Native American Drums and Stories - Catalog

Acoma Pottery Birds Native American Painted Drums

The Birds of Acoma Pottery

Acoma, northwest New Mexico This bowl is a part of the collection in the Fenimore Art Museum. It is dated 1895-1910. As with all my drums, I try to capture the beauty first created in the hands of the original artist who with clay and black ink, created this art . We extend ourselves in the works of our hearts and hands. The art endures and pleases the eye of the beholder, long past the life of our mortal bodies. Spirits of the past guide us, help us and sustain us as we learn the lessons of this life.
Balance is necessary in all things, even pottery.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
Eagle's catch Native American Drum


Haida (Heida)
Alaskan Native Art

The art of the Alaskan Indians is known for its many faces combined to create one image. Held within the art are the many different totems of these very family oriented tribes. This is the story of the Eagle flying to the sea for his dinner. He is proud of his catch and dresses in his finest to show off and share his catch with friends and family. The catch of the day happens to be Alaskan snow crab, better known as the water spider. Along the edge of the drum are many other totems, all carrying their own story.
The Eagle teaches us to be proud of our accomplishments and to share our good bounty with our friends and family and to give thanks to the Gods who provide for us.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
Hopi dancer

The Hopi Dancer

The HOPI dancer, danced up onto the drum canvas in spite of me. He is alive and well, believe me. He is the father of all the drums that I have painted since he arrived on my canvas. I haven't been able to paint enough or stop painting drums since his appearance. I love the drums so much. They are children, wanting expression and acceptance. For me they are a fulfillment in the expressions of my own souls spirit.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
Kokopelli Native American Painted Drums

Kokopelli and the Desert Song

South West

I have wondered far to play this song, for all the spirits that live. There are miles of sage and cactus, and the beauty the desert gives. The glistening sands and distant mountains, covered still with snow, There is beauty in every step I take, every where I go. So I play this flute, for love and life, and for a new beginning, To all creatures great and small, to the unborn and the living. You can still hear my songs on nights when it is still, Floating on the wings of the wind, in the silence and the chill. The desert is a place of mystery, ever changing itsí awesome face, the Gods have blessed me to walk and play my songs, in this holy place. My name is know forever, carved in memories and stone. I walk with spirits to guide my step, I never walk alone. So listen if you come to rest, in this guiet place, and may you find beauty living in your soul, and in the desert see Gods face.
May you walk this earth, looking, seeing and believing.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
Mighty Oak Painted Native American Drum

The Mighty Oak


This drum is painted in tribute to my Great Great Grandfather Joe. This is the only name that I know him by as he married my Great Great Grandmother and took her last name. Many native americans lost their names in the transition from the red to the white world. I however have not lost him. His blood runs through my veins and his heart beats in my heart. This was very evident to me as I painted this drum and knew exactly were to draw the lines, how to create the pattern, and how to paint the colors, using dots and lines. Always a prayer held in my heart for the beauty of nature and the great oak, and other forrest trees of my childhood. I lived in them, and loved them for as long as I can remember. I want to keep this drum, but if I let go of it, Joe gets to travel and the love of a great nation and people is spread.
This drum comes to you with great love.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
Native American Painted Drum Mimbres

Mimbres Wedding


The history of the tribe that has come to be known as the Mimbres, is only accounted for because careful care has been given to the pottery that has survived to tell the tales. No written petroglyphs, nor carried down stories, no written history at all. The only way that we know anything about the Mimbres is by the pottery that has been painstakingly dug and categorized that they painted. Every act of life is created on this unique pottery. Life. conception, birth, death, fighting, fishing, animals and stories told in their paintings of hunts and wars, slavery, weddings and transformations. It is totally amazing to view the life of a tribe in itsí painting. No words to help, no legends to review, no one to carry the stories. If I painted one hundred drums, I would in no way have a complete accountability of their lives. I paint, hoping that the Mimbres will be remembered. They had great egos and a wonderful sense of humor and they were extraordinary record keepers on pottery. No other tribe known has kept their records in this manner. I hope you will look into their lives for yourself in the many books written. What is appreciated is never forgotten.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
whisperers native american drum

The Whisperers

Mimbres Mythology
Plate Painters

Can you whisper in my ear messages I need to hear? Can you tell me which way to go? Up or down to or fro? Can you tell me secrets kept, while all the earth and I slept? How do I know what I should do, if there are no soft whispers from you. The Gods have given you the voice to help me make a noble choice On your wisdom I depend. You are my helper guide and friend. Ride on my shoulder as I walk and I will listen as you talk. I will take heed and try my best, to trust your words and pass the test. To do the listening, and the hearing, and the acting without fearing. I will trust the words you say, and act my wisest day to day. Thanking the Gods for your silver wings and all of the messages that you bring from the home from which you stray, somewhere in the milky way.
There are many secret keepers, some you might not expect. Listen closely to all of your relations. We are all connected.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
Painted Native American Drum wintersolstice

Original Winter Solstice Sunset

Early Celtic Design
Fall has danced her dance and all the leaves have fallen and colored the ground. Naked trees stand firm and strong, prepared for the winds and storms. Old Man Winter blows his freezing breath and snow falls. Every living thing prepares to endure. Tall trees, bare arms outstretched,find the warmth of the sun to sustain them. They gracefully dance and sway through the day as the winds whirl around them. The tress glisten, dressed in ice and dusted with snow. What spender for the eye to see, gifts from the great spirit . The day is done and all to soon, the shortest day it seems, so now the earth is tucked in sleep and all of nature dreams. The skies are bright with a million stars to fill the night with breathless beauty Aurora does her night time singing, to all life wonder bringing. There are those who run in the night and embrace the winter winds. Wolves sing songs to the moon and touch the darkness of the night they carry their songs to mornings light.
How blessed our journey in this space, for in earths beauty we see God's face.
Happy Winter with love

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
Painted Native American Drum Autumn War Bonnet

Autumn War Bonnet

This is a variation of the Sioux war bonnet. It is painted in the colors of earth. Colors, that by the way were much easier to obtain than blues and reds and purples. The earth provided the colors, made from ground stone, dirt, green mud, tree bark leaves, and berries. The colors of fall are rich and warm, like the buffalo robes that were decorated with this wonderful design. There are many variations of this pattern, depending upon the tribe and person doing the painting.

There are many items that you may not notice on this war bonnet drum. They are actually totems, with life lessons to teach by observing each. Butterflies are free to fly, free to float on the soft breezes, carrying rainbows of color as they do, and carrying pollen from one flower to another, thus spreading beauty everywhere for years to come. They have a short life, and struggle for survival just like the rest of us. The butterfly tells you to use your freedom wisely and to spread beauty every where you go.

Loons, are carriers of beautiful melodies. They sit on waters that are freezing cold, mist rising from the warm air, and they sing songs to the moon, and the sun, and the stars. They are beautiful and rare to see. Solitary in their lives. They probably do not know what beauty they lend to human beings with their songs. Perhaps those listening will help to preserve clean water and places from them to nest and sing. Loons teach us to live lives of harmony and balance, and bid us to make the best of all situations.

Turtles carry their home with them on their backs, and move through life ever so slowly. It is believed by many native tribes, that Mother Earth surfaced on the great turtles back, and was born. The lesson of turtle teaches us to slow down, and to guard our homes and make them safe havens, warm and protected from the elements. Fast is not always best, nor is the fastest always the winner. Take your time and be of sure foot. I think humans are always off balance because they only have two feet. It’s a hole lot easier to stand on four. Like the other totems mentions, turtles are not warring creatures. Of all the creations of the Great Spirit, only man is constantly at war. Let us play our flutes of peace, and love, like Kokopelli does, as he travels over mountains and into great and vast canyons and across deserts and right into the hearts of the listener. Perhaps Kokopelli is copying the music of the loon. Both, spirit stirring sounds. Raven sits on a basket of corn, the crop of life for most tribes. Raven is the watcher over death and life, and guides our spirits to the next life. Raven teaches us to always be aware. Drums themselves, played, are the heart beat of Mother Earth. May we all treasure her and care for her that Butterflies, birds, flowers, turtles, and all other living things, can continue to live, and grace our lives with their beauty.

Oh that I could fly on wings of light and see earths vast beauty day and night. That the songs of my voice were melodies, that floated on the seasons breeze. That I could carry beauty on my feet, and with my own life just complete, the things assigned me by the Great Spirits voice, that I would always make the wisest choice. But, mere mortal that I am I just do my best, and send love and light in all I paint, and ask the Gods excuse my weaknesses, and do the rest.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo

Robes of Splendor

Robes of splendor, tightly woven, of colored quills and shiny beads.
Records of a noble people, a count of days and deeds.
Deer skin robes and pants are stitched with tassels gay,
dressed in their best in war and peace, with brave hearts, they face the day.
The chief’s war bonnet worn with pride,
eagle feathers are tightly tied,
and by the Gods of earth and heaven,
are the treasured eagle feathers given.
Painted bodies and horses decorated, so the Gods do not see,
as they ride in battles raging over the vast and wide prairie.
Some warriors run, no horse to ride,
with bows and arrows at their side.
Others fall, as war does her best
to take from man his life, his breath.
They fight for land and for the right
to hunt for game, in winter white,
or springs new green,
and all the seasons in between.
Preserving land and family,
what more nobel cause could there be?
It’s hard to tell which side is right.
No one ever wins the fight.
There are just different sides to war.
Have we all not seen the scars before.

May all your days be counted and kept as a record for generations to come,
that when your life on earth is ended ,you will hear the words “Well done.”

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo

Three Big Bears

Bear Society-Missouri-1800’s

The path behind they leave to find,
the path ahead one heart, one mind.
May you find peace in your journey, comfort in your cave and rest from your weariness.

May you treasure earth’s beauty and be an advocate for those who cannot defend themselves.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo

Thunder Bird

This thunderbird is called a spread legged rising to the sun.
To all of those who look forward
to a new beginning, a better and
a kinder way of living, the rising
Thunder Bird is the symbol of hope for many of the Native Tribes. In the last dispensation of earth, the Thunder Bird will rise up from the inner earth as a symbol of new life, a new beginning, and hope for a
gentle and kind people who will respect and love this incredibly beautiful home that we know as earth.

May you find hope, peace, kindness,compassion and love among your attributes, that you may find grace at the coming.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo

Hawk Guardian

They come to me in misty visions sweet, on autumn's winds they ride,
with dusty swirls and hawk to lift them, my guardians and my spirit guides.
You may not see them, but they are there, ever listening and aware,
of all my trials and tribulations, of all my joys and jubilations.

When we are born, we come into this world with nine guardians of our bodies and spirits. They are the guardians of the North, East, South, West, right side, left side, above, below, and within. For each direction you have a totem spirit. This drum painting depicts the second totem guardian, the Hawk. Hawk teaches us to look at the big picture, and to not just see what is easily visible. Hawk reminds us to be mindful of the full extent of our choices and to be wise in our choosing. Hawks eyes are like a magnifying glass that allow him to see long distances as he searches for food to stay alive. It is the same for us. If we see our choices from a distance, we may make wise ones that will allow us to keep our bodies and spirits alive.

May you see clearly all of your choices and take from them those that are for your highest good. Find out for yourself who your nine totems are and allow them to guide you. I send you love on your path and the Light of the Great Spirit to attend you.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo


The Crane the Fish and the Frog--Inuit

One fine day as the sun shone high in the afternoon sky, heart within crane felt a rumbling in his stomach. I need to eat. I will need strength for the long flight away from old man winter. He will come and the lakes and rivers and fields will be covered with sparkling gems of light, better known to us who fly most of the time, as toe freezers. He didn't want any part of himself to freeze, so he prepared, and eat he must. A small unsuspecting frog swam by and crane swallowed him whole, right down the hatch of the long neck, kerplunk, into the empty stomach. I feel a little better he thought, but not full enough to fly. Just then he saw shimmering in the light of the waters face, a big fish. He grabbed the fish and down the hatch it went, but, it got caught in his throat and he struggled and struggled to swallow, finally down it went into the almost empty stomach. Now he felt full and ready to fly. Frog and fish were dinner as they often are, reminding us that we all live at the cost of another life. Crane remembered to thank the Great Spirit for the food. He flies. May you too remember to be thankful, and to think about how you stay alive.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo


Singer of spring, caller of the rain,
jumping faithfully for food, always ready.
Eyes wide open, seeing. All songs are gifts.
All eyes are given to see all callers.
All prayers are heard. Jumping is
sometimes required.

North West Tlingit Art
Frog speaks of new life and calls to the
Thunder Beings, Lightening and Rain,
believing and they come. Find peace in
the song of the frog family, and believe.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo

The Eagle and the Whale

The sun rose early in the day and all the eagles were in flight, searching for breakfast. One of the very young eagles saw what he thought was a very big salmon. Oh, he thought, I shall catch that big salmon and have the best catch of the day. Everyone will envy me, and I will be proud of my catch, and very full. Meanwhile a small baby whale had lost his mother for the moment and he swam into unfamiliar waters. He could see the shadows on the water's face. Dots? What are they he wondered. At about just that moment, he felt something sharp stick into his back. It hurt and scared him and he tried to shake it off. If he had been older and wiser he would just have dove down to the bottom of the water and the eagle would have drowned. Fortunately for the eagle, that was not the case, so the whale and the young eagle struggled. The sun moved across the face of the sky and soon it was almost dusk. Neither could free himself from the other. Finally the eagle was able to take his talons out of the back of the whale and the whale swam freely away to find his mom. The eagle had not eaten all day and was weak and tired from the struggle. The other eagles told him that he had not taken hold of a large salmon, but of a whale. How foolish he felt, not at all proud. Sometimes the biggest is not the best. And always you should not stick your talons into something unless you are sure of what it is.
All life lives within us, we are all one.

"walks with stars" - Iroquois
"messenger" - Navajo
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