Traditional Recordings of Donald Ahdunko

Donald Ahdunko - Mr. Ahdunko is a native Oklahoman who grew up in the Binger and Anadarko Oklahoma areas. Mr. Ahdunko was born in 1926 and is an enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma and also of Caddo Tribal descent. Mr. Ahdunko’s song memories go all the way back to the early 1930’s. He comes from a long line of traditional singers on both the Delaware and Caddo sides.

Mr. Ahdunko is the last person to hold the songs and knowledge of the Delaware Handgame and one of the last to know the Washaneke and Ghost Dance Songs of the Caddo. During the past four years Mr. Ahdunko has taped well over 400 songs and is still coming up with more taped material. The tapes below represent more than 300 different songs

It is has been Mr. Ahdunko’s wish to try and preserve these songs for future generations and to share them with as many people as might be interested. This work spans a lifetime of song-catching and a true appreciation of the beauty of these songs and what they represent to the Indians of the past, present and future. Hopefully this work will continue on into the future and the element of risk associated with losing these songs will diminish.

Some of the tapes are offered for sale and represent the following Dances as remembered or practiced today. Most of the tapes contain songs sung solo by Mr. Ahdunko but occasionally another singer is used. This method lends itself to being very good listening and learning tapes as the clarity of the songs are exceptional. The tapes offer a good value as they are from 45 to 60 minutes long, which are considered long by today’s standards. Although these tapes are "home produced" they are all of excellent quality even though they are not "professionally produced".

Cassette tapes offered from Donald Ahdunko:

Tape 1. Turkey Dance of the Caddo. This tape contains 43 songs and is 43 minutes long. This represents all parts of the Turkey Dance. $10.00

Tape 2. Drum Dance. This tape contains 31 songs and is 58 minutes long. There are 9 Delaware, 15 Caddo and 7 Wichita Drum Dance Songs. $12.00

Tape 3. Caddo Round Dance. This tape contains 48 songs and is 56 minutes long. All four parts of the Caddo Round Dance are represented. $12.00

Tape 4. Caddo Washaneke-part 4 of Caddo Round Dance/Flag Songs of the Caddo and Delaware. This tape contains 24 Washaneke songs. The tape includes the majority of the Washaneke songs known by Mr. Ahdunko. The Flag songs include 3 versions of the Caddo and 1 of the Delaware. The tape is 43 minutes long. $10.00

Tape 5. Woman Dance. This tape contains 34 songs and is 45 minutes long. The "swing and sway", "back and forth" and "dancing" parts are represented. $10.00

Tape 6. Social Dance Songs. This tape includes the Swing, Stirrup, Cherokee, Qaupaw, Bean and Bell Dance Songs. The tape contains 36 songs and is 49 minutes long. $10.00

Tape 7. Ghost Dance/Delaware Handgame. There are 20 Ghost Dance songs and 29 Handgame songs on this tape and it is 56 minutes long. $12.00

Tape 8. Ghost Dance/Morning Dance. This Tape contains 29 Ghost Dance Songs and 24 Morning Dance Songs. The Ghost Dance Songs are different than those in Tape 6, having 12 Caddo songs and 18 Wichita songs. The tape is 56 minutes long. $12.00

Published by Donald Ahdunko and Tom Blanchard

All the tape recordings are copyrighted material.


Descriptions of songs and accompanying dances:

Turkey Dance Songs - The Dance is conducted in the late afternoon and is never sung or danced at night. This is a Caddo dance but the Shawnee, Delaware and Wichita people has also practiced it in this century. According to traditional accounts this is dance performed primarily by the woman as the men returned from battle. Some of the songs tell of their encounters with other Tribes such as the Osage, Tonkawa, Comanche and Cheyenne, therefor these songs are called the "talking songs". There are ten of these songs and they are very hard to sing or interpret. The Dance itself can take up to 45 minutes to complete and is very demanding on the women participants and singers. The dance is conducted primarily in a clockwise movement.

Drum Dance Songs - The taped material contains Drum Dance Songs of the Delaware, Caddo and Wichita Tribes. According to information told to Mr. Ahdunko, the Drum Dance originally started just before the Ghost Dance and was a part of that ceremony. The Delaware songs were originally part of the Delaware Handgame Ceremony, which is quite different than Handgames of today. The Caddo of today use the Drum Dance as the first dance of the night just before the Caddo Round Dance (Caddo 49). The Dance is conducted by the singers carrying the drum around the arena in a large clockwise circle and all participants follow the drum and join in singing.

Caddo Round Dance Songs - This Dance is also called the Caddo 49 by other Tribes in the area. This Dance contains four distinct parts, which are simply named Slow Songs, Fast Songs, Drum Roll Songs and Washaneke Songs. At the present time this dance follows immediately after the Drum Dance. Although mostly conducted today as "social dance" the songs (particularly the Washaneke songs) are of a ceremonial nature to Mr. Ahdunko. The Dance is conducted by the singers carrying around the drum in a very tight circle. Other participants form several circles around the singers and join in singing while circling the drum clockwise.

Woman Dance Songs - These songs and the dance are probably of Delaware or Shawnee origin but practiced also by the Caddo and Kickapoo people and maybe others. The Shawnee use this as a ceremonial dance and the Delaware has a story handed down as to Delaware origin. The dance as known by Mr. Ahdunko is made of three distinct parts and are known as the "swing and sway", "back and forth" and "dancing" parts. These three parts are danced exclusively by the women and the first part should have the women as active participants in the singing. The dance is primarily a counter-clockwise movement. Mr. Ahdunko knows of a forth part where the men join in but at this time the exact songs have not been worked out.

Ghost Dance Songs - Contrary to some belief, the Ghost Dance has been carried on to the present time. The last twenty years has seen a marked decline in practice but the Caddo have carried it on since the 1890’s. Not harassed by the US Government as some of the other tribes, the Caddo and Wichita continued to sing and dance the Ghost Dance. The Caddo Ghost Dance songs have influences of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Wichita and Pawnne Ghost Dance songs and good historical accounts were made during the 1890’s. The dance is a clockwise movement.

Delaware Handgame Songs - The Handgame of the Delaware in western Oklahoma evolved from the ancient practice of the Moccasin Game. When the Moccasin Game was reduced to being only associated with funeral rites the Delaware started the Ceremonial Handgame. Mr. Ahdunko’s family was the last holder of the songs and rites of the Delaware Handgame. The taped material offer songs of this variety and is 30 minutes long. The ceremony also included Delaware Drum Dance songs, which can be found on the Drum Dance tape.

Swing, Stirrup, Cherokee, Bear, Coon and Morning Dance Songs - These are all categorized as social dance songs by present informants. All the dances are performed by both male and female. All are danced in counter clockwise motion. The singers are seated around the drum.

Quapaw Dance Songs - This dance is conducted by the drum being carried around the dance arena and the dancers separated by sex on either side of the drum. The women pass around the drum to the other side to dance with men. Dance partners are switched as each song changes.

Bean Dance Songs – This dance is performed with the head singer forming a single line and proceeding around the dance arena and singing the songs accompanied by a rattle. Shawnee or Delaware origin is suspected. We can find no one other than Mr. Ahdunko who knows this dance and accompanying songs at this time.

Bell Dance Songs – This dance is conducted by the head singer carrying bells for accompaniment and leading one to two lines around the arena in a counter clockwise movement. This dance has the name of Bean Dance and Corn Dance by other Tribes.


For further information on the taped material or for ordering the tapes by mail please contact the following:

Donald Ahdunko
P.O. Box 741
Gracemont, OK 73042


Tom Blanchard
Rt. 1 Box 300
Anadarko, OK 73005
Phone: 405-247-2739


Please include $1.00 per tape for orders by mail.

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