Native American Tomahawks

Published on October 19, 2011 by Amy

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Native American Tomahawks
Native American Tomahawks

Original native American tomahawks were used as tools or weapons and were made from stone. But native American tomahawks were also used to confirm friendships and even establish treaties. In this case, native American tomahawks were a little more fancy than the ones in everyday use. Perhaps these native American tomahawks were made from silver or pewter and engraved ornately and were owned by those chiefs who were considered to be prominent.

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As time passed native American tomahawks were made from brass or iron. Native American tomahawks were examples of native American artwork, as well.

Use the word tomahawk anywhere, and immediately images of the old west pop in to mind. Native American tomahawks were in the possession of most Indians, and each individual decorated his own to suit his personal taste. The popularity of the native American tomahawk can be seen by the many portraits of tribal chiefs and other prestigious native Americans. Rarely will you see such artwork without the subject proudly displaying a native American tomahawk. Many of these were decorated with rawhide, brass, painted, or anything could have been used, even stonework, like turquoise and onyx inlays.

Perhaps the most common embellishments on native American tomahawks were medicine bundles, thought to bring about supernatural victories during battles. Another common decorum on native American tomahawks was eagle feathers, earned for acts of bravery.

Perhaps the owner of native American tomahawks would also clip a little hair from the mane or tail off his pony and affix it to his tomahawk.

Not commonly realized is the fact that the white man proficiently used native American tomahawks, as well. Native American tomahawks made excellent every day tools. Native American tomahawks were light weight, and could effectively be used with just one hand.

The most important native American tomahawks in history were the ones outfitted with a pipe bowl. It was made from a hollowed out handle on native American tomahawks.

High priced furs were traded for native American tomahawks pipe bowls and were owned mostly by prestigious leaders.

Native American tomahawks were effective weapons because they could be used in close up hand to hand combat, or they could be thrown at the enemy from a distance. Native American tomahawks were also used in celebrations and ceremonies.

A common misunderstanding of native American tomahawks, perhaps due to their Hollywood depiction is that the axe like instruments were used to do scalping. Scalping was the practice of removing the hair once an enemy was dead, and sometimes even while he was still living, so it is reasonable to believe that sharp knifes were used to do this instead of native American tomahawks. It is certainly possible that tomahawks were used to do at least some scalping if the scalper got in a pinch.

These days the word tomahawk has become associated with much more than just native American tomahawks. Submarines and cruise missiles have commonly been named after the native American tomahawks.

Today one can find many replicas of native American tomahawks for sale.

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