Muskrat and Skunk: Sinkpe na Maka, A Lakota Drum Story - Children's Book

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"It was the first time that the animals and birds danced to the heartbeat of Mother Earth." 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.

Muskrat and Skunk thump on a hollow log - BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Bords 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.

Reviewed by Kevin Alleger:

Our friend and colleague, Don Montileaux, has written a new children's book titled Muskrat and Skunk: Sinkpe na Maka: A Lakota Drum Story, this is Kevin's review, enjoy!

Don Montileaux’s latest children’s book, Muskrat and Skunk (Sinkpe na Maka), A Lakota Drum Story, tells of the very first pow-wow on earth. Written in both the English and Lakota languages, Montileaux’s story is brimful of delightful woodland scenes by the author himself. (Agnes Gay provides the Lakota translation of the English text.)

In the beginning, there was a muskrat and a skunk living in the forest. Both discover tools of nature that allow them to create drumbeats on a log. The music they create, the drumbeats, entice an entire population of woodland creatures into a circle of dance. The contemporary Lakota pow-wow mirrors the dance animated by the charming animal illustrations in the book.

A story which would entertain a wide range of readers, especially with its emphasis on Lakota translation, and the author’s fantastic and fun animal drawings, the book is primarily a children’s book. It was funded, in part, by the Great Plains Education Foundation, Inc., in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and the author dedicates the book to ‘ …all the grandchildren in the world.’


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