Kanien'kehaka Song, Tóh-sa' sek-sá : a te-sashen-tho
Date of Issue
September 7, 1993
Folklore, Folk Songs
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Based on illustrations by Allan Cormack Based on illustrations by Deborah Drew-Brook Designed by Ralph Tibbles
One of Canada's authorities on folk music, Edith Fowke, defined folk songs this way: "A genuine folk song is not a song written within recent memory for commercial profit, but rather a song handed down by oral tradition, usually of unknown authorship and found in more than one version - since as with anything passed on by word of mouth or ear, no two people remember it exactly the same way." Canadians have a rich trove of folk music and these important links with our past are now celebrated in four commemorative stamps, each featuring a different song. This is the fourth and last issue in the popular Canadian folklore series. Native music is unquestionably one of the older forms of folk music in Canada, and the fourth stamp in the issue is dedicated to a children's song of the Kanien'kehaka (Mohawk) people of Quebec. Entitled "Onkwa:ri tenhanonniahkwe", or "The Bear will Dance", this song is meant to comfort a child until it goes to sleep. "The Bear will Dance" is followed by a refrain, which says : "Don't cry my child, the bear will come to dance for you." The bear identifies the clan that the child belongs to. A clan is an extended family, based on matrilineal tradition, and in the Kanien'kehata nation there are three clans: the bear, the wolf, and the turtle.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, No. 11, 1993, p. 19-21.
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