an essay by Sámi linguist Israel Ruong regarding the aesthetics of joik and its embodiment in different forms.

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  • Diamond, Beverley. “‘Allowing the Listener to Fly as They Want To’: Sámi Perspectives on Indigenous CD Production in Northern Europe.” The World of Music 49.1 (2007): 23–48.

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    Examines how Sámi use media as a way of defining relationships to people, places, and animals and of creating a national literature for Sámi in sound. Interviews with Sámi recording artists illustrate the difficulties of the recording studio as well as the benefits, such as the ability to make Sámi culture more visible.

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  • Hilder, Thomas R. Sámi Musical Performance and the Politics of Indigeneity in Northern Europe. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

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    Exploration of contemporary Sámi music as a vehicle for politics and performance of place and identity, including traditional joik and joik combined with popular music forms, recordings, use of Sámi language, performance at festivals, and music as a means to connect with global indigeneity.

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  • Jones-Bamman, Richard. “From ‘I’m a Lapp’ to ‘I Am Saami’: Popular Music and Changing Images of Indigenous Ethnicity in Scandinavia.” Journal of Intercultural Studies 22.2 (2001): 189–210.

    DOI: 10.1080/07256860120069602Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Documents Saami popular music since the 1960s as a vehicle for expressing ethnic identity. Also discusses how Saami musicians negotiate recording and broadcast media as a means of initiating and promoting social change in local communities.

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  • Krumhansl, Carol L., Pekka Toivanen, Tuomas Eerola, Petri Toiviainen, Topi Järvinen, and Jukka Louhivuori. “Cross-Cultural Music Cognition: Cognitive Methodology Applied to North Sami Yoiks.” Cognition 76.1 (2000): 13–58.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0010-0277(00)00068-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Because of the unique qualities of Sámi joik, these researchers used joik to examine cognition of musical expectancy for melodic continuations among a variety of listeners, including Sámi listeners familiar with the culture and non-Sámi listeners both familiar and not familiar with the culture.

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  • Ramnarine, Tina K. “Acoustemology, Indigeneity, and Joik in Valkeapää’s Symphonic Activism: Views from Europe’s Arctic Fringes for Environmental Ethnomusicology.” Ethnomusicology 53.2 (2009): 187–217.

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    Ramnarine uses the symphonic work of Nils-Aslak Valkeapää to reveal Indigenous conceptions of joik and its use as a political statement in “symphonic activism” refuting colonial and modern-day state discourses on nature, time, and histories.

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Russia

At least forty-one groups of minor Indigenous peoples are legally recognized in Russia, plus many unrecognized groups, with widespread variations in cultural arts, languages, and worldviews. While Ammann 1993 and Nattiez 1999 discuss vocal games on the Chukchi Peninsula in the Russian Far East, Ojamaa 2005 introduces related vocal soundings of Nganasan of the Taymyr Peninsula in the Siberian Federal District. Johnston 1976 gives an overview of music from the Chukchi Peninsula and discusses its relations to Alaska Native musics. Keeling 2001 introduces archival sound recordings from the Jesup North Pacific Expedition of 1897–1902, and Miller 2004 extends that information in a dissertation exploring the processes of repatriating those recordings a century later. King 2009 explores ideas of authenticity in Koryak cultural representation in contemporary dance performances, and Ventsel 2004 discusses ideas of identity presented in popular music in Sakha.

  • Ammann, Raymond. “Pic-eine’rkin: Throat Singing on the Chukchi Peninsula.” Études/Inuit/Studies 17.2 (1993): 63–72.

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    Documentation and descriptive analysis of “throat-singing” vocal games (pic-eine’rkin) in the Russian Far East, noting their relationships with vocal games in other locations, such as Canadian Inuit katajjaq and Japanese Ainu rekkukara. Preliminary study for the author’s dissertation (University of Bern) in 1994 on the same topic.

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  • Johnston, Thomas F. “Siberian Eskimo Music.” Journal of Asian and African Studies 11.3–4 (1976): 208–214.

    DOI: 10.1177/002190967601100307Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents music traditions from the East Cape of Chukotka, observing the effects of colonization on the region in general and on the music specifically. Discusses musical relationships with Alaska Native cultures and other Indigenous traditions from Asia.

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  • Keeling, Richard. “Voices from Siberia: Ethnomusicology of the Jesup Expedition.” In Gateways: Exploring the Legacy of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, 1897–1902. Edited by Igor Krupnik and William W. Fitzhugh, 279–296. Washington, DC: Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 2001.

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    Inventory, bibliography, and review of Siberian music recorded by Waldemar Jochelson and Waldemar Bogoras, members of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition of 1897–1902. Discusses musical samples from Koryak, Tungus [Even], Yukagir, Yakut [Sakha], Chukchi, and Siberian Yupik peoples. Duplicate recordings are held at the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University.

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  • King, Alexander D. “Dancing in the House of Koryak Culture.” Folklore (Estonia) 41 (2009): 143–162.

    DOI: 10.7592/FEJF2009.41.kingSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores ideas of authenticity, individuality, and semiotics of dance using examples from the performing arts in Kamchatka in the late 1990s. Ideas presented here are developed further in the author’s book Living with Koryak Traditions (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011).

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  • Miller, Thomas Ross. “Songs from the House of the Dead: Sound, Shamans, and Collecting in the North Pacific, 1900–2000.” PhD diss., Columbia University, 2004.

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    An ethnohistorical study of recorded sound, using samples collected on wax cylinders during the Jesup North Pacific Expedition of 1897–1902. A century later, the author analyzes the theory and practice of shamanic sound, returns the recordings to descendants, and examines tradition reinterpreted by succeeding generations.

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  • Nattiez, Jean-Jacques. “Inuit Throat-Games and Siberian Throat Singing: A Comparative, Historical, and Semiological Approach.” Ethnomusicology 43.3 (1999): 399–418.

    DOI: 10.2307/852555Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Exploration of the meaning behind vocal games as performed by Canadian Inuit (katajjaq), Japanese Ainu (rekutkar), and Russian Far East Chukchi (pič eynen).

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  • Ojamaa, Triinu. “Throat Rasping: Problems of Visualization.” The World of Music 47.2 (2005): 55–69.

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    Presentation of Nganasan vocal soundings on the Taymyr Peninsula of northern Russia, with a discussion of dance music, problems and solutions of notation including spectral analysis, and making meaning in music.

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  • Ventsel, Aimar. “Sakha Pop Music and Ethnicity.” In Properties of Culture—Cultures as Property: Pathways to Reform in Post-Soviet Siberia. Edited by Erich Kasten, 67–85. Berlin: Reimer, 2004.

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    Discusses popular music cultures of Yakutsk and connections to Sakha ethnicity, with examples from light entertainment music, youth-oriented music, Sakha rock music, and folk music.

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