Indian Bow Making (Book One, Card 15)

The use of bow and arrow technology by Native Americans in the Southwest United States did not begin until roughly 1,500 years ago. The atlatl (an Aztec word from Mexico) was the primary hunting weapon prior to the invention of the bow and arrow. The majority of today’s “arrowheads” that are larger than 1 inch were actually tips for long, spear-length atlatl shafts used to bring down enormous animals. True arrowheads were what are commonly referred to as “bird-points.” They were employed for a variety of purposes, including bison and rabbit hunting as well as warfare, in addition to bird hunting. Bows back then were not like the huge, expensive hunting bows that hunters use today. They were significantly lighter. The English longbow (famous for its association with Robin Hood) was unsuited to the needs of early hunters on the American continent, where deep woodlands had to be navigated and a bulky long bow would get tangled in vines and bushes!