Bird singing is an oral tradition that has been passed down for centuries among the tribes across the American Southwest. These stories are sung by male members of tribes – from young boys to elders – whose only accompaniment is a gourd fashioned into a shaker. But the threat of COVID-19 has forced these traditions online, in isolation.
Reporter Risa Johnson covered the bird singers and Native American affairs in California as a Report for America corps member. Read her recent dispatch on efforts to increase voter turnout among Native Americans, part of a reporting collaboration with PBS’ American Experience:
In the meantime, catch up on the latest episode: