The Musical Vibrations of the Powwow.
The powwow was originally created in the Native American culture as a spring event that would assemble many people in one place to build relationships while renewing lives. Powwows also had religious magnitude in honoring and naming ceremonies. The term powwow comes from the Algonquin language, which European settlers thought referred to as a counsel or large gathering, so eventually the word spread throughout the land. Even in modern times, powwows are continuing to be a significant part of the lives of Native Americans. These gatherings are often held every weekend between the months of June to September. Powwows consist of many necessary components, such as music and dance, which allow the ceremony to reach Native Americans on various levels. To bring about music, only a few percussion instruments and drums are used. Out of these, it is easy to say that the drum is the most essential. Though the combination of song and dance are the primary structures for the powwow, these would be unachievable without the beats from the drum. Since powwows have changed greatly over the years by involving non-Indian friends and family to take part, the drum is something that is still associated to the traditional Indian way of life. .
The drum is more than just a musical instrument; it has a life of its own. Because the drum is so sacred, some drum groups even hold ceremonies to have their drums blessed and named. Gifts are made to it and some have their own sacred medicine pipes. The drum is made from a wooden shell and covered in animal hide; the wood represents honesty and the animal hide illustrates sharing. The average size drum is about twenty-six inches in diameter and can seat about eight men around it. A good drummer is expected to know an assortment of songs without repeating the same song within a powwow. The core responsibility of a drummer in a powwow is to keep beat and time in songs.