First edition of what is widely considered the first printed book of music by a Native American, and one of the earliest books published by a Native American about Native American culture.
"INDIAN MELODIES provided an assertion of intellect and culture by a Native American in a time of great prejudice." – Dawnland Voices
Commuck was a member of the Narragansett tribe who joined the Brothertown community in Wisconsin. This collection of Christian hymns was written in homage to Indigenous nations, celebrating Native American culture, history, and famous leaders: over 100 tribes are mentioned, from the Pawnee and the Sioux to the Cherokee and the Mandans. DAWNLAND VOICES magazine describes the importance of Commuck's publication, despite its historical lack of recognition: "Collections of English-American music as well as Native American music have been written and published by white men and women from before Commuck's time to today, but INDIAN MELODIES has been a continual oversight. Commuck's collection, authored by a Native American regarding Native Americans, asserted himself in a world dominated by English psalmody. In the midst of oppression and after years of colonization and Christianization, Commuck's book displays how the oral tradition of songs and hymns asserts Native Americans as academic, creative and religious equals." Scarce on the market, with only one copy appearing at auction in the past 30 years.
Read more: "Indian Melodies (1845) by Thomas Commuck," Indigenous New England Digital Collections, Dawnland Voices Magazine.
New York: G. Lane & C.B. Tippett, 1845. 5.75'' x 9''. Original half sheep, printed paper boards. vii, 8-114,  pages. Contemporary presentation inscription on front fly leaf. Significant wear to spine and corners, front joint starting but firm, boards browned and somewhat stained. Text block lightly toned, with faint foxing.
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