Recently, I read a rant about women singers, specifically, women who sit at the big drum with a drumstick and sing. The man who ranted about those of us who sing apparently thinks we should not be singing because we have a moon time. Or that we should not be hitting the drum because we have a menstrual cycle.
This reminded me of a time when my friend and I organized classes which focused on traditional child birthing methods. A man came to the class and proclaimed that he probably knew more about traditional child birthing methods than any woman did. It was laughable. How can a man even think to speak on women’s issues when none of them even have the right equipment?
Back to the woman singer issue, I have been to pow-wows, sun dances and Native American Church meetings where I have witnessed women sitting at the drum, holding a drum stick and singing the songs. I saw nothing wrong with it. In fact, one of the most powerful sun dances I have ever been to is where I saw a woman singer at the drum. Her voice did not chase the spiritual powers away.
Perhaps you will disagree with me but I do not believe our Lakota culture is static. If it was so, then it would not have survived through all the efforts made to kill us. I do believe our culture has evolved and will continue to do so. The only thing which will halt this evolution is our own people who have a problem with the results of that evolution.
Singers are power, pure and simple. We are the medicine. Our voices doctor the people, the Earth and the Universe. The very first note we ever sang is still rippling through the ethers of the cosmos, giving a bit of medicine to everything it permeates. Sacred songs are power too and to me it does not matter whether they were composed 1,000 years ago or 1 month ago.
So if you have the desire to sing, then please do so. Women, young ladies and girls, do not let the arrogant opinions of close minded men stop you from taking your power and picking up that drum stick to sing your medicine. They have no right to judge you because of your menstrual cycle. We need all the healing songs we can get. Pray and sing your healing for those ignorant men who would only desire to see us continue to be subjugated as women.