Information About Native American Tools

Published on September 17, 2012 by Casey

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Drinking and eating utensils were often made from animal horns
Drinking and eating utensils were often made from animal horns.

Information About Native American Tools

Native Americans needed many tools in their daily lives to assist with hunting, growing crops, fashioning utilitarian crafts and holding spiritual ceremonies. Often, tools made of stone or bone required other tools to shape them.

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Making Baskets

Native Americans scraped and trimmed plant fibers for making baskets using obsidian blades. For more intricate Native-American baskets, the weaver used sewing awls made from cactus spines or bones, or employed her own teeth to split fibers into smaller sections.

Using Bones and Horns as Tools

Bison shoulder bones fashioned into hoes helped Native Americans prepare soil and cultivate crops. Animal horns doubled as vessels and ladles for food use, and filed or shaped deer antlers became scraping tools for animals hides or weapons.

Versatile Shell Tools

Mussel shells made good corn-kernel scrapers. Larger shells did double-duty as hide-scrapers or hoes for farming

Shaping and Using Arrowheads and Knives

Hunting provided much of the food for Native American peoples, creating the need for arrowheads, knives, spears, and daggers of bone or shaped stone. Animal bones or antlers served as spear shafts and handles for stone blades.

Features of Manos and Metates

Large stone slabs called metates were platforms for grinding corn, nuts and herbs, and also served as work areas for shaping stone or bone tools. Native Americans then used different-sized manos, or handheld stones of granite or igneous rock, in conjunction with metates to chip, flake or shape other tools.

Source: ehow Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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