Sunday, November 30, 2008

In a previous post, Rocks and the Great Spirit, dated Nov. 7, 2008...I had included a picture of a Keokuk burlington stone blade I knapped for a tomahawk. I thought I would show what it ended up looking like. The blade is fit into a hardwood handle, with deer hide sewn on, and wrapped with rawhide. Boiled walnut hulls make a stain used to add coloring. Decoration is arctic coyote fur, bufallo toe bone, turkey feather, and seed beads.
Captain John Smith (1612), of the Plymouth Colony, was the first to mention this tool using the name "tomahack" The term "tomahawk" is derived from the Algonquian Indian words "tamahak" or "tamahakan". The earliest definitions of these words applied to stone-headed implements used as tools and weapons. Basically, it was a lightweight axe with a head of stone or bone attached to a handle that the Indians of North America used as a tool for chopping, as a weapon in combat, and in ceremony. After the Europeans arrived in America, the Indians traded with them for iron tomahawk heads. Some people think the expression bury the hatchet came from an Indian custom of burying a tomahawk to pledge peace. However, many scholars doubt that the Indians ever had such a custom.

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