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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date

2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Donna J. Hess

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to fill-in a gap within powwow literature: little has been written on one of the main ingredients, the drum singers. What is the significance of this role in the singer's life, and how does he adapt contemporary American life responsibilities with a traditional American Indian roles? In this exploratory study, twenty eight traditional powwow singers were interviewed during the powwow season, summer 1999, in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. A role theory perspective, especially focusing role making and role taking, provided the theoretical framework that guided this study. Qualitative methods were used in this study. In-depth interviews, observation and participant observation were used to gather data. The data revealed that the role of a traditional singer is complex, time consuming and without pay. Additionally, major findings showed that drum singers sing to enhance self esteem, and the role affects other family members, communities and tribes. The data show that the vast majority of these men are married, in stable homes with four children. Employment for this group mostly accommodates their role as singer. Tribal traditions are important to them and the continuation of tribal culture.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Drummers (Musicians)
Singers
Indians of North America -- Attitudes
Indians of North America -- Social life and customs
Powwows
Social role

Format

application/pdf

Publisher

South Dakota State University

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