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Dena’ina K’eliga: Songs

Dena’ina music remains a source of community pride and holds great potential in bilingual education. There are at least seven types of Dena’ina song: funeral songs, potlatch dance songs, paddling songs, hunting songs, good luck songs, gambling songs and love songs. Recently there have also been a number of English songs translated into Dena’ina. The distinct rhythmic patterns in dance and solo songs are characteristic of Dena’ina music. The scale of the melody in song varies; dance songs tend to have a pentatonic (5-tone) scale, whereas mourning songs have a heptatonic (7-tone) scale. Dena’ina songs use both songwords and vocables. You can read more about Dena’ina Song Tradition by reading Music of the Tanaina Indians of South Central Alaska - found in the Dena’ina Qenaga Digital Archive.<