The story behind the only Lakota drumming group in Sioux Falls

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 6:05 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - November is Native American Heritage Month, and while some may observe the traditional drumming and singing, it may be hard to know the stories behind these songs.

There was no drum group when Sean Garnette moved to Sioux Falls three years ago, so he decided to start the one and only drum group in the area.

Garnette did not have a drum at first, so he decided to get creative, saying, “I’ll make a drum, and I had some good brothers behind me that would help me back up the song, so I was like, okay.”

He started with the raw materials, saying, “I tied that drum and came out in the communities and sang everywhere.”

If you’re wondering what they’re singing about, Garnette says, “Some of the songs, well, they might be for a person or a reason. But they’re just a melody. It has nothing to do with words or whatever. You’re like, what are they saying? We’re not saying anything, it’s just brought a vibe. We just brought a melody.”

Other songs come from the heart, “When it’s a prayer song, it’s the words that matter. So you don’t even have to say a prayer, you can sing that song, and that’s your prayer. And I’m suffering. Help me. I mean, asking for create to help.”

Garnette says drumming and singing are what makes his heart happy, and he’s excited to see his children get involved, the younger generations learning from the elders and bringing their ancestors into the spiritual practice.