Native American Dance Music

When we say Native American, it usually involves the natives of the United States of America which are composed of the Indigenous people from North and South America and the continental part of the United States, Alaska Natives, American Indian, Native Hawaiians and the Aboriginal people in Canada. The diversity of the Native American culture has contributed to the different music and dance that originated from the tribes within.

Tribe Dance Music

The old traditions of Native Americans involved rituals and ceremonies before conducting activities such as hunting, growing of crops, harvesting, wars and other celebrations – hence the importance of music and dance during the said act. The motility of the dance or act shows its main purpose such as courting, initiation, storytelling, prayer or healing. It could be done privately or publicly – solos or groups – and usually with a leader. A lot of these dances are accompanied by their voices or musical instruments – most common are the drums and rattles.

An example of one Native American religious ritual is the Green Corn Dance. The dance is usually done during the Green Corn Festival which until now is celebrated. The ceremony is done as thanksgiving and so families or the whole tribe is required to dance, the men usually sing the songs in a call-and-answer type and the women have the turtle rattles.

Such ritual is normally done around camp fire. A stomp dance is performed during the Green Corn Ceremony. The name refers to the movement of the dance “stomp and shuffle”. During the dance, participants tend to have a “crazy”, “drunken” way of dancing as an effect of the medicine and the music.

Another interesting Native American Dance is the Hopi Snake Dance. By the name itself, it suggests dancing with a snake while a vigorously stamping the ground. But, it is not just any ordinary dance with a snake in your hand. It requires the snake, alive, to be in their mouths while they dance to honor the Hopi ancestors.

It is actually a rain dance, and yet because they believe that snakes are guardians of the spring, they have to be in the dance too and putting them inside their mouths means relying on them to deliver their prayers to the gods and spirits. The dance is accompanied by chanting which actually composed of their prayers and rattles as an instrument.

It is during summer or when the season becomes extremely dry that the tribe performs the Rain Dance. It is usually done before planting season to ensure that their crops would receive plenty of rain from the gods. It is usually participated by both men and women of the tribe. It is not an ordinary ceremony for each tribe member should wear special accessories such as animal skin and hairs, head dresses, masks and jewelry only during the ceremony.

The pattern of the dance also is different from any other dances for the dancer moves in a zigzag path. They usually made their own rhythmic chants and the pitch of their voice varies depending on their chants. Most of the time, they yell towards the heaven as they spin around a camp fire.