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 Ed-Digenous Traditions and sold as Kits. 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.

Assembly Instructions


    1. Soak Rawhide in container for 3 hrs or more
    2. Put your rawhide pieces together and line up holes
    3. Take your needle and lace in your sinew through the needle hole
    4. Lace in from the one end of the rattle rawhide, pull through till each ends meet to the same length
    5. Tie 1 knot to hold in place then take your needle with one lace and needle through to the end and repeat with the other lace but lacing in the opposite entrance of the holes
    6. Tie the laces together with 4 knots for security…prevents slippage
    7. Take your stick handle and spread the end on your rattle and slide in the stick to spread the inner area
    8. Spread out your funnel
    9. Spill your bag of sand into a cup or container and spill into your funnel to fill in the rattle bag
    10. When half way of filling your bag, grab your stick to pack down the sand and keep packing till it spreads out the bag, then repeat by adding more sand till it’s packed tight and your bag is rounded out
    11. Keep handle in at the end and tie
    12. Let hang and dry overnight
    13. Remove the handle from the rattle
    14. Fill in about 2 inches of water in a cup or small container and soak the open end of the rattle and let stand for about hr
    15. Take rattle out of container
    16. Take some of your corn kernels and spill into pouch of your rattle then stick in the handle with the notch end into your rattle about 1 1/2” in
    17. Let dry and dress up with leather, beads, feathers or other raw materials that the natives would have used



PLEASE NOTE: Participants have option to dress rattle with beads, fur and leather.


Curriculum Outcome

- suitable for junior kindergarten and up -

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