Weeks 6 & 7 in review

Summer Research Weeks 6 & 7

Week 6: August 9th-15th

Week 7: August 16th-22nd

Since my posts from week 5 were so long that they required three separate entries, I’ll be a bit more brief about my experiences in week 6. This was the last week that I was out in Oklahoma. Over the course of five days we conducted 9 different interviews with speakers from all over the region. I’ll give you a brief idea of what sorts of topics the speakers discussed:


J.P.M. – traditional patchwork clothing, how a turtle shell can split/separate a storm, hollowed-out stump and pounding sticks for pounding grains and meat, winnowing baskets for separating corn

P.F. -hymns, prayers (I loved this interview because I got to ask him a few questions about the hymn-singing tradition. I’ve been really curious to know what happens to hymns when the people who sing them most often pass away. P.F. said that even if the person passes away, the song will continue to be sung within that person’s family, church, etc. It does not die with the person).


J.H.- was chief of Seminole Nation for twelve years, spoke about Creek lands in Mexico, experience as chief

A.B.- hunting, family, fishing, fish kills, gardening, “noodling” (the practice of catching live catfish using your hands and arms as the bait- ow!)


R.S. – grave houses (structures that look like little houses/roofs built over graves) and how to construct them

D.N. – Korean war veteran, talked about his war experience


L.B. -stick ball (a lacrosse-like game), weaving traditional belts, shell-shakers (shakers that dancers attach to their legs that are made out of turtle shells), told the stories of “the whistling dog” and “how rabbit got his short tail”

E.C.- morals, manners, politeness, how to be respectful, messages for future generations of children, hymns


E.F. – for this interview I actually can’t exactly remember what we discussed (since the interview was conducted all in Creek)! But the video of it will be transcribed and translated soon enough, so I’ll let you know then what she talked about 🙂

We said our goodbyes to everyone at the school Friday evening, and on Saturday morning we drove to Oklahoma City to catch our flights home. The two weeks in Oklahoma had come to an end, but I will remember the people I met there and the experiences I had for the rest of my life.


Week 7

The last official week of my summer research I spent continuing to work on the musical notation of more of the hymns. There are 6 volumes of hymns, each with about 15 songs. I am currently about halfway through volume two, but I hope to finish with all 6 by the end of this semester! We have also given the students at the school the task of transcribing and translating several of the videos from volume 1, so I am waiting to continue work on those until I know how many songs from that volume the students plan on taking on.