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Playing Native American Hand Drums In Drumming Groups And Ceremonies

As an interior designer, I have always loved Native American hand drums for their natural beauty when used for western decor, and for the significant role they play in American Indian drum music. Most people I come in contact with are not aware that these hand drums are some of the most famous cultural icons in the world. For hundreds of years, American Indian people relied on their belief in the unique power of these drums for spiritual and healing purposes, and have always regarded the hand drum as a prized possession among all Native American musical instruments.

Even though all Native American drums have corresponding characteristics about them, you may not realize that native drums vary in many ways according to tribe. Some tribes use the hand drum exclusively in secret ceremonies, whereas in others, they are the main focus of the public event or powwow. Native people also use these hand held musical instruments for dancing, personal meditating and in sweat lodges. No matter how they are used, the hand drum still plays a key role in American Indian music and in Native culture today.

When choosing one of these beautiful drums to add to your western style home decor or for playing in a drum group, it is important to choose one made with quality materials similar to the original materials used. The original, all natural hand held drums used throughout Native American history, were made of wood cut from a fallen tree trunk. When cut correctly, the long thin strip of wood curled to form a hoop that measured two to six feet in length, depending on the size of the hand drum desired. Once the drum ring was properly bent, it was held with one end overlapping the other and kept in place with a piece of rawhide lacing. Allowed to dry naturally outdoors, the remaining moisture in the hand drum hoop would evaporate, allowing the ring to shrink to the right size.

As you look into the history of the many tribal hand drums made, you will learn that they were covered on either one, or both sides of the drum hoop with animal skin. Various woods and hides were used depending on the Indian tribe and where they were at geographically, but the most used materials were pine, and goat skin. These days, Native American hand drums are made using a variety of animal hides, but traditionally, goat skin rawhide was the preferred skin because of its stretching ability and sound quality.

Today, you can easily find Native American hand drums online and in stores that specialize in southwestern and American Indian home decor. Whether adorned on the wall in a cabin or lodge to enhance rustic decor, or simply being played for ceremonial drumming, these Native drums will add great charm to your home and environment. If you are interested in authenticity and traditional American Indian values, you will definitely enjoy owning and displaying authentic Native American hand drums.

Craig Chambers is the director of Mission Del Rey and offers free information online about buying Native American hand drums for Indian drumming ceremonies. For more information visit

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