Hoop drum

The importance of community and family unity resonates through the traditional use of this native craft.

Excerpted from Native Crafts by Maxine Trottiere. Copyright 2000 by Kids Can Press. Excerpted with permission by Kids Can Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Many Aboriginal people say that the sound of a drum is the sound of a beating heart. Some drums were used for ceremonies and other drums were beaten during dancing. The Cherokee and Oneida made water drums of wood and animal skin. An Inuit drum would belong to the entire village. Today, the singing and drumming at gatherings or powwows create an unforgettable sound.

You will need:

  • A round metal cookie tin
  • A can opener
  • Self-sticking shelf paper
  • Scissors, a pencil and ruler
  • A piece of leather large enough to fit over the top of the cookie tin
  • A knife
  • 2.5 metres (8 ft.) of leather lace

    To Make:
    1. Have an adult remove the bottom of the cookie tin with the can opener.

    2. Cut a piece of shelf paper the same circumference and width as the tin. Peel off the backing and stick the paper on the tin.
    (Click here to see this step)

    3. Spread the leather out, smooth side down. Set the tin on the leather and trace a circle about 2.5 cm (1-inch) bigger than the tin. Cut out the circle.

    4. Mark 12 evenly spaced dots around the edge of the rough side of the leather, about 2.5 cm (1-inch) in from the edge. Use the knife to carefully poke holes in the leather at these dots.

    5. Cut the leather lace into six equal pieces. Soak the laces and the leather circle in warm water for about 15 minutes, until they soften.

    6. Take the laces and leather out of the water and pat them dry. Thread a lace through one of the holes in the leather. Double knot the lace, leaving a length hanging.
    (Click here to see this step)

    7. Place the cookie tin on the center of the leather on the rough side. Stretch the lace across the bottom of the drum and thread it up through the hole that is across from where the lace is tied. Pull it tight and double knot it. Thread and tie the next three laces the same way, pulling the leather tight but being careful not to tear it.

    8. As you pull the last two laces across the bottom of the drum, wrap them around the other laces where they cross in the center. Tie the laces tightly.
    (Click here to see this step)

    9. Set the drum in a warm place to dry for a few days. As the leather dries, it will shrink and tighten.
    (Click here to see this step)

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