This is an exceedingly rare authentic 19th Century Sun Dance War Drum from the Lakota Sioux Native American Indians. This original belonged to Sioux Indian “Flying Hawk” who was a first cousin to legendary Sioux War Chief Crazy Horse. The drum was given to Reverend Joseph Ward in 1885 by Flying Hawk when Ward founded the Yankton Sioux Indian College and Museum in South Dakota. The piece was on display at the college museum until the college closed and the entire contents of the museum was sold in 1985. A local Indian relic dealer bough this drum and the entire contents of one of the museum’s rooms and later sold the drum to well-known and respected collector Ben Thompson in 1986. Thompson later sold the drum to the current owner in the early 2000’s. This is the last of the Yankton Indian College collection materials available for public purchase, all other items have been sold or have been acquired by other museums. The drum itself is constructed of an octagonal-shaped wooden frame with wetted and stretched Buffalo hide over both sides, secured with thick hide lacing and has two hide carrying straps attached. The piece shows ceremonial Sun Dance symbols painted on one side and painted words and names in Lakota on the reverse. The drum is in good overall condition for its age with expected minor wear from true age and Indian use along with a few splits and cracks around the edges from drying and age. Much of the paint has a dried and faded appearance from time, but small and large brush strokes can still be seen under magnification. It has been documented that Flying Hawk said this drum was used during the last real Sun Dance that the Sioux ever held in the 19th Century, which took place in the summer of 1877 in Beaver Valley, Nebraska just a few miles south of Pine Ridge. This is referred to historically as “The Great Sioux Sun Dance of 1877”. It was officiated by Fast Thunder, who Flying Hawk said made the drum. American Horse, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, He Dog, Young Man Afraid of His Horses and Horn Chips were all in attendance and what historians estimate to have been thousands of other Sioux spectators. The Sun Dance was held in honor of Crazy Horse and the killing of Custer the year before at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn) in June of 1876. Crazy Horse was said to be in attendance but did not dance, instead his five cousins all danced in his honor. He was killed by a U.S. Infantryman who stabbed him in the back with a bayonet at Fort Robison a few months later. The front of the polychrome painted drum has a large yellow painted sunburst amongst a large blue-sky background with many five-point stars. The large yellow sun rays shone down toward the ground. The reverse side of the drum has names and writing painted in Lakota Sioux which includes the month and year of the dance, and the names of Crazy Horse and the dancers. Overall the drum measures 25 inches across by 3 inches wide. Translated from Lakota to English the reverse reads: Canwapto Wi 1877 (Month of May, called the Moon of the Green Leaves 1877) Wiwanke Wichipi (Sun Dance) Tasunka Witko (Crazy Horse) Wipanzutkan Wi (Seek your Bessings) Then the names of the dancers: Chetan Kinyan (Flying Hawk) Matho Wanahtak (Kicking Bear) Teca Sapa Tocala (Young Black Fox) Wanbli Wankintan (Eagle Thunder) Wahnikea Wanbli (Walking Eagle) Chapa Mayas (Beaver Walls) Wankan Thanka (The Great Spirit or Creator) The words "Beaver Walls" are painted on the drum. Research has uncovered this to be a series of rock cliff areas in Beaver Valley, Nebraska about 2 miles South of the Pine Ridge reservation where the Sun Dance took place. The local Sioux to this day still refer to the area as "Beaver Walls". Provenance: Fast Thunder the maker, Flying Hawk owner, Reverend Joseph Ward, Yankton Indian College Museum Collection, Ben Thompson collection, Missouri.