Wakantanka Taku Nitawa (Many and Great, O God, Are Your Works)

MinnesotaThis morning’s Earth Day hymn is this famous Native American hymn. #3 in the New Century Hymnal, both verses are given in the original Dakota language as well as in an English translation. Hymnary.org gives just the English translation.

The NCH suggests the 4 quarter note drum throughout. I debated using that since I don’t want to err in the direction of tasteless cultural approbation any more than I already have by using this hymn. But…it seemed to work if done very softly and it gives a sense of forward motion.

The footnotes in the NCH give Joseph Renville, 1842, as having adapted the tune and James Murry, 1877, as having provided the harmonization. Renville helped establish the Lac qui Parle mission in Minnesota and Frazier, a Native American, was a Congregational minister.

Author: Hilton Kean Jones

Composer and performer, retired college music professor, lyricist.

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