Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Boethuk Indian Weapons


These, whether offensive or defensive, or for killing game, were simply the bow and arrow, spear, and club. The arrow-heads were of two kinds, viz.:—stone, bone or iron, the latter material being derived from Europeans, and the blunt arrow, the point being a knob continuous with the shaft—the former of these was used for killing quadrupeds and large birds, the latter for killing small birds—two strips of goose feathers were tied on to balance the arrow, and it has been remarked by many persons who have seen the Red Indians' arrows, that they have invariably been a yard long; the reason of this would seem to be that their measure for the arrow was the arm's length, that is, from the centre of the chest to the tip of the middle finger, that being the proper length to draw the bow—the latter was about five feet long, generally made of mountain ash, but sometimes of spruce.
Their spears were of two kinds—the one, their chief weapon, was twelve feet in length, pointed with bone or iron, whenever the latter material could be obtained, and was used in killing deer and other animals. The other was fourteen feet in length and was used chiefly, if not wholly, in killing seals—the head or point being easily separated from the shaft—the service of the latter being, indeed mainly, to guide the point into the body of the animal, and which being effected, the shaft was withdrawn, and a strong strip of deer skin, which was always kept fastened to the spear head, was held by the Indian, and who in this manner secured his prey.