10 Facts About Native American Rattles History
Author: Craig Chambers
Native American Rattles are a popular sight at Indian Pow Wows. If you like American Indian culture, you will want to expand your experience with rattles. Native American shakers as they are called, also make beautiful southwest home decor.
1 ) Rattles have gained such popularity that they are icons of Native American life. They represent the many different Indigenous tribes. In Native culture rattles are one of the most popular instruments used during ceremonials.
2 ) Different tribes still use rattles today in their culture as they have for generations. They are used in public gatherings. They are also important in the spiritual connection with the creator.
3 ) In history, Native American rattles were an integral part of tribal ceremonies having symbolic meaning to the tribes that used them. The symbols may include the animal, plant and mineral kingdom.
4 ) The shell of a turtle or a dried gourd shaker may represent the animal kingdom. The earthen paint used to decorate the rattle may represent the mineral kingdom. Small rocks may also represent the mineral kingdom as they are placed inside. The plant kingdom is many times seen in the type of handle the rattle has.
5 ) It’s interesting that not all tribes used drums but most did use rattles throughout history. Some of the American tribes used decorative rattles made with hand carved gourds or turtle shells. Some tribes like the Chumash of southern California used seaweed rattles.
6 ) One type among the American Indian tribes that was the most popular was the rawhide rattle. Each tribe had their own way of making the rawhide rattles. They used different beading patterns, colors and symbols. By studying the designs and colors used, you can tell which tribe made it. They were handcrafted works of art.
7 ) One thing that seemed to be a common thread between the tribes was that they used rattles along with dancing. They also used their rattles in healing rituals and spiritual journeys.
8 ) Native made rattles use a lot of materials found in nature such as leather, rawhide, beads and feathers. Other options are fur, fringe, seeds, rocks, antlers, horns, bones and shells. Each of these are what the artist uses to create a personal and unique Indian rattle.
9 ) Equally important is the material that is placed in the rattle. Many times corn, beans or manzanita seeds or trade beads are placed inside. One interesting custom is to use small smooth stones gathered from the opening of an ant hill.
10 ) Music and song as well as stories have always been in important part of Native American teaching. Sharing legends and teachings through ceremonies and rituals keeps traditions and cultural beliefs alive.
There is something almost magical about owning one and now days it is easier than ever to buy Native American rattles online. Display a rattle with your rustic southwest decor. Or, use an Indian rattle in your drumming circle.
Enjoy the original Indian art on authentic Native rattles. You will definitely be drawn to the unique history and sound of Native American rattles.
Craig Chambers is the founder of Mission Del Rey Southwest, offering unique hand crafted Native American rattles, artifacts and southwest decor. Learn more on his website and get his popular free ebook.