PQR: Poems, Quotes, Readings

"Dakota Hymn" / Lacquiparle

by Joseph R. Renville (1842), paraphrased by R. Phillip Frazier (1929).

Wakantanka taku nitawa
tankaya qaota;
mahpiya kin eyahnake ca,
makakin he duowanca.
Mniowanca sbeya wanke cin,
hena ovakihi.

Many and great, O God, are your works,
Maker of earth and sky;
Your hands have set the heaven with stars;
Your fingers spread the mountains and plains.
See, at your word the waters were formed;
Deep seas obey your voice.

Your will, mysterious and so strong,
Brings growth to all the earth.
Food for our souls and clothing to wear
Are like your cup that blesses and fills.
Provide for us each day of our lives
Sufficient for our needs.

Grant unto us communion with you,
O star-abiding One;
Come unto us and dwell here with us,
With you are found the gifts of life,
Bless us with life that has no end,
Eternal life with you.

That day you came to dwell on the earth,
Bringing us all great joy!
The nations scattered over the world;
To them you gave the light of all life,
O Lord, O Compassionate One,
We offer praise to you.

Wakantanka / "Many and Great". Words & Music: Joseph R. Renville (1779-1846); first appeared in the "Dakota Odawan", also known as "Dakota Dowanpi Kin" (Boston, 1842). Of the hymns published in that book, this is the only one for which the original melody is known to have been a traditional Native American tune.


"The tune LACQUIPARLE means 'lake that speaks,' and is the tune sung by the Dakota Indians as they escorted their dead to their final resting place." -- William J. Reynolds.
"This song was sung by thirty-eight Dakota Indian prisoners of war as they went to the gallows at Mankato, Minnesota, on December 26, 1862, in the largest mass execution in American history." -- Sidney Bird. (The time scheduled for the execution was 10:00 AM.)

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URL of current page:http://www-personal.umich.edu/~pfa/poemquot/wakantanka.html
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Last Update: February 1, 2003