"Songs of My Elders" is a compilation of songs which were taught to me by my Elders. 50 years in the future I want the songs of my Elders to still be heard by the youth. Our songs, our language, our lands and our ceremonies are part of our beautiful culture and who we are as Anishinaabe people." - Alo White
1.Traditional Healing Song is a song from Lake of the Woods region. The late Elder Bella Hunter from Manitou Rapids always asked me to so sing this for her. Nanokaashiik means hummingbird in the old language and that was Bella's Anishinaabe name.
2. Traditional Song / Clifford Skead (Wauzhushk Onigum, Ontario) the words "Ogitichitaa indigo Anishinaabeg" means "The Anishinaabeg called me a spirit from the sky"
3. Healing Song / Tommy White (Naotkamegwanning, Ontario). This song was sung for the late elder Joan Morrison, in Lac La Croix for her healing. The lyrics are "wiinge goshe gaagii zhawenimigonaanig / ezhechigwinge/egawaaba'miigonaaniig." The words translate as "they will love us/ for what we do / they will look after us."
4. Old Time Powwow / Alphonse and Frank White (Naotkamegwanning, Ontario). This is the type of song that was sung in the 1970's and comes from Lake of the Woods region.
5. Ceremonial Song by my late dad Alphonse and my late uncle Frank. This song was sung at specials and memorials during the big powwows back in Whitefish Bay during the 1970's. The words translate to "this drum / this little boy / it really sounds good / this little boy drum."
6. Traditional Rounddnace / Roy McDonald (Wabaseemoong, Ontario). Roy was a close friend of my dad and used to come to Whitefish Bay with his traditional drum group in the 1970's. This group consisted of elderly men. Roy would be called on to say the words to open the powwow for the blessing of the food. His songs were old style powwow songs which brought healing to the dancers and visitors. The old men always told us to sing and retain these songs. When those old men sang, the whole arena would fill up as everybody used to come and dance.
7. Traditional Intertribal Song / Eugene Stillday (Ponemah, Minnesota). The words say "they will say I'm crazy for stealing a woman from Ponemah." Long ago Ponemah and Whitefish Bay shared community festivities in song, dance and trade. There is a long history of connection between these two communities. When my great grandmother was a little girl she jumped on a sleigh and hid all the way to Ponemah. She was raised there and married into the Kingbird family. That is why my parents always told us to love the Kingbirds from Ponemah because they are our relations.
8. Honour Song/ Jack Starr (Sagkeeng, Manitoba). Jack and his family always came to Lake of the Woods region for powwows and ceremonies. He was loved and respected by many people. His Anishinaabe name was Waabshkii Mi'ingun. The words translate as "I see the spirit of the white wolf / he is coming to heal me / I see him coming / white wolf is coming to love me."
9. Traditional Song / Alphonse and Tommy White (Naotkamegwanning, Ontario). This song was sung at the big powwows in Whitefish Bay in the 1980's. The words say "the spirits will think of us."
10. Traditional Healing Song / Alphonse White (Naotkamegwanning, Ontario). This is a really old song my dad used to sing at traditional gatherings. He told me his grandfather used to sing it.
11. Traditional Song / Walter Redsky (Iskatewizaagegan, Ontario). I visited Walter in 2010 in Thunder Bay and recorded him singing many songs. He told me then, "you have to sing these old songs so that they don't forget. Put them on tape for your great great grandchildren." The words say "our Creator / he is the one who owns everything / he owns this day and we are asking for a good day in a humble way."
12. Traditional Song / Alphonse White (Naotkamegwanning, Ontario). This song is embedded in my memory. As a very little boy of about three I remember sitting beside the big drum on the ground looking up at my dad and my uncles as they sang. The songs speaks about the time of struggle around the 1940's and 1950's when ceremonies had to be hidden in the houses away from the Indian agent and the preacher. The community would gather for ceremonies when the preacher and the Indian agent were away. The words say "I will never part with this sacred item I cherish / what the Creator has given me."
13. Healing Song / Steven Bird (Naotkamegwanning, Ontario). My late uncle Steven's Anishinaabe name was Haniimackamiganoong. He knew many songs, ceremonies and customs. In ceremony he didn't sign it four times through. One time I recall he sang it 18 "starts". He told me at that time to sing these songs in honour and memory of my spirit helpers. "They never let you down in times of difficulty," he said, "they love you." It was the way he honoured his spirit helpers. He told me to sing this song in my ceremonies and as I sing it to think about my spirit helpers, my gifts and my items and not to ignore them.
14. Healing Song / Baptiste Bird (Naotkamegwanning, Ontario). Baptiste's Anishinaabe name was Saabatiis. He was my Auntie Maggie's dad. My family went to him as he was a very spiritual traditional healer. The words to this song say "at the sound of my drum / I talk to the Creator in the universe."
15. Powwow Song / Joseph BigGeorge (Naongashiing, Ontario). Joseph used to sing this song at the traditional powwows in the Treaty 3 region. It is in honour and memory of Joseph that I asked his family to record this song on this CD.