Misha’ Sipokni’ (The Old Ground)

Jerod Tate


Performance forces:
top, ten, bar — orchestra (2(picc).2.3(b cl).3(cbsn) – – timp, 2perc, hp, pno – str) — children’s chorus



This work is an oratorio. Synopsis: It was a time of ruin and despair for the two brothers, Chikasha and Chahta, and their families. While praying, God (Aba’ Bini’li), instructed them to lead their families on a migration to a new land in the East. For this journey, God bestowed two gifts. First, He presented a tall, majestic pole (Itti’ Fabassa Holitto’pa’). This pole was to be planted in the ground every evening and, every morning, the people were to travel in the direction it leaned until the day it would finally stand straight. Next, God presented a Sacred White Dog (Ofi’ Tohbi Ishto’). This Sacred Dog would be their guide, protector and teacher during the long and difficult journey. One day, the people arrived upon the banks of a great river, now known as the Mississippi River. The pole still leaned East, indicating for the families of Chikasha and Chahta to cross. The people hesitated, wondering as to how this could be accomplished. In a final act of bravery, the Sacred White Dog challenged the deep, strong waters and perished. Determined to honor the Sacred Dog’s sacrifice, the people crossed the river with success. After a few more days traveling East, the pole stood straight. The Sacred White Dog’s spirit appeared to the brothers and their families and said “My beloved people, you have found your new home. You have honored me by fulfilling this calling. Still, there is one last undertaking. Brothers, your family Houses shall prosper and grow. For this, you will each need an abundant domain. Chahta, you and your family will stay here. Chikasha, you will take your family and move East. Take heart and rejoice in this, for you will always be brothers. Your people will always be cousins.” Prologue The Decision The Journey The Arrival Epilogue  Misha’ Sipokni’