Native American culture has deep spiritual practices that have been passed down for centuries. A vital component of those traditions is the Native American drum and the unique role it serves. If you’ve ever wondered about the history of the Native American drum, this is an excellent place to start.
One of the most prominent uses of Native American drums is to communicate with tribal ancestors and spirits. Many tribes believe that the beating of drums attracts the Great Spirit, the oft-referenced giver of all life in Native American traditions. Percussive rituals in drum circles are seen as ways to encourage spirits to watch over and protect those who call to them spiritually.
The history of the Native American drum extends beyond its uses and includes the materials with which they are made. The tree wood and animal hide that Native American drums are made with are considered just as important as using them to communicate with ancestral spirits. Many—if not all—Native American tribes saw animals as possessing unique spirits, which were to be deeply respected and revered. As such, the spirits from the rawhides live within the drum and contribute to the cultural significance of its use.
Another key component of Native American drums is the difference between each drum for specific purposes. As you may imagine, hand drums and sweat lodge drums are common, largely because they were used for medicinal rituals and everyday traditions. There are also powwow drums, which are used for group gatherings, songs, celebrations, and similar events.
No matter what type of Native American drum is being used, they are all seen as integral aspects of spiritual and social life for tribes. Our culture affords great honor and respect to those who utilize drums, and we hope that articles like these have helped deepen the appreciation you have for Native American drums, as well.
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