In a series of personal anecdotes, supplemented by photographs, essays, and manuscripts, The Sound of Drums is a memoir of celebrated Cherokee artist, fashion designer, and educator Lloyd Kiva New (1916–2002). An important figure in Native American art, design, and pedagogy, New inspired thousands of artists and students during his career. Humble beginnings in rural Oklahoma spawned an obsession with nature and a connection to his Cherokee roots—a connection he sought to strengthen throughout his life, The Sound of Drums.
Lloyd Kiva New’s life was one of the Greatest Generation—he experienced first-hand the Great Depression, the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and the struggles of a Native man in an assimilationist society. The Sound of Drums is the words of a man who helped put Scottsdale, Arizona on the map as an arts and crafts center and of a successful commercial artist who sacrificed fame and fortune to teach art and culture to Native youth at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The story of Lloyd Kiva New is one of inspiration, creativity, and a life-long search for meaning.