At a early age most of the men in Yellow Hammer had entered the arena as fancy dancers. During the 60s and 70s there were no drum groups in their area so they danced to the traditional songs of their respective tribes, the Ponca and Otoe-Missouria. Through dancing it enabled them to gain valuable knowledge of their tribal songs as well as an understanding and concept of a good drum beat.
Their elders taught them that they should not sing for themselves, but ratjer, they should sing for the dancers and the people. Their belief is that the “drum” itself has the power to heal and make a person feel good when they hear it. By the late 80s most of the older members of Yellow Hammer had already retired from the fancy dance category and established themselves within the ranks of the drum with their elders.
Those lessons that they learned from their dancing days followed them to their seat at the drum. In the early 90s they traveled to different parts of the country to sing at powwows but had yet to establish themselves as a bonafide singing group. It was not until 1993 that a reorganized group selected the name “Yellowhammer”.
As Yellow Hammer, they won the “World Championship” of the southern singing category at Schemitzun for the years 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2004.