Traditional Lakota Ceremonial Songs

You can download all the song lyrics at the bottom of this page.

These sacred songs are only to be used in Native American Lakota ceremonies, or practicing for those ceremonies. These songs must never be used in any non-Lakota ceremonies - including new-age ceremonies, gatherings or festivals. They must never be used by anyone claiming to be a 'shaman' and the only instrument used with these songs is the hand drum. The only person permitted to conduct sacred ceremony with these songs, is a Lakota medicine man/woman, holy man/woman, heyoka or a pipe carrier and speaker of the traditional Lakota language. Anyone, other than the people just described, that perform any version of a native american sacred ceremony is putting themselves and the participants in grave spiritual danger. Also, these sacred ceremonies must never be mixed with peyote, or any other mind altering substance. Those are the ways of new-age plastic shamans. Learn these 'Lyrics & Helpful Tips' - they will help you get a sense of the pronunciation of the words and how the song is drummed.


LYRICS & HELPFUL TIPS

Website w/ recordings to pronounce Lakota vowels and consonants - Click Here

Vowels

Pronunciation:
A - as in All
An - as in Money
E - as in Hey
I - as in Igloo
In - as in Ink
O - as in Open
On - as (oo) in Moo
U - as in Put
Un - as in soon

consonants

Pronunciation:
C - as in Chop
Č - 2 parts: Ch-oke
H - as in Hope
Š - as (sh) in Shell
Th - t+d sound: Stiff
K - as in Ski
H' - gutteral like Coo

queue's

You may have noticed most songs ending with "yoi (yo)" When you wish to repeat the song again, sing "yoi". When you wish to finish the song, sing "Yo".
Usually the lead singer cues the others to continue or end the song. 
The drum beat you hear with the song is the proper beat or that song. If there is no drum beat, do not drum to that song.


Download Lakota Song Lyrics

The words are separated with (-) dashes to break the word apart so you can hear how that word follows the melody. The Lakota language is ancient, it's only been a written language since the 1840's by non-native missionaries - less than 200 years. So, the translation and meaning of many of the lyrics do not perfectly match any language - some translates directly and some meanings are synthesized as close as possible. This will download a .pdf document with all the song lyrics: