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Knowledge about Native Americans

Native American Weapons

The Ceremonial or Warrior's Lance is carried in ceremonies to honor the bravery and success of their owner against the tribe's enemies. The lance is adorned with feathers representing the eagle to bring to the lance's owner the power and freedom of the highest flier in the sky. Each feather also marks a coup, or battle success. It is made with natural wood and trimmed with buckskin, beads, and tiny feathers. The buckskin leather is wrapped with hand strung beading. It measures about 68" long including the bone tip. This is for display purposes only. It was made just down the street from our trading post by some good friends of Richard's.

The Plains Style Lance was always an important part of the weapons arsenal. Early in prehistory, the lance was a stone tipped weapon, most likely with a hardwood or bone foreshaft to make changing points easy and to avoid having to carry another heavy shaft as backup. When steel trade blades or broken swords from the Spanish or cavalry replaced the traditional stone, the lance became a very durable item. Lances were primarily thrusting weapons, and were often used from horseback. They varied in length from a reported 14 foot model used by the Comanches to a more normal six foot. The lance was meant to be thrown so much as rammed. The trick was to let go at the right moment so as to get the maximum force without toppling horse and rider. Lances were wielded by only a few prominent warriors, usually as a token of their status.

The lance is an important element in Native American culture and was used chiefly as a hunting tool though it did grow to play a role in ornamental dress. The lance is another example of the full use Indians made of their environment. Animal bones and skins were fashioned into early hunting tools and weapons.

The lance or spear is an important element in Native American culture and was used chiefly as a hunting tool. It grew to play a role in ornamental dress and as a weapon in battle. The lance is another example of the full use Indians made of their environment.

Navajo bows were not as long as most others. The Navajo went to great lengths to smooth arrow shafts with hand-tooling techniques that often included large game antlers and river rocks. Many times arrow points were recycled from discarded tips found in abandoned campsites. Their skill at chipping flints was on equal par with other tribes. Artifacts such as bows are said to have provided a spiritual or divine connection for their users not so much through their function, rather from the raw materials employed in their construction.

Indian warriors gained status not only from their success in battle, but their skills in crafting hunting tools and weapons. Ash, Black Locust, Black Cherry, Osage Orange, White Oak and Hickory were commonly used woods for bow production. Arrows were made mostly from dogwood, yaupon holly, witch hazel and willow because they could be smoothed and straighten easily. Arrow points made of noviculite and obsidian were chipped with a moose and deer antler. Ceremonial rituals focused on power, strength, healing, wisdom and intuition in life's journey and use artifacts such as this bow in to connect the warrior to his spirit guides.