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Kickapoo Tools & Weapons

    Bows, Arrows and Hand Tools

    • Both bows and arrows were crafted from the surrounding woodlands and built to be longer than those of other tribes to accommodate the Kickapoo's grounded hunting. Stiff feathers and tips made of flint, bone, and later iron were attached to the arrow's shaft using dried animal tendon and dried tree sap. Other hand tools and weapons consisted of flint points inserted into wood handles, later redesigned using iron. These small weapons, including iron-bladed knives and tomahawks, allowed for fighting at close quarters while serving as tools for skinning animals.

    War Clubs and Spears

    • The Kickapoo carved elaborate war clubs from large, single blocks of outlying wood. These clubs were carved into a ball at one end, allowing for maximum damage when thrown at an enemy during battle. After the introduction of iron, war clubs were altered to include small iron studs hammered into the ball to inflict further damage during warfare. In addition to war clubs and small hand weapons for close combat, the Kickapoo used long spears in warfare, crafted from long shafts of wood and flint and subsequently iron tips, much like their arrows.

    Food Storage Tools

    • The Kickapoo made containers from tree bark to store food and water. Southern Kickapoo tribes weaved these containers out of reeds, as Texas and Mexico lacked the necessary trees and bark typically used in the north to craft these containers. Both tribes crafted bowls out of soft stones and molded clay into pottery, which was then ornately decorated with carvings.

    Farming and Gardening Tools

    • Like other native tribes, the Kickapoo practiced hunting and gathering, which included farming and gardening. The Kickapoo employed the use of hatchets made of carved stone, carved sticks for digging holes for seed, hoes made of carved stone or bones, and rakes devised from antler. The Kickapoo improved upon these tools with the use of iron, which worked to fortify the tools, making them more efficient.

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