Past Meetup

Native American Drum Making Workshop

This Meetup is past

8 people went


Native American Drum Making Workshop with Grandfather Rick McBride

Saturday, February 23rd



Long associated with Native America is the pow-wow drum, which can be played by eight or more people, depending on its size.

Another type of drum growing in popularity in mainstream circles is the personal hand drum. They show up in drum circles, sweat lodges, and can be used for healing.

In this workshop you have the choice of building either a 15 inch octagonal hand drum or round hand drum (size is approximate). You must choose which drum you want to make when you pay your deposit for the materials as the individual drum frames are made by hand by Grandfather Rick ahead of time.

Making your own sacred drum begins with the idea, is made more concrete in acquiring the skills and materials necessary to create it, and culminates in the actual construction of it, which is typically done in a ceremonial setting*; smudging, offering tobacco, and a prayerful attitude.

After the drum has fully dried, which takes anywhere from four to seven days, it is then "awakened" in ceremony.

The process of creating, then awakening a sacred drum is akin to birthing a child and similar care is given throughout the entire process.

Grandfather Rick has been building hand drums for 13 years and has helped many people to create their own sacred drum, a process he fervently believes in, especially if the reason to build the drum is for use in ceremony.

As he teaches how to physically create the drum, he is also teaching about the drum; about when to use it, drum etiquette and technique, styles and songs. He also meets the workshop participants again after the drums are ready in order to wake them up. It takes about 5 days for a drum to dry, in which time it cannot be played.

*Drums are built in deference to the Spirits and with their help, but the actual process of building a drum is not ceremony.


Grandfather Rick starts by smudging, and singing the Protection Song; he then calls the Four Directions, which puts us in ceremony, thereby allowing him to sing the sacred songs in their original language (no songs are sung in English).

Grandfather Rick is a mixed blood Tsalagi (Cherokee) who has been a life-long student of American Indian Lifeways, actively following the Red Road, and participating in Native American ceremony for some 30 years.

He was formally taught advanced principles of the Medicine Wheel by Cheyenne Elder Hyemeyohsts Storm in 1994.

He is a sundancer, traditionally trained and authorized to lead Native American Ceremony including Inipi (sweat lodge), Pipe Ceremony, and Drum Healing.

Grandfather Rick’s place is that of "translator" of the Native American Lifeways to help anybody sincerely interested in learning how to become a better human being, his hope being to help achieve a proper balance in human race consciousness.

His Spirit name is Cante Lute in the Lakota language, meaning Red Heart; this name was passed in ceremony at Sundance.

For further information, visit his website: (


$160 for octagonal drum ($100 deposit) or $190 for round drum ($130 deposit).
Deposits for materials are required by Feb. 13th.
Email Pearl Rauberts at [masked]