An Indian flute was one of the most important instruments in Native American culture. Next to the drum, it was the most commonly used instrument in many tribes. They were made out of many materials. They could easily be carved out of wood or made with dried clay. The length of the instrument along with how many finger holes the flute had varied in different regions. Some flute makers have even made flutes from hollowed out animal bones. Most were made to look simple, often resembling a recorder.
Traditionally, Native American flutes played a large part of their music culture. Early flutes were long tubes and in time the two piece flute was invented. The two piece flutes were stuck together using resin or epoxy. On the inside of the flute is a thin strip of wood. This works as the resonator. A wood block was also placed above the thin strip of wood to help direct the air to the finger holes. This allowed them to move their fingers over the holes creating different sounds.
While Native American music was primarily a vocal art, it was often accompanied by a single instrument like a drum or a flute. Some ceremonies or rituals, like ones that restore the balance between positive and negative, can last up to 10 days and nights because the lyrics are so complex. Native Americans called "medicine men" normally chat the vast array of lyrics while accompanied by an Indian flute or drum.
American Indian tribes, like the Navajo, had traditional music for many things they did each day. While some music was meant to be sung while working or doing chores, some music was more personal. They had special songs to celebrate traditions. Things like marriage ceremonies had specific music and the Indian flute played a large role in the tradition.