Indian Ate the Woodchuck

As played by Ed Haley from the West Virginia region

Reel or Breakdown in D

From the Southern Appalachians Collection

2 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)


Private recording of Ed Haley released on the album Ed Haley, Volume 1: Forked Deer


This oddly-named tune from blind West Virginia fiddler Ed Haley is incredibly fun and not very difficult (though it can be difficult to play cleanly at speed).  In the recording, Haley played the tune through four times, playing it differently each time.  For learning the basic tune, I recommend the second time through.

As to the title, my own people, the Cherokee Indians, actually did (and still do) eat woodchucks.  These animals are common in our Appalachian mountain homeland, and can sometimes be pests.  In fact, famous Cherokee bluegrass banjo picker Raymond Fairchild has proclaimed that it is "the finest wild meat in the world" and also uses to grease to make a cough tonic.

Here are two YouTube videos of versions of Indian Ate the Woodchuck.  The first of the two is fairly close to Ed Haley's version.

This tune is a member of the following groups:

Dr. Fiddle's Favorite Breakdowns and Reels

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