American Indian chants.

Are authentic indian chants words, or not?
“Authentic” meaning chants I heard at a pow wow and have heard on american indian populated (mostly PBS) tv programs. Indian people do sing songs, but they usually sound different.
I know that chants as sung in one’s mantra in TM practice need not be words, and if I (try to) sing along, the effect is similar.

All the Native songs/chants I’ve heard at powwows and on powwow music CDs have intelligible lyrics. (having been translated for me of course) However, I’m just a white chick, so YMMV.

The songs all have words. They may also have filler syllables, but there are intelligible lyrics.

Thanks, all. I think I’ll buy a CD that includes the lyrics.

Using this simple Google search, I came across this web site of Kiowa songs, some with translated lyrics. The sample songs are supposed to go with this book.

Thanks, Duckster. I can, generally, hear the words in those songs that have words. Not the translations, of course, but the word forms. Some are indeed chants.
I saw on PBS that women in some indian nations have earned the right to drum. That’s a big deal.

Not to quibble with you mangeorge, but I feel compelled to clarify one point, if I may. “Earn the right” is probably not the most accurate term regarding women and drumming. In some Nations, women drum, in others, they do not. In those Nations in which they do not, it is not because they are inadequate to the task. Traditionally, most Nations are not patriarchal, although some few are. As tradition is lost, Indian culture is supplanted by the dominant and NDNs take on the characteristics of the dominant. One example of this would be the patriarchy. It would be erroneous to speak of all indigenous American culture as a monolithic structure of belief of course, but in general the above is accurate.

This is all a significantly different point than your OP and for that, and the subsequent buzzkill of the thread, I apologize.

Also, remember that North American Indians are quite culturally diverse; there is no stereotypical “Indian chant.” It would be like asking a question about the rhyme scheme of Eurasian epics, you know, the Heimskringla, Iliad, Mahabharata, Kalevala, Tungus myth cycle, and all those other stuff that “they” used to believe in. (While this seems exaggerated, it actually is not really – diversity is very close to as great across North America as across Eurasia.)

According to the show I saw, in that nation women traditionally did not drum. But, with the backing of some others, one (and then many) women did indeed earn the right to drum. There was plenty of resistance, which they onercame with persistance and logic.

If you go to a pow wow and have a decent understanding of what people are singing about i.e. corn dance, rain, tree spirits etc…etc… and have someone translatig what you hear, it makes for a much more heightened experience at said pow wows. My wife and I have been going to Pow Wows for a long time, we like many of the plains indian nations and their music, Oglala Sioux come to mind as having some of the most powerful songs I have ever heard…One of the things that make them so powerful in my opinion is their shear age. Some of the songs we heard go back 1500 years.