By Don Montileaux
Animals stop and listen. A new sound is in the forest. The beat vibrates through the trees and across the meadows. What is it? Where is it coming from?
Muskrat and Skunk thump on a hollow log—BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Birds begin to dance. Buffalo and Antelope join in. There is a rustle in the bushes; a large shape emerges. The animals scatter. Muskrat and Skunk drum on.
The story of the drum connects the instrument’s sound to the heartbeat of Mother Earth—a beat inside all of us. For the Lakota people, the drum is more than something to be played. Its rhythm is felt, and it is central to many ceremonies.
Donald F. Montileaux retells the origins of the drum, using traditional stories that Lakota people still tell today. His colorful images breathe life into Muskrat and Skunk, enhancing our understanding of the Lakota culture.