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Native Americans: Tools, Weapons, and Resources

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Social Studies Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection shares the tools, weapons, and resources of Native Americans. 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.

This collection will also explore the use of resources for protection, including but not limited to armor and footwear. The uses of these resources were vital to their survival. Adaptations of these resources and development, with influence of modern technologies, still find the basis of early resources still effective today.  

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 off 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.

The tools they used to survive without the technological advancements made available to Europeans is astounding. From their ability to create clothing, weapons, food, entertainment and shelter to their useful strategies, the Native American people were able to sustain a lifestyle made easier. 

Stone Tool Fragments

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Flint

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

Pair of Beaded Moccasins

NMNH - Education & Outreach

Loom, unfinished weaving, and weaving tools

National Museum of the American Indian

Stone Hammer

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Wooden Armor Vest

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Spotted Elk

Catalog of American Portraits

Native/American Fashion 11 | Lynette Nylander

National Museum of the American Indian

Tomahawk Dance [sheet music]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

[Music-making instruments]

National Anthropological Archives