[031] Omaha Beliefs

Omaha Beliefs

Omaha Beliefs


Song was an integral part of Omaha life. Through song, the Omaha approached the mysterious Wakoda; through song he voiced his emotions, both individual and social; through song he embodied feelings and aspirations that eluded expression in words. In one of their ceremonies, the Wa´ wa, "to sing for somebody," songs are one of the chief characteristics.

In this ceremony, the eagle is "Mother." She calls to her nestlings and upon her strong wings she bears the message of peace. Peace and its symbol, the clear, cloudless sky, are the theme of the principal songs. The curlew, in the early morning, stretches its neck and its wing as it sits on the roost, and utters a long note. The sound is considered an indication that the day will be cloudless.

Green represents the verdure of the earth; blue is the color of the sky; red is the color of the sun, typifying life. The eagle is the bird of tireless strength. The owl represents night, and the woodpecker the day and sun. These two birds also stand for life and death.

Wakoda gives to man the sunshine, the clear sky from which all storms, all clouds are absent; in the Wa´ wa ceremony, they stand for peace. In this connection, black storm clouds with their thunder and lightning are emblematic of war.