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Old 6th September 2007, 12:27 AM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default Native American Arrows

Interested in finding out more on native American arrows, and am hoping there are some collectors or enthusiasts out there interested in this little discussed sector of ethnographic weapons. It seems that as in most ethnographic material culture there is considerable emphasis on symbolism. I am wondering about arrows in particular, and have found that various tribes used certain markings or distinguishing characteristics that would identify an arrow as belonging to a certain owner. This was of course key in hunting, and would determine the owner of the game brought down.

Can anyone elaborate more on this practice, maybe even describe key markings such as colored bands on shafts or marks etc. ascribed to certain tribes? Any recommended resources that might offer information on this subject?

Thanks very much,

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 6th September 2007, 02:23 AM   #2
Berkley
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Jim,
I am interested, but hardly knowledgeable. Here is an illustration of a beaded Sioux bag c. 1880 and "a selection of Plains Indian hunting arrows" not further identified. Source: The Peacemakers: Arms and Adventure in the American West by R.L.Wilson, Random House, New York (1992). Wilson notes: "Bows and arrows present difficulty in dating since they changed little over generations." Obviously the pictured arrows date from after the introduction of iron and steel into the Western Hemisphere, but indigenous stone points and metal probably coexisted for centuries as well I would think.
I hope we do have some experts who can provide more information.
Berk
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Old 6th September 2007, 03:07 AM   #3
Jim McDougall
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Hi Berk,
Thank you so much for the response and for the excellent reference. The point made about the dating of bows and arrows is well made, and it is apparant that each tribe carried its own traditions in degree for indeterminate periods of time. It seems that the description of the meaning of certain symbolisms is often conflicting in various resources also.

I too am hoping that someone out there may be well versed in the study of the weapons of this fascinating culture, and may be willing to share that knowledge here.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 6th September 2007, 05:09 AM   #4
Jeff D
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Hi Jim and Berk,

I think Evan S. Connell went into some detail on the variations between the nations and tribes in his book Son of the morning star . Damned if I can find my copy to confirm this!

Regarding the use of iron arrow heads Joseph M. Marshall III in his book The day the world ended at Little Bighorn first edition on Page 98
"Around 1840, the Lakota had fairly consistent access to iorn in the form of metal pots, the flat hoops from wooden barrels and wagon wheel rims. Some of that material was acquired in trade or after white people had discarded it. Iron was used by the Lakota to make knives, lance points, and arrowheads for hunting and warfare. The iron was either melted down or cut with a cold chisel or, if available, a hacksaw. The consistent availability of iron was a benefit to the Lakota because they could make knives and projectile points with it faster than ones from stone. (After 1850, the skill to make stone projectile points began to be a lost art.) ...

I have seen a few other articles on this topic and will look this week to see what else I can add.

All the Best
Jeff
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Old 6th September 2007, 06:10 AM   #5
Jim McDougall
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Hi Jeff,
Definitely an outstanding book! Wish I had my copy handy too
Excellent info on the use of iron by the Lakota. It seems amazing how effective the Plains Indians were with the bow and arrow.
Thank you very much for the reference on that....look forward to what else you might find.
All the best,
Jim
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Old 6th September 2007, 09:35 AM   #6
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Default American Indian arrows

Hello dear Jim,

I guess, I shall find some information in my library. Don't think this will become a riddle.

Many greetings!

Ronald
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