Native American Drum Circle - 1906
Native American drums played an important part in many Native American Indian tribal ceremonies, celebrations and spiritual festivals. Through many songs and dances to the beats of the drum, the Native people try and find a close spiritual relationship with the creator, the mysterious powers they look to as gods. These Native American drums are recognized as their own living entity and symbolizes a strong tie with the creator. To many Native American tribes the Native drum contains thunder and lightening, and when it is beaten it helps to get the creators attention and it also helps contact the spirits of the Native American forefathers.
Many Native Indian tribes had a selected person that they would refer to as the drum keeper, and he watches over the sacred drum. The drum keeper is usually the oldest son of a selected family, and in Native American culture it is an exceptional honor to be the keeper of the sacred drum. The Native Americans look at the drum as a living and breathing entity; they believe that the spirits of the tree and animal that the drum was made from live within the drum. They also believe that the beats of the drum help call out to these spirits to protect and watch over them.
Native American Drum of the Lakota
Many of the Native American drums varied in size and among different tribes the drums were completely different and made for different Native Indian traditions. All of the ancient Native American drums were made from wood with animal skin heads. Since there were many different animals depending on where the tribes lived some Native American drums were made from deer skins and others were made from buffalo skins. These drums were extremely important and sacred to the Native American tribes, and there were many sacred ritualistic rules surrounding a drum. Many Native Americans also had other forms of percussion that they would use, and these were hand rattles, which were similar to the drums in the aspect of playing beats and honoring the gods. Some of the Native drums used by some of the Northeastern Indian tribes were filled with water and this gave them a really unique sound during their tribal pow-wows. The drums had many other uses to the Native people and some included healing ceremonies, war preparation dances and even festivals to honor the goods to help bring a good harvest. There are still many hand made Native drums that can be found nationwide on many Native American Indian reservations and at many of these places you can see demonstrations of some of the tribal ceremonies and such things as the Native American rain dance ceremonies.