Handmade Professional Powwow Drums and Native Products, Medicine Wheels and Native American Shields

By: Tribal Spirit  09-12-2011

The Medicine Wheel carries the teachings of life, being in balance, moving in circle and receiving wisdom and knowledge that carry us through our everyday existence. Many tribal nations had some form of teaching around the Medicine Wheel—natives of the Americas, and others across the oceans such as the Celtic people.

The colors of the Four Directions often varied; mostly black, red, white, and yellow which signified the races of the world. The Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual were also represented in the circle. It is taught that every living creature comes to us from one of the directions and carries with it the teachings and medicines of that direction.

We could say that, as humans, we each birth into a place on the circle and through experience, guidance from our ancestors, and courage we evolve to other places in the circle, and eventually we go beyond the circle. The teaching of the Medicine Wheel reaches far into the spirit world and can be used as a blueprint for Native spirituality.

Traditionally, Shields were used for protection. Our connection to the world, both physically and spiritually, would show up as symbols displayed on the family Shield. This would often take the form of an animal totem, being saved from a lightning strike, something received through a vision quest, bravery in battle, an amazing birth, and many other things.

The modern Shield varies greatly. Many carry the teachings for the animal or symbol they represent, and are used by people to honor their clan or totem animal. The Shields that we make are simple drawings of the animals, which give everyone an opportunity to display the totem that they are connected to.

Over the years we have also been honored with a powwow depiction, petroglyph style, and have created many Shields with this drawing. It represents our coming together in good spirit, laughter and play.

Our Medicine Wheels and Shields are constantly evolving. As the Creator puts materials and influences in our path, we are inspired to create new expressions of the Medicine Wheel and the Shield. Feel free to ask about our current projects.

Other products and services from Tribal Spirit


Handmade Professional Powwow Drums and Native Products, Native American Rattles

All nations used the rattle in one form or another, as simple as a handful of stones shaken in ones hands to the more intricate beaded turtle rattles that are used by many of the Iroquois nations. Native American rattles or shakers are an instrument that is used in sweatlodge ceremonies, healing, community songs or a moment of reflection and connection on a walkabout/journey.


Handmade Professional Powwow Drums and Native Products, Leather and Raw Hides

There is also increasing pressure on North American tanneries because of our strict environmental protection policies, while there are virtually none in off-shore tanneries. We get half of the hides processed into raw hide for our Drums and the other half tanned into leather for our creations and for sale to our customers.


Handmade Professional Powwow Drums and Native Products, Hand Drums

The technique is the same for all of them—raw hide pulled over a wood frame—but there are so many different uses for Hand Drums that there are many different subtleties to the building. Deer is thinner, open pored, louder, and tends to be popular for Round Dance Singers, Smoke Dances and Women’s community singing. We have a great supply of White Ash living around us, so we cut White Ash to width, and dimension and steam the wood.


Handmade Professional Powwow Drums and Native Products, Dreamcatchers

Many people have them placed in their vehicles and are used for protection, "good fortune", or in solidarity with Native American teachings. Legend has it that Grandmother Spider, who sang the universe into existence, was saddened by the bad dreams of her human children. Grandmother Spider then bent the branches of the Willow into a circle connecting all the people and the creatures in the world.


Handmade Professional Powwow Drums and Native Products, Drum Bags and Purses

Over the years of making Drums we have come to realize that the best way to protect the Drum from the changes of humidity in the environment is to keep them stored in a leather bag or wrapped in leather. Our collection of wild Deer and Moose hides that we transform into leather has been our source of material for our Drum Bags and Purses.


Handmade Professional Powwow Drums and Native Products, Black Ash Baskets

There are many different nations who have made Black Ash Baskets, ranging from about the middle of Ontario or Michigan, right through Quebec, New York to the Atlantic coast as far south as New Jersey. There are several types of Ash trees scattered all over Turtle Island, but the Black Ash tree is the only tree which we can disassemble by pounding it to use the splints or wood for baskets.