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Using Native American Rattles As Indian Musical Instruments

Using Native American Rattles As Indian Musical Instruments

Article by Craig Chambers

If you love Native American Rattles, you will definitely benefit from adding them to your drumming circles and powwows. Rattles are intriguing Native American icons representing Indigenous people and their unique customs. They are also among the most used musical instruments for playing in Indian ceremonies throughout most Indian tribes. Rattles, for hundreds of years and for the majority of American Indians, have always had a great part in the spiritual world as well as for use in social gatherings.

As you study the fascinating history of American Indians and their use of Native American rattles, you will learn that they are symbolic among the Indigenous people and are essential to the tribal rituals in which they are played. It is said that they represent the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms. The animal kingdom is exemplified in the form of the container or decorative feather of the rattle. The mineral kingdom is represented by the stones that create the sound or also by the paint used for the artwork depicted on the rattle. And, the plant kingdom is symbolized by the handle.

When researching the uses of Native American rattles and how they are played, you will find that nearly every Indigenous culture including the Navajo culture, play rattles in their ceremonial rituals. Among the many variations of Indian rattles, including the highly sought-after gourd rattles and turtle shell rattles, the simple rawhide rattle is the most used in Native American tribes. The figures, such as the Navajo bear or Navajo eagle, used in the artwork pictured on the rattles, vary with each tribe. You will find it intriguing that the various tribes including the Cherokee, Navajo, Apache, Pueblo, Zuni and Hopi, can all be recognized by the differences of the beautiful art on their hand crafts. Something these people do have in common is that they all play rattles in various ceremonial rituals and as part of music, dance, medicine and spirituality.

The Native rattles are really very exquisite and are made using a variety of natural materials such as turtle shell, leather, rawhide, bead work and Native American feathers. Fur, fringe, seeds, rocks, antlers, horns, bones and shells are used to create that unique Indian style. Clay beads, blue corn, manzanita seeds or small smooth stones such as those found near the opening of an ant hill, are also sometimes placed in the rattles to create the unique sound.

Indian culture has always used music, songs, stories and legends to express their cultural beliefs and traditions to each other and to the outside world. It is in harmony with these forms of learning that rattles have come to be a significant aspect in the ritualistic ceremonies of the Indigenous people.

That is why there is nothing more fascinating than owning authentic Indian musical instruments and hand crafts. You can easily buy Native rattles online and sometimes in stores that sell southwest decor. If you are intrigued by authentic Indian musical instruments, or are trying to find the best instrument to play in your drumming ceremonies, you will definitely enjoy the wonderful sound of Native American rattles.

About the Author

Craig Chambers is the director of Mission Del Rey and author offering free information online about how to choose Native American Rattles for Indian ceremonies and other playing purposes. For more information visit

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Tags: American, American Indians, Circles, Craig Chambers, Customs, Indian, Indian Ceremonies, Indian Musical Instruments, Indian Tribes, Indigenous People, Instruments, Love, Musical, Native, Native American Icons, Native Instruments, Powwows, Rattles, Social Gatherings, Spiritual World, Tribal Rituals, Using

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