Audio Recording Song of Approach from the Wa'wan

About this Item

Song of Approach from the Wa'wan
Contributor Names
La Flesche, Francis, Sr. (Miⁿxa'ska) (White Swan) (Performer)
Fletcher, Alice C. (Alice Cunningham), 1838-1923 (Collector)
La Flesche, Francis, 1857-1932 (Collector)
Created / Published
January 18, 1896
Field recordings
-  This song was collected by Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche. It is included on "Omaha Indian Music: Historical Recordings from the Fletcher/La Flesche Collection" (AFC L71).
-  From the liner notes of the "Omaha Indian Music" album: The ceremony of the Wa'wan or Pipes of Fellowship was performed to cement ties of obligation and friendship between two men of different gens or of different tribes. When Alice Fletcher had recovered enough from her bout with rheumatoid arthritis to be moved, her Omaha friends celebrated her recovery with the performance of the Wa'wan (1893, pp. 35-42, 103-122; 1911, pp. 376-401):
-  The people gathered by scores until between two and three hundred were seated around the central fire that leaped up brightly making the blackened roof of poles shine like polished ebony. Every one was glad and welcomed me with no uncertain word or glance. Soon I heard the cadences of the Ceremonial Song of Approach. I knew the tune, I had been taught it in my sickness, and now I listened understandingly to the familiar strains as they came nearer and nearer until the bearers of the Pipes of Fellowship were seen coming down the long entrance way, waving the feather pendants of the Calumets they bore. As they turned into the lodge the whole people took up the song and I too joined, able at last to hear and comprehend the music that had through all my difficulties fascinated even while it eluded me (1893, p. 9).
-  Francis La Flesche, Sr.'s probable year of birth is 1822. Francis La Flesche, Sr. was the full brother of Joseph La Flesche. He stayed with the Poncas and became a minor chief.
wax cylinder recording
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1948/123: AFS 20,324: 7d
Source Collection
Alice C. Fletcher and Francis La Flesche collection of Omaha cylinder recordings (AFC 1948/123)
American Folklife Center
Digital Id
Online Format

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Credit line

Please cite the source collection title, collection number, and repository, for example:

Alice C. Fletcher and Francis La Flesche collection of Omaha cylinder recordings (AFC 1948/123)

Omaha Indian interviews collection, 1983 (AFC 1983/026)

1985 Neptune Plaza Concert Series collection (AFC 1985/015)

Omaha Powwow Project collection (AFC 1986/038)

Omaha Indian interviews collection, 1999 (AFC 1999/014)

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

La Flesche, Francis, Sr, Alice C Fletcher, and Francis La Flesche. Song of Approach from the Wa'wan. 1896. Audio.

APA citation style:

La Flesche, F., Fletcher, A. C. & La Flesche, F. (1896) Song of Approach from the Wa'wan. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

La Flesche, Francis, Sr, Alice C Fletcher, and Francis La Flesche. Song of Approach from the Wa'wan. 1896. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.