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The Ojibwa Dance Drum

The Ojibwa Dance Drum

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Its History and Construction

Author Thomas Vennum Jr, Afterword by Rick St. Germaine

Minnesota Historical Society Press (February 1, 2009)

"Initially published in 1982 in the Smithsonian Folklife Series, Thomas Vennum's The Ojibwa Dance Drum is widely recognized as a significant ethnography of woodland Indians."—From the afterword by Rick St. Germaine


Hiding in a lake under lily pads after fleeing U.S. soldiers, a Dakota woman was given a vision over the course of four days instructing her to build a large drum and teaching her the songs that would bring peace and end the killing of her people. From the Dakota, the “big drum” spread throughout the algonquian-speaking tribes to the Ojibwe, becoming the centerpiece of their religious ceremonies.

This edition of The Ojibwa Dance Drum, originally created through the collaboration of Ojibwe drum maker and singer William Bineshi Baker Sr. and folklorist Thomas Vennum, has a new introduction by history professor Rick St. Germaine that discusses the research behind this book and updates readers on the recent history of the Ojibwe Drum Dance.

Author information

Thomas Vennum served as an ethnomusicologist for twenty-seven years at the Smithsonian Institution. He is a specialist in native American music, about which he has published extensively.

Rick St. Germain is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire.

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 336 pages
  • 85 b&w photos, 20 b&w illustrations, 3 maps
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873516426

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