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Native Americans
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Native American Drums and Flutes



Native American Drums and Flutes
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    courtship, elkskin, flutist, reappeared, tipi, Tomtom, tomtoms, accompany, essence, society, buckskin, origin, sinew, hollowed-out, maiden, pecked
     content words:    Native Americans, Native American, Mother Earth, In Native American, South America, Jerry C., High Eagle


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Native American Drums and Flutes
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Music is an inspiring part of many cultures because beautiful music comes from the heart. The Native Americans had their own unique instruments to express themselves. Their drums added a lively beat to their rituals and celebrations. Flutes helped Indian warriors express their love.
 
2     The drum is the most important Native American instrument. Powwows and celebrations would not be the same without its rhythmic pounding. One legend said that the drum made an enormous BOOM when the spirits were coming to Mother Earth. The sound came closer and closer until finally the Creator asked about its origin. The spirit of the drum answered, and it asked the Creator if it could be a part of people's lives. The spirit of the drum asked to be able to be accompany the people when they sang from their hearts. The spirit also wanted to represent Mother Earth's heartbeat. The Creator granted the spirit's request. From then on, the sound of drums became a part of Native American celebrations.
 
3     Native American drums all have the same basic design, although each tribe had its unique elements of style. Drums were made out of a wooden frame or a hollowed-out log. Tanned buckskin or elkskin was stretched tightly over this frame and held in place by sinew thongs. Drums were usually two to three feet across and were played by groups of men. The men stood around the drum in a circle and pounded together. Some drums were smaller and were played by tomtoms. Tomtom is not an Indian word, though. It comes from a British word for a child's drum.

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