Friday, September 29, 2023

The NRR Project: the Standing Rock Reservation Recordings


Standing Rock Reservation Recordings

Members of the Yanktoni Tribe

Recorded by: George Herzog

Recorded 1928

205 Yanktoni songs

First of all, I could not do better than the explanatoryessay by Daniel B. Reed, as published on the National Recording Registry website. It is concise yet comprehensive, full of all the information you might like to know on the subject.

That being said, it behooves me to take a crack at of at least summarizing this entry’s contents. It consists of 205 songs of the Yanktoni tribe of the Sioux nation, sung by seven members of the tribe, recorded in 1928 by budding (and pioneering) ethnomusicologist George Herzog. The songs range from sacred and ceremonial songs to secular pieces, made contemporaneously with the time of performance.

It seems distinctly ironic to me that the powers that be in the white man’s world first marked native Americans for destruction, subjugated them, and then meticulously preserved and studied the remnants of their culture. This schizophrenic pattern concerning indigenous and minority peoples is a familiar one. Nonetheless, with or without apologies here is a collection of vital memories that otherwise would have been lost forever.

Recorded on wax cylinders, the collection is still in the process of being digitized. Beyond the documentation of a collapsed culture, the material offers insights to scholarly researchers. Above all, it provides a link to the past for the surviving descendant’s of the songs’ singers.

The National Recording Registry Project tracks one writer’s expedition through all the recordings in the National Recording Registry in chronological order. Next up: Blind Willie McTell and ‘Statesboro Blues.’



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