"Throughout history, across all cultures, music has been used for celebration, inspiration, storytelling, and even to express sorrow. For Native Americans, music and history are tightly interwoven. A tribe's unique heritage is constantly told and retold through songs that link the generations and preserve culture and tradition.
Across California, Native Americans still play the music of their ancestors, even as they add to it. Some traditionally use the power of their voices, such as the Tachi Yokuts tribes of San Joaquin Valley and the Paiute of the Mono Lake region. Other tribes craft musical instruments from their native land, such as Salinan bird bone whistles; the Chumash clapperstick, or wansak', made from elderberry wood; and the Kumeyaay tribes of San Diego County, who sing beautiful bird songs using gourd or tortoise-shell rattles filled with native palm seeds.
For countless generations, California tribes have sung songs for love, war, hunting and fishing, nature, curing the sick and coming of age. From Paiute game songs, to Chumash songs that teach children morals, to Miwok songs that were considered as personal as an individual's belongings, music celebrates our beliefs and origins. Most important, our Native American music has helped keep our traditions and stories alive for future generations."
Get the Story:
San Manuel Chair Carla Rodriguez:
California's first people live in songs
(The San Bernardino County Sun 9/22)
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