from Native American Old Photo
The Tomahawk, an offensive tool par excellence together with a bow and arrows at the time of the first clashes between whites and Indians (and even earlier, in the daily use of the various tribes), is the combat hatchet of Native Americans. In truth it was used for a very long time also by the European colonists as it had numerous merits and, among these, there was that it also lent itself to being launched.
The name, Tomahawk, is the exact transliteration in English of the term used by the Algonquin of Virginia from which the whites heard about it for the first time.
Originally the head of the Indian tomahawk was made with a simple piece of worked stone, or with the bison’s jaw, but with the arrival of the Europeans and the start of commercial exchanges everything changed and from that moment only iron or brass and heads were used pre-packaged by European craftsmen or settlers.
The handle of the tomahawks was usually less than 60 centimeters long and made of Carya wood. The head had a weight that could go from about 250 to 550 grams, with a blade no longer than 10 centimeters. At the opposite end of the blade there could be a small hammer, a point or simply be rounded.
In the various museums of indigenous art there are many examples of Indian tomahawks, mainly with the metal head and in the different shapes just described.
The stone heads were made of soapstone, and some specimens used in rituals were carved.
The Europeans made some specimens both in stone and metal with the hollow handle and a pipe integrated in the head to be able to smoke tobacco.
the tomahawk was predominantly an offensive tool; he could strike with fair precision from a good distance and was silent, as well as tremendously effective. Of course, a non-offensive use could not be missing, for example for cutting wood or cleaning the long poles for the tents of the Plains Indians.
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