Songprints: The Musical Experience of Five Shoshone Women
by Judith Vander
University of Illinois Press, 1988
Cloth: 978-0-252-01492-5 | Paper: 978-0-252-06545-3
Library of Congress Classification ML3557.V36 1988
Dewey Decimal Classification 784.751


Songprints explores the musical lives of Native American women as they navigate a century of cultural change and constancy among the Shoshone of Wyoming's Wind River Reservation. Judith Vander captures the distinct personalities of five generations of Shoshone women as they describe their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward their music. Ranging in age from seventy to twenty, the women provide a unique historical perspective on twentieth-century Wind River Shoshone life. 

In addition to documenting these oral histories, Vander transcribes and analyzes seventy-five songs that the women sing--a microcosm of Northern Plains Indian music. As she shows, each woman possesses her own songprint, a repertoire distinctive to her culture, age, and personality, as unique in its configuration as a fingerprint or footprint. Vander places the women's song repertoires in the context of Shoshone social and religious ceremonies as she offers insights into the rise of the Native American Church, the emergence and popularity of the contemporary powwow, and the expanding role of women.

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