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Indigenous Peoples' Literature


Three Lipan Apache Songs

(As Sung by a Lipan Medicine Man
at the turn of the 20th century)

These songs have been hidden from view for more than 80 years. The songs were recorded by a BIA Agent in 1910, in the White Mountians area, just off the Clear Fork River. The name of the Apache Medicine Man who's songs these belong to is long dead. As is Lipan custom, his name is not allowed to be spoken in public. Permission to use these three Apache songs was given to me by a modern-day Lipan Medicine Man.

Daniel Castro Romero Jr., Lipan Apache



The "'Idìyitá" Song
He Makes It Walk Song


djùnà' ái bìdà' tíngè' t' á ìgaì dì gò'
Sun, his doorway outside, White water, four-ply

bè dà' gùnòyè gè' dè yà tc' ìndí dì
By, above, mirage at, he walks, they say.

djígùnà' ái bìjà jé' dá à' dj ' dè yà tc' ìndí d
Sun, his child one day he walks they say.

'ìckî n dá à' dj ' dè yà h dè yà tc' ìndí d
Boy, one day the one who walks, he walks they say.

djùnà' ái bì dùt ' ìjì bìnànt' à' nànt' à' dòxá yò'
Sun, his turquoise his chief, chief never

bì ' ágòdo dí ì' bì dìs' èsts' tc' ìndí
has he trouble with him sound approaches they say

djùnà' ái bè bì' ò' gùnòyè ì' yè
Sun by, before him mirage by

bì' ò' gùnòyè gò' dè yà tc' ìndì
before him mirage forming he walks they say.

nùgùsts' án biìká' 'ìyú ndzìní' dò à'
Earth on top of, witches none

hà bídòl gò' dè yà tc' ìndí d
Can harm him, he walks they say

nùgùsts' án biìká' dé 'ì tc' ' òdàsdjà í'
Earth on top of, people scattered about,

bìyá tì' jò ní bìnàtsé kè s jò ní' bìdlùk jò ní
Their talk good, their thoughts good, their laugther good,

bínà lzé' 'í t' à' dá' jò dí dò bé' ó ltà' gò'
Their property of all kinds, good, uncountable

yèxáidèlà gò dè yà tc' ìndí d
Having been prepared he walks they say.

'ìs' à' nà yái k' è' gòjó gò' yèxáidèlà gò dè yà tc' ìndí d
Long life like, good, having been prepared he walks they say.


The "ìdìyi á" "he make it walk" ceremony and song's sole purpose is to aid children who are slow at learning to walk. Through this song, the offering of prayer and life-long protection from evil is given. This ceremony can be performed for children before twelve months of age to ensure they will walk on or before their first year. When performing this ceremony a man or women can perform the rites. If not done by a close blood relative, then hire a medicine man or medicine woman. The rite takes about ten minutes each night, repeated for four nights under a clear night sky. Give a gift of turquoise, made with downy eagle feathers.



The "Gòjó sí" Song
The Blessing Song for Girls


'ìs' à' nà yái k' è' gòjó 'àná' hòkùs
Long life like, good, moves back and forth

t' á ìgaì bìt ' á' éd yùd 'á lzà tc' ìndí
White water underneath in a circle, it is made, they say.

'ákó gò' t' á ìgaì bìká' nà' íljò jgò 'á lzà tc' ìndí
Then White water, on it, spread across it is made they say.

yò gài sìyùdì 'ìt á' nèz' ágò' 'á lzà tc' ìndí
White shell curved over, beneath it rests, it is made, they say.

gòdìt' ó' bàsxà' híljìj tc' ìndí
Lightning alongside dances, they say.

gòdìt' ó' bèbìk' è nà ìst ' ó tc' ìndí
Lightning by it fastened across, they say.

hí tsát ' ùl bìt' ùl 'á lzà tc' ìndí
Rainbow its rope it is made they say.

t' ádì xì bìtc' ìd bìt ' á' sì tsò z
Black water blanket underneath rests;

t' á ìgaì bìtc' ìd bìt ' á' sì tsò z
White water blanket underneath rests.

'ìs' à' nà yái k' è' gòjó ts' á 'á lzà tc' ìndí
Long life like, good, baby-carrier it is made they say.

djùnà' ái bìnànt' à' bè bìyì' gùdìtní tc' ìndí
Sun, his chief, by, inside it rumbles they say.


The "gojo si" is a "cradle song" ceremony and song whose sole purpose is to aid and provide supernatural powers to baby girls into womanhood. Through this song, the offering of prayer and life-long protection from evil is given. This ceremony is to be performed for baby girls into puberty to ensure their fertility before marriage. When performing this ceremony a man or women can perform the rites. If not done by a close blood relative, then hire a medicine man or medicine woman. The rite includes making a cradle from wood collected by the girl's family, not in their cycle. While making the cradle the song will be sung under a clear night sky. When the song is finished a women or man will place the girl into the cradle and will put prehistoric shell ornaments onto the cradle. The cradle is never to be touched by Mother Earth. It is said to take away the girls fertility. Gifts are of corn or meal. The performers of this song ceremony will receive the equivalent of a life of respect and care.



The "zee tsa lit ni' " Song
The Friendship Prayer


Si' -Zi' bìyì' éd yùd di" di' ?isZa'ni' tc' ìndí
I stand inside a circle man, women they say

'ìs' à' nà yái éd yùd 'á lzà tc' ìndí
Long life in a circle, it is made, they say

bìyì' éd yùd híljìj 'ìs' à' nà yái tc' ìndí
Inside in a circle, dances, long life they say

yèxáidèlà gò dè yà k' è' gòjó zee tsá lit' tc' ìndí d
Having been prepared he walks like good, friends they say

Á bìtc' ìd bìt ' á' ná ná ni? sì tsò z
A blanket underneath mother earth rests

nùgùsts' án biìká' dé ' ì tc' ' òdàsdjà í'
Earth on top of, people scattered about,

bìyá tì' jò ní bìnàtsé kè s jò ní' bìdlùk jò ní
their talk good, their thoughts good, their laugther good,

bínà lzé' 'í t' à' dá' jò dí dò bé' ó ltà' gò'
their property of all kinds, good, uncountable

yèxáidèlà gò dè yà tc' ìndí d
Having been prepared he walks they say

'ìs' à' nà yái k' è' gòjó gò' nànt' à' dòxá yò' bì ' ágòdo dí ì'
Long life like, good, chief never has he trouble

yèxáidèlà gò dè yà tc' ìndí d
Having been prepared he walks they say


The "zee tsa lit ni' " "friendship prayer" song is an offering of prayer and life long protection from evil. This ceremony can be performed in the presents of a scared candle or fire to ensure the spirits will hear your prayers. When performing this ceremony a man or women can perform the rites. If not done by a close blood relative, then hire a medicine man or medicine woman. The rite takes about ten minutes each night, repeated for four nights under a clear night sky. Give a gift of turquoise, made with downy eagle feathers.




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