Daniel Dru

Drum Maker Sundance Painter
Elk Scraping Clan
Camp Crier

Daniel passed away on January 29, 1998 at his home, with his wife Glenna, some of his relatives, and close friends at his side. Dan was born November 15, 1924 to Ralph Leland Drunkard and Dora WhiteAntelope Drunkard. His parents were both of the great Southern Cheyenne Nation. His mother was the great, great, great granddaughter of Cheyenne Chief White Antelope.

He was raised on a farm near Thomas on the former Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation. He lived in the Oklahoma City and Lawton area before coming to Miami, Ok. in the early 1980's.

In 1943, he joined the army serving in the European Theater and earning the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service in World War II.

As a young man, he wanted to learn the traditional sacred songs of his people, but this rural community did not have a drum nor anyone who knew how to construct one. He sought out the Cheyenne elder, Moses Starr, Sr. and after proving his worthiness, was taught the art of drum maker. He has danced the Sundance, and made the pilgrimage to Bear Butte in South Dakota where the Cheyenne were first given the drum.

He always began construction of every drum by blessing the materials with tobacco smoke and a prayer. The construction of the frame was of plywood and the mantle made of galvanized pipe, modern adaptations of the hollowed logs and bent wood used by his ancestors. After the physical construction was finished he would bless the drum with earth paint from Bear Butte, and smoke from burning sage and sweetgrass. Once properly prepared the drum can only be used for good and must be used and maintained in traditional custom, and anyone who violates these ordinances should be prepared for the adverse consequences of their actions.

Daniel also made gourd dance shakers, fans, sashes, and other items for dance regalia. He was drum maker, singer from an early age and continued making drums until his death.

Painted Horse War Dance Society had three drums made by Daniel. The last drum purchased by Ira Toland received a special blessing ceremony from Daniel here at the Center. Daniel painted the drum to be used by the people of the four directions. Daniel was very impressive as he explained the use and the blessing. Painted Horse also has a Daniel Dru Drum that is used to teach beginner singers. Daniel donated many of the drum sticks that are used by the singers. He trained several apprentices in the ways to make the Cheyenne Drum.

Daniel founded the Native American Traditional Organization (NATO) and hosted the first Veteran's Day Pow Wow which continues today in his name. Daniel also sponsored the Social Gourd Dance Club, organized by Elmer Kingfisher, in the manner of the Cheyenne Gourd Dancers. He was a member of Painted Horse and contributed show cases and displays for the museum.

Daniel was a veteran of four years of Sundancing, earning the right to be a Sundance Painter in 1994. Daniel was proud of his heritage. He invited many non-Cheyenne to attend the Sundance so that he could share his Traditions. In 1998, Daniel was inducted into the Elk Scraping Clan and asked to become the Camp Crier. Daniel declined this honor. He was willing to share his beloved culture with anyone who was willing to put the effort out to learn. He was a member of the Native American Church.

Daniel Dru is a great friend and we all have suffered a great loss by his going home.