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Native Americans: Tools and Weapons during America's Colonization

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Social Studies

This collection shares the tools and weapons of Native Americans until the early 1865. The material in this collection shows the ability of the Native Americans to create and thrive using primitive technology, as well as their ability to adapt to foreign technology.

This collection also makes apparent how despite the lack of education and industrial progress of the Native Americans, they were able create weapons and tools that were not only effective in fighting off their technologically superior invaders, but even surpass them in the quality of some of their creations. This even led to the Europeans beginning to see value in the works of the Native Americans, and even to begin copying the styles of the natives.

While the Native Americans were eventually forced to adopt the technology of their invaders, they still managed to maintain their sense of culture.  New ideas taken from the Europeans were not simply copied, but rather incorporated into Native American culture without drastically changing who they were as a people. Despite their inability to successfully fight of the American Colonists, the Native Americans showed great resolve and adaptability to be able to hold off the new Americans for as long as they did, and were able to help change the outcomes of wars among European countries.

Stone Tool Fragments

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.


NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Bone Awl

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Needle, needle case, and wrappers

National Museum of the American Indian

Used Obsidian Flake

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Náw-káw, Wood, Former Chief of the Tribe

Smithsonian American Art Museum