Meskwaki Tribe: Daily Life Songs

Culture | FIND Iowa
May 22, 2024 | 01:55

How do Meskwaki children learn the traditional music of their ancestors? 

Songs are passed down from generation to generation and taught to kids from a young age for a variety of different reasons.


(Meskwaki tribal members dancing a traditional dance.)

[Stephanie Snow] The songs were basically like everyday social songs

[Abby Brown] Okay.

[Stephanie] Lullabies, love songs that could be done on flute as well, hunting and gathering songs.

[Abby] Also cause for celebration.

[Stephanie] Right.

[Abby] Okay.

[Stephanie] But these songs are meant to sort of. . . Some of them are obviously practical, they have practical use because you're gonna put your baby to sleep.

[Abby] Yes.

[Stephanie] The one I was gonna sing today is telling someone muskrats live over there, that you can find them there, right? because we used to trap muskrats to eat.

[Abby] Interesting. So they are functional.

[Stephanie] Everybody knew a song or two or more, you know, and just did them daily.

[Stephanie] I'm going to do a song today that is telling someone where to find muskrats. The Meskwaki used to trap muskrats and that was one of our foods.

(traditional Meskwaki song.)

[Announcer] Funding for FIND Iowa has been provided by the following supporters.

(text on screen Find Iowa, The Coons Foundation, Pella, Gilchrist Foundation)

(text on screen Iowa PBS Education)