Skin drums were important to First Nations festivities. As essentially the only musical instrument in Inland Tlingit culture, singing and dancing was often accompanied by drumming. Drumming was also used in some games like the stick game in order to keep pace and to add excitement.
Skin drums such as this one were made of untanned caribou or moose hide. Wet hide was stretched over a circular frame and latched in the back with sinew or babiche to form a type of 'x' shaped handle. To make the frame, wood was softened and bent into a circular shape.
This drum originally had a design in red painted on the hide. Unfortunately the design is now indistinguishable. Traditionally, if a drum owner desired to have it painted with a family crest, someone of another moiety (societal clan) would have had to paint it for him. It is possible that this drum made by Charlie Bob's family could have been painted by a member of the opposite moiety, if the drum was indeed painted with a crest.
George Johnston Museum, Teslin