Our main goal at Dakota Drum Company is to create traditional drums of the highest quality. This means a lot of extra work goes into each one.
It also means you will have something that will last for generations, instead of just a few years. Probably the biggest difference is that we use only hand-scraped buffalo rawhide. This is a labor-intensive job that requires putting each hide on a frame and removing the meat and hair using a traditional scraper.
Most drums today are made with a commercially produced rawhide. This rawhide is made by using lye or other chemicals to remove the meat and hair. The problem is that these chemicals change the rawhide and make it more brittle. That is why it cracks usually after just a few years.
When you use only water and scrape the hides, the rawhide retains all its natural strength and elasticity. As a result, this rawhide will last at least ten times longer than commercially produced rawhide, and of course, we stand behind our products and will repair or replace any drums that might break because of defects in materials and workmanship for a period of one year.
About the Artist: Sonja Holy Eagle
Sonja was born in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, and grew up on the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge reservations. Due to her father's military career, she lived in many locations and stayed with her grandparents quite often.
She spent a great deal of time with her grandfather, James Holy Eagle, who she helped care for until he passed away in 1991. James is on the cover and in the book VISION QUEST by Don Doll, SJ.
Sonja is a self-taught artist. She was also influenced by a great deal from her grandparents, who created traditional art. Sonja's mother Cathy has been making star quilts all her life and helped Sonja to learn about using colors.
Sonja also learned about traditional designs by doing beadwork. She now combines tradition with her unique style, which creates a whimsical, artistic treat for lovers of Native American art.