How the drum came back to the Ojibwe People
Long ago and yet not so long ago, the Ojibway and Sioux peoples were at war with each other. Warrior societies flourished and around the village camp fires the talk was always of war. The villages were becoming empty of men, and the women mourned and buried their husbands and sons. Only the women, children and old men were making up the village. The men and available youth were on the war path, even though most of the people forgot what they were fighting about.
In one of the main villages, there lived a little girl, a little girl tired of war. She went into the lodges of the grandmothers and grandfathers and told them she was tired of all this talk of war, of burying her male relatives, and friends, she was tired of death and dying.
She asked that , “ There must something that she could do to stop the wars.”
“You!” cried the grandmothers and grandfathers, “You’re just a little girl!”
After such rude behavior from the grandmother and grandfathers the little girl decided she would go on a fast. She and her grandparents did all the preparations, she would begin her fast on the night of the full moon. She took nothing but a blanket and went out on the hill by herself determined not to come back down until she recieved an answer.
For seven days, nothing happened. No visitors or visions came to her, and the little girl was getting hungrier and hungrier. With the moon full again, the little girl was close to death, and feeling abandoned and alone. As she lay on her blanket dying, the birch trees caught the moon light and reflected it back to the earth around her. It was like daylight out on the hillside, so the little girl watched the moon and prayed to the creator. Through her tears, it seemed to her she saw 7 figures surrounding the bright ball in the sky that recognized as Grandmother moon. It looked as though the 7 figures were gently carrying Grandmother from the sky towards Mother Earth, the little girl knew the 7 figures and that 7 grandfathers. She reached her arms out to embrace the grandmother, with the final strength in her body she got up and took her blanket and spread it on the ground so that the grandfathers could rest Grandmother moon on it.
The grandfathers sat with the littie girl around her fire for 4 days and gave her the teachings of the 7 grandfathers. The Grandmother began to talk to the little girl telling her how to create a drum, the correct way to stretch the rawhide and lace it on. She told the little girl that the men were so busy with the war that they fogot how to connect with their hearts. If the little girl would give them the drum, they would once again connect with their hearts. She said that the drum is animate and has a spirit, when the little girl was finished making the drum she thought of how much it looked like Grandmother moon.
The little girl took the finished drum to the Warriors lodge, were the men accepted the drum and began to use the drum and use their voices as medicine prayers. They started connecting with their hearts, and soon all thought of war left their minds. With the Sioux People still raiding the Ojibway, the little girl decided to make another drum, but on the face of this drum the little girl painted one half red and the other half blue, down the middle she painted a yellow strip. The little girl went and presented the Sioux Warriors with the drum, soon after the Sioux Warriors laid down their weapons and they to started to connect with their hearts. Peace came into the people hearts.