Skip to main content

Historical Society Book Selected for Office of Indian Education Initiative

"Muskrat and Skunk/ Sinkpe na Maka,” a bilingual Lakota-English illustrated children’s book published by the South Dakota Historical Society Press, has been selected as one of six BookMark Initiative recommended books by the South Dakota Office of Indian Education.

The BookMark Initiative is funded by the Bush Foundation through the Wόokiye Project. The six selected books for this first round of the BookMark Initiative are intended to facilitate the incorporation of the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings within the classroom by providing South Dakota public, private, tribal, and BIE schools with an opportunity to receive free culturally relevant books and make them accessible within the schools for lesson plan development and student enjoyment. South Dakota educators, Indian Education Advisory Council Representatives, and Tribal Educators made recommendations to Office of Indian Education Director Fred Osborne, who selected six finalists to present to the Indian Education Advisory Council for consideration and approval of the books for the BookMark Initiative program. There are plans to select multiple rounds of books through this program.

“Muskrat and Skunk/ Sinkpe na Maka,” told and illustrated by Donald F. Montileaux and translated into Lakota by Agnes Gay, presents a retelling of the origins of the drum through the characters of Muskrat and Skunk. Lakota drum beating is understood to mimic the sound of Mother Earth’s heartbeat. Montileaux is a modern-day storyteller and an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. He is an award-winning artist, illustrator, presenter, and consultant on Lakota culture.

Montileaux’s books may be ordered directly from the South Dakota Historical Society Press at or by calling 605-773-6009. Follow the South Dakota Historical Society Press on Facebook (SDHS Press) and Twitter (@sdhspress).

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. For membership or inquiries, call (605) 773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.

Powered by Firespring