Native American Indians believe that Indian drums are the heartbeat of the Earth Mother. They also believe it is the heartbeat of all Indian people and a way to bring things back into their prospective balance. It is said that people are able to connect with the spirit of the drums and nature through its rhythmic pounding. Indians young and old participate in sitting around the drums, singing or listening and enjoying in harmonious ceremonies together.
The hand Indian drums are made of all natural wild game rawhide such as buffalo, moose, elk and deer. The huge two-sided drums are played by several different people all at once. The sound of the drums signified that it was time for all to come together for a special occasion. The occasion could be for competitions, or for other types of social settings. The head singer is honored to someone of a great position. He has complete control over the drums and the right to head up all the songs if he chooses to do so. History shows that women did not sit in the drum circle, it was for men only. The hand held Indian drums are also played at pow wows and can be heard for hours straight. The continuous beat of the drum was like the throbbing of the Indian people’s hearts.
There are many different types of Indian tribes. Each tribe has their own traditions about the drum and how to play it. The traditional American Indian drums are large, two to three feet in diameter, and played communally by groups of men who stand around in a circle. But, there are some tribes where each of the drummers has their own individual set of drums. Whether or not each tribe has their own traditions, the Indian drums are all prominent and sacred to them.
Joseph Paige © 2006