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Native American Hand Drums
Your Drum Maker
Keith Little Badger builds three styles of NATIVE HAND DRUMS
Please scroll down this page to learn more about:
1. "King's Pine" Northeastern Woodlands Hand Drums
2. Recycled Cedar Hand Drums
3. Plains Style Hand Drums
We explain why we use rawhide laces rather than sinew or rope.
We explain why we use specially processed BULL hide for our Native drums.
We explain our lacing technique and its spiritual sigificance to Native Americans
We explain why KEITH DOES NOT SELL PARTS, so please don't ask us for hides, hulls or any other drum part.
We welcome questions, so if we have not provided enough information to help you choose your personal hand drum, please feel free to give us a call at 256-538-0246. We will answer all your questions. When you hear the right drum, it will call your name!
NEW LINE OF HAND DRUMS!
We are proud to offer this new limited edition of TORNADO-ENERGY "King's Pine" hand drums, representative of Northeast from whence these majestic trees derive, and sacred to the Abenaki and other Algonquin Nation Peoples of the Dawnland. They are sturdy like all of Little Badger's drums, but lighter in weight, perfect for women drummers.
King's Pine Hand Drums - Golden Bull Rawhide - Various thickness fits each individual climate
King's Pine Hand Drums
NEW LINE: LIMITED EDITION!
Keith Little Badger has developed a new line of drums. This limited edition will last only until the white pine boards run out. These hand drums are especially light-weight, averaging about 6-8 ounces lighter than the cedar drums. These hand drums are perfect for women who prefer less heavy but very study drums that will last for generations.
In 2011, a tornado ripped though Alabama. Major damage occurred in the Tuscaloosa area, but trees were uprooted all over central and northeastern Alabama. The Drum People helped clean up after the storms and received as gifts several white pine logs. In late March 2013, Alabama suffered another tornado. Again, Keith went out with his chainsaw. Travis, our sawmill guy, brought his bobcat on the log truck and hauled the logs back to his saw mill.
We named this new line "King's Pine hand drums". At the turn of the last century, between 1890 and 1910, two-thirds of the Abenaki people living on the Odinack Reserve in Quebec, Canada, fled brutal conditions, emmigrating to New Hampshire, USA. Today,Abenaki People call New Hampshire home. Every Columbus Day), the nation hosts the Abenaki Homecoming Powwow in New Hampshire. The Abenaki call themselves People of the Dawnland because they live where the sun first creeps over the horizon. Keith's family moved from Odinack in Canada to New Hampshire with this Abenaki contingent.
Keith celebrates his roots, his homeland (N'd Kinna), his cultural heritage, with this new "King's Pine"line of hand drums. In his New Hampshire home, Shoe (Keith's grandfather) constructed his drums from white pine. Shoe employed white pine because of its plentitude.
Historically, white pine trees dominated northeastern United States, towering over all the other trees, forming the forest conifer canopy. White Pines were the Redwoods of the Northeast. When the British came to the "New world", specifically to "New England," the king marked the tallest, straightest pines with a crown. These pines, the "King's Pines," were sawn and made into Ship's Masts. Penalty for anyone who dared cut a crown-marked "King's Pine" was death, whether the "poacher" be a new settler or an indigenous Native American.
In the early 1900s, lumber companies clear-cut White Pine forests in New England, selling the boards to pallet makers, crate builders, furniture and housing lumber buyers. Like the Buffalo, the White Pine, once a powerful symbol of a proud indigenous people, has been decimated.
White pine is not native to southern climates in the United States. However, birds carry the seed of the white pine. Winds, too, capture white pine seed on gentle air currents and carry it southward. Somehow White Pine magically appeared in Alabama. Gusts from tornados twisted several of these rare southern White Pine trees out of the ground. We removed the debris for elderly people who could not afford professional tree cutters. This tornado twisted wood created the "King's Pine" limited edition of Little Badger hand drums.
Honey Colored wood with well-defined grain form the frames of the King's Pine hand drum
Keith cuts rawhide laces from the same hide as the head. He does not use string or imitation sinew. This is extremely important: drums laced with nylon cord, rope or sinew will eventually result in a loose drum head because they will not expand and contract at the same rate as the rawhide head. Different materials = different reactions to humidity and climate.
We provide a FREE drum stick with every drum. CLICK on the thumbnail photo of drum back at right to see detail of the lacing and back.
14" diameter: $140.00
16" diameter: $170.00
Front of hand drum
Hand Built Cedar Frames
Plains Style Pine Native American Hand Drum
Keith Little Badger wraps a recycled pine Native American hand drum frame with rawhide completely. While his other hand drums display the cedar or King's Pine hull of the drum, this Plains style has a rawhide edge (PLAINS STYLE DRUM IS FEATURED IN THE CENTER). The same rawhide used for the head is used as lacing so the whole hand drum expands and contracts equally. Hook a thumb through the ring in the back and allow the Plains Style american indian drum to rest on four outstretched fingers (no "claw hand" grip).
14" Plains Style Pine Hand Drum - $140.00 16" Plains Style Pine Hand Drum - $170.00
King's Pine, Plains, Cedar
Cedar Drum Back
Full Wrap Pine Drum Back
King's Pine Drum Back
Pine 2 x 4s From Dumpster & Pine Saved From Power Company Waste
Keith Little Badger has built a new inexpensive line of Native American Plains Style Hand Drums. While the new pine drums cost less, they are sound just as good as his other lines of hand drums.
First, isn't one slaughter and extermination of an individual species enough? Do we need to repeat our heinous crimes over and over again.? The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. History repeats itself in an insane loop. We kill a species and it is gone forever. Perhaps that animal or plant held medicinal secrets within. Perhaps if we studied the animals and plants we might learn that about cures for cancer, diabetes, and other fatal illnesses plaguing our Nation. But no, we want to act insane and slaughter the species again and again.
Europeans swept through the country and decimated the Buffalo population. While killing the Buffalo, at first, provided a vital and legitimate food source, the "settlers" quickly learned to apply their profit motive, killing the majestic buffalo for its hide and leaving its body, the sustenance of Indigenous People, to rot all across the Plains and Prairie. Oh wait, they did go back and use the bones for fertilizer so maybe some Native American values wore off on the European invaders. But their senseless extermination of the buffalo also helped herd Native Peoples on to reservations because they were starving without this primary food source.
If you still want to use the sacred Buffalo hide on your drum, check out these web sites:
We won't use slaughtered buffalo hide! We use Bull because they are the “King of the Cows.” Female Cows are used for milk and fattened for slaughter after bearing Calves. Cattle companies castrate Steers because they generate poor breeding stock. Cattle companies pump both female Cows and male Steers full of hormones, steroids, antibiotics and other chemicals. They treat these animals inhumanely and disrespectfully. They sell the most amount of meat possible, poisoned with chemicals, to burger establishments, for more money because the cows are fat.
Bulls, however, roam freely and graze. Bulls live a long life because they produce the next generation of beef. Cattle companies protect their Bulls. They do not pump Bulls full of chemicals because damaged sperm may cause mutations and inferior calves. One Bull can impregnate many cows. Because the Bull is treated with respect (even if the cattle company's motive is one of profit and greed), Bull's spirit remains pure. He grows old and his hide grows large: thick in the front shoulders and neck, medium thick back area and thin in the belly and hide legs.
Since we buy whole Bull hides, and not just little pre-cut circles, we can make thick hide drums, thin hide drums and medium thickness drums so we can tailor your drum hide to your climate.
Why no padded handle on our Native Drums?
We do not use a padded handle because Native Americans believe that the heartbeat of Mother Earth echoes through their native drums. There are two important reasons why we don't use "mittins" on our hand drums:
First, padding interferes with the contact between you and your drum. Of the thousands of Native Americans we have met at powwows, not a single one carried or played a drum with a padded handle. It defeats the purpose of drumming as prayer.
Second, padded handles restrict the sounds of your drum. Our drums are famous as "scratch drums" used by Northern tribes. You can use your thumb to stop the reverberation and create a unique drumbeat. Drumming involves the whole hand, not just the drum beater or mallet. Padded handles limit the voice of your drum.
WHY UNBLEACHED BULL HIDE?
Bleaching weakens rawhide, so we use only UNBLEACHED BULL (male cow) hide. Why cow hide? We have found that elk, goat, pig, or deer hides are extermely thin, and they will warp in even 5% humidity. They are also rubbery hides, which means they will stretch forever, so that your drum head will never be tight. Cow hide holds up under all weather conditions, and can withstand the humidity of a sweat lodge.
Since we support horse rescue ranchs, we find it very difficult to use a majestic horse to put a head on our drums. Cows are already a major food source. Their rawhide will be wasted, so we choose to recycle a byproduct of an animal already killed for food.
We do not use Buffalo for spiritual reasons. Buffalo have been on the species extinction list; cows have not. We believe that it is wrong to kill Buffalo to make drums when fast food restaurants slaughter cows by the billions. Haven't humans killed enough Buffalo? If you need to honor the Buffalo, tie a tuft of buffalo hair on your drum, don't kill the animal. For these reasons we believe the finest, most affordable sound comes from unbleached male cow (bull) hide. All of our hides are commercially tanned to ensure uniformity in thickness and quality.
KEITH MAKES DRUMS, NOT PARTS!
Keith is a traditional NATIVE AMERICAN drum artist, taught by his grandfather to craft sturdy and beautiful drums to last generations. FOR SPIRITUAL REASONS, HE DOES NOT SELL PARTS!
Making your own drum can be a powerful and satisfying experience. We encourage you to search the internet for "native american hand drum kits" to find all the parts you need to make your own drum. If your own drum fails to come to life, then keep it forever as an important part of your spiritual journey. Later, you may find that you need to buy a drum from someone with a lifetime of experience. We hope you return to our web site and let us help you find a drum you can play.
Native American drum-making is a CEREMONY and an ART, traditionally passed down through the family generations of indigenous peoples. Drum-making is a calling, with a whole life devoted only to this one thing: making drums to help people pray and sing. It involves gifting drums to those who need them, showing up with drums to events where a drum is requested and donating drums to help people heal. Drum-making, in the tradition of North American indigenous People, is a life style. It is the life-style of a common man.