The Rum, Tum, Tum of a Galaxy Far, Far Away Heard Closer to Home

Millenium Falcon Drum and Beaded Death Star Drum Stick
by Artist Dallin Maybee
Maple Wood, Basswood, Elk Rawhide, Acrylic, Ink and Glass Beads
(Photo: The Artist)
I wouldn’t call myself a nerd, nor would I refer to myself as “cool.” Finding myself at New York Comic Con this past weekend, I realize I might just be a little bit of both.  Regardless, I know what I like.  A child of the 70s, it’s hard not to love all things Science Fiction, notably Star Wars.  The series, whether in books, films, video games whatever, transcends all generations because of that whole “Good versus Evil” thematic thing. And, as people on Earth appear to get more stupid, who can resist challenging the idea that life is nonexistent beyond this little ball of water and gases?  Sitting in the dark for nearly two hours with a myriad of strange beings reminds us to dream and think of the possibilities.  That’s a (pardon the pun) universal experience.  Let’s not forget all the cool costumes, weaponry and gadgets that spark the imagination.


While all these scenes, space battles are happening in the proverbial galaxy far, far away, we do have the opportunity to live in a world that offers art as one of its most valuable currencies.  And while I’m not sure what that would translate to in Renminbi, I do know you can’t put a price tag on its importance to humanity as a catalyst for and vessel of imagination.


It’s always exciting to see aspects of other cultures converging with art and the mainstream.  Contemporary Native American art, too, is pushing its way into the limelight because Native artists are celebrating our pop art roots like no one else.  And, it isn’t just Millenials either!


That’s why I love this Millenium Falcon drum and Death Star drumstick made by Northern Arapaho/Seneca artist Dallin Maybee The drum is made with a maple wood frame and a carved basswood extension covered by elk rawhide.   He then painted it with a metallic base and augmented it with ink.  “Of course, it was easier to take the round hand drum and adapt it rather than to try and stretch the rawhide around the shape of the Millenium Falcon,” says Maybee.   
The Death Star drumstick is a brain tan buckskin ball attached to a handle which Maybee painted with acrylic. A noted and skilled traditional Native American bead artist, he then adorned the handle with 13/0 cut glass beads.


Why did Maybee choose to create the drum as a show piece for a recent art event in Oklahoma?  He says the innate shape of the Millenium Falcon easily lends itself to being immortalized as a drum.  “I’ve always believed that our identity is shaped by our environment: Our languages, ceremonies and culture.  These days that environment includes many contemporary aspects of life that we share with non-native cultures.”


Maybee grew up with the Star Warssaga,  and what better way to acknowledge the fan boy culture than by creating indigenized art pieces inspired by the series?  “I loved the independence and nomadic lifestyle of Han and Chewie, ” he says. “I saw a lot of my culture in them–perhaps myself.”   Dallin Maybee  has a whole series of Star Wars-related projects in the works and sees this drum as a successful prototype for others to follow.  For more information, visit

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