Native American Rattles -Rawhide, Gourd, Turtle

Published on April 2, 2014 by Amy

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Gourd Rattle
Gourd Rattle

Native American rattles and shakers as they are known to Native Americans are very important to the Native American western Navajo culture as well as other tribes. An Indian rattle may be used as a dance rattle or to accompany the rhythm of the Native Indian drums. Navajo people as well as nearly every other tribe use rattles in Native American ceremonial rituals. Our traditional Native American rattles for sale are made by Tarahumara Indians, Navajo artists and others.

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Ceremonial music often includes the use of turtle shell rattles. Of the many types of Indian rattles it is probably the turtle shell rattle as well as Native American “gourd rattles” that are the most well know, and the simple rawhide rattle is very common to all tribes in Native American culture. Different than the Native Cherokee Indians, the Native Navajo artists of the southwest have a unique display of Native American patterns and symbols on their Indian rattles which are distinctly Native American. Western tribes such as Apache, Pueblo, Zuni and Hopi can also each be differentiated by their art work and hand crafts.

Native American art seen in the decorating of Navajo rattles is usually symbolic. The Navajo bear and the Navajo eagle have particular meanings about life. Navajo artifacts of the past are the same Navajo patterns in use today. The Native American rattle is a predominant part of Native community life, ceremonies and rituals and has become a Native American symbol for music, dance and medicine as well as spirituality.

A Native American rattle may be made with unique materials like the red eared turtle shell rattle and may also include leather, rawhide, bead work and feathers as well as fur, fringe, seeds, rocks, antlers, horns, bones and shells. The items placed inside the rattle also have special importance and are often chosen with great care. Occasionally clay beads are used as well as blue corn or manzanita seeds. Some Native people who make rattles search for small smooth pebbles found near the opening of an ant hill to place inside their rattle.

The Native Indian rattle is also an instrument that is said to refer to the three kingdoms. The animal kingdom, represented by the container or feather decoration, the mineral kingdom represented by rocks used for sound or the paint used in the decoration. The plant kingdom is represented by the container or the wooden handle of the rattle. Buy Native American rattles online, for meditation. The sound of a rattle is said to help clear one’s mind.

Source: missiondelrey Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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