In all my travels throughout the world, I've noticed that most indigenous peoples use drums. Some have singing, some just drum, some use other home made instruments. Next week we have our cultural heritage week where children learn more about their heritage, make things and at night they get to dance the local dances. The only two instruments used are the voice and the drum. They sing songs written by local people or handed down from the grandparents. Every place in Alaska has a different tradition. In this village, the men sit in the front while the women stand behind with the musicians behind. The songs have a strict structure and are played through 5 times. In another place I lived, the men danced standing facing the musicians who sat between the dancers and the audience, facing the dancers. The women when they danced, sat on chairs and used their hands and arms. Other places, both men and women dance standing up.
There was one dance I thought was about babies and it turned out it was about seal hunting. The part I thought was cuddling the baby turned out to be moving meat......LOL. A dance can be written about anything, basketball, hunting, fishing, chewing snuff, karate, soothing the baby, etc. There is one man here, who always dances with the children are out so that he is the worst out there. He is so bad, he has people rolling in the isles in hysterical laughter. They tease him about his "baby" and how the poor child has a broken neck after the dance.
I really don't know the language but when I dance I stand near someone who really knows the dances and follow them. At the end of cultural heritage week, there is a regional dance festival where other villagers will come and dance. Some dancers are funnier than others and everyone has a wonderful time. I will try to get pictures and post them.