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Navajo Weapons

navajocodetalkersadmin on September 2, 2015 - 10:00 am in Navajo History

The Navajo Indians originally began their tribe back in the 1500’s. Over time they became known as the largest tribe of Native American Indians. There homes were very simple and they enjoyed nature, but in the 1600’s their territory was invaded by Spanish settlers. After years of suffering through raids by both European and Spanish interests, the Navajo Indians began to make their own weapons and carry war gear at almost all times.

Popular Navajo Weapons

The Navajo Indians were simplistic about the weapons that they carried. The most popular Navajo weapons used include the bow and arrow, a club and the lance. These were the 3 main weapons of the Navajo Indians and they were the primary weapons used until the 19th century. These weapons were used for protection and to guard their territory. Violence isn’t something that the Navajo Indians took pride in, but they needed some form of protection from the constant raids that were occurring.

Decorating Weapons and Headgear

One of the main characteristics of Navajo weapons that can’t go without being noticed are the decorations. Not only were shields fitted with feathers, but animal furs were also used to cover bows and arrows. Not only were the weapons of the Navajos decorated, but they also wore headgear that draped down their back. Some special headgear was worn only by tribal leaders, but almost all Navajo Indians wore some type of headgear for both protection and camouflage. Many of the headgear worn was more simple and neutral in color to blend in and not be as noticeable.

The Short Bow

The most popular Navajo weapon was most likely the short bow. To this day, it is the only type of arrow made on the Navajo Reservation. The short bow is still produced with the same care and tradition of the past. Many of the short bow arrows that were used had turkey feathers instead of chicken feathers. The arrows that were used as weapons were often hand painted. The design and style of the short bow arrow does vary slightly, but many look similar. Almost all arrows that were used as weapons had a tricolor paint scheme, but the colors used do vary by tribe.

Short bows are still produced on Navajo Reservations and they are made to look just like the historic artifacts of the past. The weapons used were simple, but they offered adequate protection for the Navajo Indians.

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