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At powwows you may see women standing behind the men singing at a drum, singing in a slightly higher tone with them. The Lakota call it “Wicaglata” meaning “women backup singers.” The ladies who take part have many reasons including a love of singing, honoring veterans, prayer or fun. These can all be empowering for Native women. What stories are associated with lady backup singers in your tribe? What does it mean to hear a lady’s voice backing the male singers and the drum? Was this tradition passed on to you by a great lady singer?
Nitanis Kit Largo (Ojibwe), recording artist with Canyon Records
Jennilee Rooks (Oglala Lakota) – singer
Grace Gillette Arikara – Executive Director, Denver March Powwow
Break Music: Cihkastesimoh (Shadow Dancing) (song) Young Spirit (artist) Akameyimoh Baby Boy (album)