Cherokee Formula for Song For Painting

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Cherokee Formula for Song For Painting

Yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi.
I am come from above-Yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi.
I am come down from the Sun Land-Yû´nwehi.
O Red Age’yagu´ga, you have come and put your red spittle upon my body-Yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi.
And this above is to recite while one is painting himself.

Explanation of Song For Painting

This formula, from Gatigwanasti, immediately follows the one last given (For going to water), in the manuscript book, and evidently comes immediately after it also in practical use. The expressions used have been already explained. The one using the formula first bathes in the running stream, reciting at the same time the previous formula “Amâ´yi A´tawasti´yi.” He then repairs to some convenient spot with his paint, beads, and other paraphernalia and proceeds to adorn himself for the dance, which usually begins about an hour after dark, but is not fairly under way until nearly midnight. The refrain, yû´nwehi, is probably sung while mixing the paint, and the other portion is recited while applying the pigment, or vice versa. Although these formula are still in use, the painting is now obsolete, beyond an occasional daubing of the face, without any plan or pattern, on the occasion of a dance or ball play.

Cherokee Original


Yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi.
Galû´nlati, datsila´i-Yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi.
Nûndâgû´nyi gatla´ahi-Yû´nwehi.

Ge’yagu´ga Gi´gage, tsûwatsi´la gi´gage tsiye´la skina´dû’lani´ga-
Yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi, yû´nwehi.
Hia-’nû´ atawe´ladi´yi kanâ´hehû galûnlti´tla.

MLA Source Citation:

Mooney, James. Sacred Formulas Of The Cherokees. Published in the Seventh Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology, pp. 301-399. 1886. Web. 20 April 2014. - Last updated on Jun 11th, 2013

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