64). Although it now serves in some ways a different purpose than it did three hundred years ago, the music of the Sioux remains a bedrock of their culture and an active means of establishing for each individual what it means to be a Sioux and, beyond this, what it means to be an American Indian in the post-colonial world.
This paper examines both what the Sioux culture û or rather, cultures û was like before European contact as well as what that culture has evolved into with a focus on the music of this people set within a broader artistic and cultural and even political context. It is probably true that no musical tradition can informatively be discussed in the absence of such a context, but this seems especially true for Native American music, which was learned and performed and understood within a context that included dance and ritual and religious meaning û which in turn included political implications for the colonized people.
After providing some cultural and historical background on the Sioux and on the role of music in American Indian cultures, this paper focuses on the music of the Sioux, relating it to other musical traditions of the regions where the Sioux lived as well as discussing its unique attributes. The final section of this paper examines the Sun Dance and the Ghost Dance as the two most important single types of m