Navajo and Cherokee Ceremonial Talking Sticks and Rattles
For centuries Native Americans have used a simple method of keeping order at council meetings. Only one person is allowed to talk at a time. The speaker is determined by who holds the Talking Stick. As the Talking Stick is passed to each person in the council, all members get to give their opinion equally and without interruption. Often a time limit is set for each oration in order to further encourage a fair representation of opinions. The Stick carries with it the respect for free speech. The words that are spoken should come from the heart and be soft and warm (Rabbit Fur) and be courageous and wise (Eagle Feather). The Beads remind us that Great Spirit hears the message of the heart as well as the spoken word.
Different Tribes use rattles now as they have for generations. They often carry symbols from the plant, animal and mineral kingdom. Although not all tribes used drums most did use rattles throughout history.
Each Tribe had their own way of making rattles, using antler and wood amongst other things.
Popularly rawhide was used decorated with varying patterns and symbols in colors and designs. They were handcrafted works of art used as a part of music, dance, medicine spirituality.