WASHINGTON — A 65-year-old episode of a radio show about American Indians that aired out of Norman was announced Wednesday as an entry into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, an exclusive selection of sound recordings.
The March 25, 1947, edition of “The Indians for Indians Hour” is one of 25 new entries into the registry. The show aired weekly on the University of Oklahoma's WNAD from 1941 until 1985.
Other registry selections announced on Wednesday include an 1888 recording made for a talking doll at a Thomas Edison company, songs by Dolly Parton, Donna Summer and Prince, and interviews with former African-American slaves.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, “America's sound heritage is an important part of the nation's history and culture and this year's selections reflect the diversity and creativity of the American experience. These songs, words and natural sounds must be preserved for future generations.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Norman, praised the selection of “The Indians for Indians Hour.”
Cole, a Chickasaw, said, “This is a remarkable honor for OU and for our state. The Library of Congress chooses only a very limited number of recordings for their collection, and the selection of ‘The Indians for Indians Hour' radio program recognizes the significance of Oklahoma's unique tribal heritage and culture.
“‘The Indians for Indians Hour' was a special program that helped Oklahoma's Native Americans celebrate and preserve our rich traditions. It's fitting that the program will now be preserved for future generations as an essential part of American history.”
The show's originator and host was Don Whistler, a Sac and Fox known as Chief Kesh-Ke-Kesh. According to the Library of Congress, the show featured American Indian music and cultural exchange featuring guests and music from 18 tribes reached by the station's signal. Whistler would only play Indian music, and the only non-Indian guests allowed on the show worked for Indian Services.
Whistler hosted the show until his death in 1951; later hosts included Boyce Timmons, Elton Yellowfish, David Timmons and Sammy “Tonekel” White, the Library of Congress said.
The program selected for the registry is one of 320 known to be in existence and features news of a recent powwow and songs praising Indian war veterans sung by a group of Kiowa war mothers, according to the Library of Congress.
Each year, 25 recordings that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” are selected for the registry. There are now 350 recordings in the registry.
AT A GLANCE
Library of Congress' National Recording Registry
Here is a list of the recordings announced Wednesday:
1. Edison Talking Doll cylinder (1888)
2. “Come Down Ma Evenin' Star,” Lillian Russell (1912)
3. “Ten Cents a Dance,” Ruth Etting (1930)
4. “Voices from the Days of Slavery,” Various speakers (1932-1941 interviews; 2002 compilation)
5. “I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart,” Patsy Montana (1935)
6. “Fascinating Rhythm,” Sol Hoopii and his Novelty Five (1938)
7. “Artistry in Rhythm,” Stan Kenton & and his Orchestra (1943)
8. Debut performance with the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (Nov. 14, 1943)
9. International Sweethearts of Rhythm: Hottest Women's Band of the 1940s (1944-1946)
10. “The Indians for Indians Hour” (March 25, 1947)
11. “Hula Medley,” Gabby Pahinui (1947)
12. “I Can Hear It Now,” Fred W. Friendly and Edward R. Murrow (1948)
13. “Let's Go Out to the Programs,” The Dixie Hummingbirds (1953)
14. “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1954, 1958)
15. “Bo Diddley” and “I'm a Man,” Bo Diddley (1955)
16. “Green Onions,” Booker T. & the M.G.'s (1962)
17. “Forever Changes,” Love (1967)
18. “The Continental Harmony: Music of William Billings,” Gregg Smith Singers (1969)
19. “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Vince Guaraldi Trio (1970)
20. “Coat of Many Colors,” Dolly Parton (1971)
21. “Mothership Connection,” Parliament (1975)
22. Barton Hall concert by the Grateful Dead (May 8, 1977)
23. “I Feel Love,” Donna Summer (1977)
24. “Rapper's Delight,” Sugarhill Gang (1979)
25. “Purple Rain,” Prince and the Revolution (1984)