A tower bearing the name of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Fort Yates, North Dakota. Photo: Keith Ewing
Arts & Entertainment | National

1928 recording from Standing Rock added to Library of Congress




A recording made on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in 1928 has been added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

The recording is listed as "Standing Rock Preservation Recordings, George Herzog and Members of the Yanktoni Tribe" on the registry. According to the Library of Congress, it consists of nearly 200 "fragile wax cylinders" of songs, both traditional and more modern, that were performed by people connected to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and collected by George Herzog, who was an anthropologist, linguist, and ethnomusicologist.

"This collection tells the extraordinary story of collaboration and indigenous scholarship, archiving and advocacy," the Library of Congress stated.

An entry on ArchiveGrid, an online research tool, offers additional details on the recording. According to the listing, the songs were performed by Watc'i'bidiza, Edward Afraid of Hawk, Two Shields, No-Heart, Fred Luis, Jerome Standing Soldier and Has Tricks, with notes authored by Herzog and Ella Cara Deloria, who was an educator, anthropologist, ethnographer, linguist, and novelist from Standing Rock.

The recording was made "near" Fort Yates in North Dakota, according to ArchiveGrid. Tribal headquarters is in Fort Yates.

A physical version of the recording is apparently deposited at Archives of Traditional Music in Indiana, which grew out of Herzog's collection. The sound quality is described as "fair" on ArchiveGrid.


In total, the Library of Congress added 25 titles to the National Recording Registry. The Standing Rock collection is the second oldest -- newer entries include Rumours, the record-breaking 1977 album from Fleetwood Mac, Le Freak, the 1978 hit single by Chic and Raising Hell, one of the biggest hip-hop releases from Run-DMC.

“This annual celebration of recorded sound reminds us of our varied and remarkable American experience,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The unique trinity of historic, cultural and aesthetic significance reflected in the National Recording Registry each year is an opportunity for reflection on landmark moments, diverse cultures and shared memories—all reflected in our recorded soundscape.”

The description about the Standing Rock recording, provided by the Library of Congress, follows:
Standing Rock Preservation Recordings, George Herzog and Members of the Yanktoni Tribe (1928) The voices of several of the Sioux’s Yanktoni-Dakota band, recorded at the Standing Rock Reservation in 1928, preserve a snapshot of a culture in a moment of great transition. Comprised of nearly 200 fragile wax cylinders, George Herzog’s work documented both old songs, remembered from before the band was relocated to Standing Rock, and modern songs that try to harmonize that past with the life they have found in their new home. Today, Herzog’s scholarship complements and contextualizes these field recordings and contributes to their value as a resource. This collection tells the extraordinary story of collaboration and indigenous scholarship, archiving and advocacy.