Post by clarkkimberling on Jun 14, 2011 17:47:13 GMT -5
January 10, 1869, the Rev. Samuel Hinman wrote, was a "bright beautiful day" at the Santee Mission in Santee, Nebraska. He also wrote that "Dowanna...was writing a book which was now nearly done, a history of the religious and superstitious customs of the heathen Dakotas. He is to bring it to-morrow for me to read and revise."
Six days later, Hinman wrote, "I have been...revising Dowanna's history (which I found really very creditable)..."
I hope someone can help me learn more about George Dowanna. Here are a few questions.
(1) Does a copy of Dowanna's book exist?
(2) Online sources record that Dowanna's father was Chief Red Owl (Hehan Duta, 1813-1861) and his mother, Tatehuidewin (1813-1889). What are the documents for these names and dates?
(3) Does a photograph of George Dowanna exist?
(4) Does "Dowanna" have a literal meaning? Was George Dowanna also called George Red Owl?
(5) I have a note that George Dowanna was born 1849, died 4/8/1908, married Emma (Young?) (1850-5/30/1926) at Santee. Is this all correct, and is there more?
(6) It appears that George Dowanna was a highly gifted person. His name occurs as a co-author of a book, and his hymn, "Aya Po," of which he composed both text and tune, was published in a hymnal which is still in use...I'd be delighted to say more about this if anyone asks. His accomplishments lead one to ask about his education.
Post by clarkkimberling on Jul 17, 2011 13:56:19 GMT -5
The Reverend Samuel D. Hinman's wrote in his diary near the end of January, 1869, "I cannot better close this record, than with Dowanna's Missionary Carol, omitted from Epiphany." He then gives the text of George Dowanna's carol in both Dakota and English:
Wicanrpi waxte kin hee Jesus etanhan; Iyoyanpa ska kin, Wanunyakapi Oyaka, Oyaka.
Jesus Christ Wanikiya kin Wowitan tanka, Yuha Hdutanin he Woniya Wakan. Oyaka, Oyaka.
The joy of God Is manifest; From Bethlehem The glad tidings He declares.
The Beautiful star From Jesus, In its bright light We look upon, Declares Him.
Jesus Christ, the Saviour, With great glory Mainifested; Him The Holy Spirit Declares. Amen.
This is probably the earliest surviving version of the text, composed by George Dowanna and sung to a tune composed by George Dowanna. This version differs substantially from the version published years later, in which "Oyaka, Oyaka" was replaced by "Aya po, aya po".
For example, in 1884, the Episcopal church published a hymnal with texts in both languages. The Dakota text includes alphabet characters not available for the following reproduction, which can be compared to the 1869 version shown above:
Wowiyuskin tanka lica wan Christ yutanin ce; Bethlehem etanhan Wotanin-waste, Aya po, aya po.
Han, wicahpi wan wiyakpa, Jesus He etan, Qa iyoyanpa ska Hed otanin ce; Aya po, aya po.
Jesus Christ Wanikiya kin Wowitan waste On ikdutanin qa Woniya use Aya po, aya po. AMEN.
Oh how great the happiness which Christ hath brought to light! Bethlehem now leaving With the news so good, Pass it on, pass it on.
How a star once glowed and sparkled: Jesus, He the cause: And the Pure Light shing, There was manifest. Pass it on, pass it on.
Jesus Christ, the only Saviour, By His Gospel, now Doth Himself reveal: and Bids His Spirit come. Pass it on, pass it on. Amen.
In a 1946 edition of the same hymnal, the Dakota text remains unchanged, but the English is quite different:
How wondrous fair is the glory Christ the Saviour reveals! Shining forth from Bethlehem Peaceful tiding bringing. Send it forth.
Lo! from on high in the heavens Glows the shining star. And this glorious brightness From the Saviour comes. Send it forth.
He shows himself in his glory, Jesus Christ the Lord; And to us who love him He his Spirit sends. Send it forth. Amen.
Regarding the 1869 version, can someone suggest what Hinman meant in reference to Dowanna's Missionary Carol as "omitted from Epiphany"? Is "Epiphany" here a section in the hymnal that Hinman was compiling for use at Santee?
Regarding the specialness of Dowanna's carol, William J. Cleveland wrote (at Pine Ridge, South Dakota on Christmas Day, 1902) in a supplement to the 1884 hymnal:
In the Dakota part, ninety-four of the hymns are original compositions by native Christian Dakotas. Closely literal translations of the first twenty-five of these have been given in the supplement ... With these translations, additional hymns have been introduced in all cases except for Hymn 20, both the words and music of which are original compositions by George Dowanna, and in a peculiar meter unlike anything among our English hymns.
I am preparing an music-history article about Dowanna's hymn and other hymns composed by Dakotas during the 19th century. The article will also describe hymns that were especially influential among Dakotas and/or Lakotas (e.g., hymns associated with Joseph Renville or Philip Joseph Deloria).
Probably most of the published material pertaining to those hymns has found its way into my collection of resources. However, I have not been able to locate much information about present-day use of native composed hymn tunes. Of course, the tune Lacquiparle [every hymn tune has its own name] , probably composed by Joseph Renville, is found in most mainstream American hymnals. But what about Renville's other tunes (named La Framboise and Renville) - are they still sung?
What about the hymn which was central to Deloria's conversion in 1870 - is it ever still sung to the tune which Deloria so cherished as a priest?
And George Dowanna's Hymn No. 20 - has anyone reading these words ever heard it sung?
Post by clarkkimberling on Aug 7, 2011 20:00:05 GMT -5
Shown below is George Dowanna's Epiphany carol, No. 20 in OKODAKICIYE-WAKAN ODOWAN QA OKNA AHIYAYAPI KTA HO KIN, published in 1894.
Perhaps Dowanna's harmonization was the very sparse one published in a 1922 folk-song collection - consisting of a single note (D in the middle of the bass clef, as a half-note on the first beat of each measure). The resulting melody (with vestigial drumbeat) is much more attractive than the harmonization shown here - where the harmonizer's name is misspelled - he was William W. Rousseau, organist at Church of the Holy Cross in Troy, New York.
The hymnal from which Dowanna's carol was copied is accessible via Google Books. The first edition to include music was this one, to be followed by others. The 1951 edition, sometimes called the "green book," is still in use. I wish someone would write to tell us that they have sung from the green book and they have heard No. 20.
Here is a link to the title page of the 1894 hymnal:
The above introductory pages are interesting in part for the people's names, which Santee researchers will recognize. One of the names, of course, is George Dowanna. Another name (on the Bishop's page) that deserves recognition is Mrs. Jessie W. Cook. The letter to Bishop Hare indicates that it was she who arranged the Dakota Church Hymnal, with Tunes, Chants, etc. My impression is that Mrs. Cook was well trained as a musician. Does anyone know more about her? Has she been overlooked by historians?
Post by clarkkimberling on Aug 16, 2011 15:01:23 GMT -5
Earlier, I mentioned that George Dowanna's melody appears in a 1922 collection of folk songs. Here are some details.
In 1922, Florence Hudson Botsford published a book, Songs of the Americas, and included under the name "Aya Po" the Dowanna's melody which, as far as we know, was first published in the 1894 hymnal, with facsimile shown above. Now, here is a facsimile of Dowanna's melody from the Botsford collection:
Used by Permission of G. Schirmer, Inc.
The Botsford collection was copyrighted in 1922 by the YWCA, and copyright was assigned to G. Schirmer, Inc. in 1929, with republication in 1930. The 1922 edition is rare, but you can glean details from one of the owners: www.chipublib.org/search/details/cn/2113002
"Aya Po" is not the only Dakota song in the book. Two members of the Deloria family are also represented:
AT PARTING, as sung by Ella Deloria
GAME SONG, as sung by Vine Victor Deloria
THE LOVE SIGNAL (Dakota Tribe)
MARRIAGE SONG, as sung by Vine Victor Deloria
It has already been mentioned that Dowanna probably knew Philip Joseph Deloria (Tipi Sapa, a Yankton chief and Episcopal priest, son of Frank Deloria [Saswe, also known as Cecahina, a Yankton chief]). Philip Joseph Deloria was the father of Ella Deloria (1888-1971) and Vine Victor Deloria, Sr. (1901-1990), also an Episcopal priest. (Much has been written by and about members of the Deloria family -- zia.aisri.indiana.edu/deloria_archive/about.php?topic=ella .)
Yankton Mission, South Dakota, was less than forty miles from Santee Mission, Nebraska. The first mention of Dowanna's "Aya Po" at Santee was in 1869. Yankton Mission records show that Philip Joseph Deloria was baptized on Christmas day, 1870, and his father, on Christmas day, 1871 (and that Philip was born on Christmas day, 1852.) The point is, again, that it seems likely that George Dowanna knew Philip Joseph Deloria.
Clark: I will try and answer your questions. The second post of yours contains the true English translation. Aya = to take, Po = a command to many people. In other words take the good news of God.
George Dowanna is his English name. Hinhanduta (note the correct spelling) Hinhan = owl, Duta = scarlet. Scarlet Owl is his Indian name (not Red Owl, which would be Hinhansa) Dowanna = Song or George Song (Dowan = song, Na = familiarity[ kind of like everyone knows Mr. Song.]
To locate the book or perhaps a manuscript written by George, I would locate the Rev. Samuel Hinman Papers. They could be located in a number of repositories such as the Nebraska Historical Society. I would Goggle Hinman, Episcopal, George Dowanna, etc.
As far as locating information on George and his wife I would find the website called "Oyate", and post your genealogy questions there. Hope this helps, Louie
Post by clarkkimberling on Aug 24, 2011 16:06:34 GMT -5
Thanks. The information about the name Dowanna as song+(everyone knows) is especially good for my project, because it concentrates on Dowanna's song. Do I have this correct... that the name Dowanna was, in keeping with custom, given to him prior to manhood when his gift for song had made itself known within his community?
Your advice regarding Dowanna and his wife led to my contacting Vicky Valenta, a frequent contributor to Oyate Research Center. Vicky sent me many useful document copies. She has a Facebook site with thosands of Santee records:
There, George Dowanna Redowl is listed in an 1890 census as father, age 41, along with his wife Anpetuomaniwin (Emma) and three children. What does Emma's Indian name mean?
My understanding is that Dowanna and some others were permitted to return to Minnesota, where he lived his last years and was buried. I would like to know more about the "permission" - when was it granted, to whom, etc.
Clark: George's last name just means "Song". Leave off "every one knows who is being refered to". The name Dowanna was probably part of a longer name that belonged to his father but shortened for school purposes. In your search you probably will turn up his fathers name. Later, Louie
Post by clarkkimberling on Sept 17, 2011 10:50:45 GMT -5
Thank you, Sara. There is another account somewhat like yours. It can be found by typing the following, including quotation marks, into Google:
"One year following Chief Red Owl's death"
The full sentence:
"One year following Chief Red Owl's death, members of his family and extended family participated in the Dakota War of August 1862. In the months following his war, members of Red Owl's family were sentenced to prison and exile at the Santee Reservation in Nebraska."
This is the final sentence in a fascinating account of Chief Red Owl, written by Edward M. Red Owl.
As you can see, it implies that Santee had a prison and that members of the Red Owl family were exiled at Santee. Can someone verify that there a prison at Santee?
Your reference to George's imprisonment at Camp McClellan seems quite plausible, as George (and his father) were known to Bishop Whipple, who was involved with the Mankato tragedy. Indeed, George was buried in the Bishop Whipple Cemetery near Morton, Minnesota. For more about Bishop Whipple, see
Post by clarkkimberling on Oct 10, 2011 16:36:38 GMT -5
It appears that insights regarding George Dowanna's name and his imprisonment in Iowa can be gained from a description of Charles Eastman's father, found in Raymond Wilson's book, Ohiyesa: Charles Eastman, Santee Sioux. From page 16:
Ohiyesa's life suddenly changed with the appearance of his father. Instead of being hanged, he was one of the fortunate "hostiles" whose execution sentence was changed by President Lincoln to three year's imprisonment at the federal penitentiary in Davenport, Iowa. While in confinement, Many Lightnings fell under the influence and teachings of Dr. Thomas S. Williamson and Stephen R. Riggs. They converted Many Lightnings to the Christian religion, and he took the Christian name of Jacob and the surname of his dead wife, Eastman...
After his release from prison in 1866, Jacob was placed on the Santee Reservation, near the mouth of the Niobrara River, in northeastern Nebraska...
There is a record (can someone confirm it?) that George Dowanna was born in 1849. If that year is correct, then in the year of the sentencing for Davenport prisoners, George was about fourteen years of age and his age was recorded erroneously at the time of the pardon, January 20, 1866, in Davenport, for in the list (reference below), his name -- or at least, his family name -- appears as follows:
No. 126, age 41, Hinhan-duta. Scarlet owl
Regarding the name of Charles Eastman's father, the 1866 list shows this:
No. 79, age 40, It-wakanhdi-ota. Many lightnings (forked) in face.
(The total number of persons in the list is 177.)
It seems likely that many Dakota took alternative names during the 1860s. Many Lightnings's taking of another name suggests that Hinhan-duta may have done likewise, perhaps in connection with imprisonment and conversion.
Here is a final note. Charles Eastman was born near Redwood Falls, Minnesota, in 1858. George Dowanna, it appears, died near Redwood Falls in 1908.
Reference: Outbreak and Massacre by the Dakota Indians in Minnesota in 1862, edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann, Heritage Books, 2001; based on the account published by Marion P. Satterlee in 1925.