Throughout history, Eastern Woodland Indians gathered resources located within their environment for fashioning tools and weapons. Kickapoo Indians, one of the Eastern Woodland tribes, used stone, clay, animal skins and bones, and various types of wood when creating implements and weaponry. Later, trade with white settlers for iron and metal added to the proficiency of the weapons and tools.
The Kickapoo Indians collected wood from the forests in which they lived to make intricately carved war clubs. Hand-hewed from a single piece of wood, the upper end was shaped into a ball allowing for greater impact when hurled against an enemy’s skull, according to America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage. Subsequent versions of this deadly weapon contained a sharp metal piece jutting from the ball head.
Bows and Arrows
The Eastern Woodland tribes chose from a variety of wood to construct bows and arrows for hunting and warfare. Because they hunted on foot, the bows and arrows used by these Indians were longer than those used by tribes living in other areas. Stiff feathers from the tails of various birds were attached to the arrow for better control and precision. Arrowheads made from flint, bone, antler and eventually iron, were attached to the arrow using animal tendons to prepare these weapons for warfare.
Women of the Eastern Woodland tribes were responsible for fostering the growth of the tribe’s crops. Garden implements used for cultivation included stone hatchets, sticks for digging, hoes made of stone and bone and antler rakes.
According to Emporia State University in Kansas, Kickapoo means, “he moves about, standing now here, now there.” The Kickapoo Indians first home was in the Great Lakes region before relocating to other states in North America, including Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and eventually in Mexico. In 1765, the tribe settled in the Illinois area where trade with white men for iron helped to improve tool construction and capability. Iron hoes aided in the cultivation of crops, and iron-bladed knives became a common tool used by the Kickapoo tribe.
- Texas Indians: The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas
- "America's Fascinating Indian Heritage;" James A. Maxwell, et al; 1978
- Forest Preserve District of Cook County Illinois: Bows and Arrows
- indian arrowhead image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com