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- Grade 4-6
- Grade 7-9
Wichita is a river song that sings of both quiet, swirling eddies and of rushing currents. It teaches us the importance of finding balance between the movement and the stillness in our own lives and inner worlds. The exact origins of this drum circle song are unknown.
The drum is a sacred object to the Indigenous people, with it comes protocol and responsibility. The drum was gifted to the people by the first woman and the beat represents her heartbeat, because of this women and girls do not sit at the drum – they carry their own drum in their chests.
Learn to picture a natural setting and sing the drum circle song, Wichita.
- Video: Wichita Do Ya
- Optional: drums, rattles
- Bring into your mind what a moving river would look like. Does it go in a straight line? Does it have bends and crooked paths through the land? Is the flow fast or slow or does the speed change as it goes past you? Are there rocks in the river? Rapids? What sounds do you hear as the river goes by? Is it silent? Is it noisy? What do you smell from the river side? Keep this river in mind as you listen to the song, Wichita.
- Listen to video recording of the traditional water song “Wichita”.
- Listen to the song a second time. This time, start to sing along. Repeat the recording until you have learned the song by heart.
- Try to sing the song without the recording now. Use your drum or rattle, or simply tap the beat on your leg.
- Does your picture of a river match the picture of the river created by the water song? What do you think causes you to picture the river as you did in your mind?
- Can you identify the quiet, swirling eddies and the fast, rushing currents of the river in your life and inner world?
- What can you learn from the water and its life path about your own life and experience?
You may want to try another version of this song, which gradually increases with speed until the very last verse, which is then slowed right down and sung very softly. How fast can you sing this song and stay together as a group?
Please refer to the teacher guide or ask your community to learn more about the cultural sensitivities regarding the drum.