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Dakota Drum Company
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Dakota Drum Company is a small business located near Rapid City, South Dakota. The owners are Dave Hansen and Sonja Holy Eagle. We employ people mainly from Pine Ridge or Cheyenne River Reservations. Shaler Lamount, Sonja's cousin, has been with the company for four years and is our main drum maker.
Dave Hansen started this business in the late 70's mainly braintanning elk and deer hides and working with different people that made traditional Lakota crafts. Over a period of years it evolved into mainly drums and hide paintings.
When Dave and Sonja met and got together in the early 90's, Sonja was working at a computer manufacturing company. Sonja Holy Eagle was born in Eagle Butte, South Dakota and lived 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.
She began painting drums and hides and within a couple of years she quit her job and made painting her full time occupation. Since then she has developed into a well known artist combining her own style with traditional Lakota designs.
Our main goal at Dakota Drum is to create traditional drums of highest quality. This means a lot of extra work goes into each one. It also means you'll have something that will last for generations, instead of just a few years. 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 roduced rawhide.
We do hide paintings on buffalo hides. We have access to very nice winter hides which are tanned commercially. Unpainted hides are available as well at a reasonable cost. Sonja does paint deer hides and other hides occasionally.
Feel free to check out our website www.dakotadrum.com or call us toll free at 1-888-718-0893.