“Native American Life” series
Author: Rob Staeger
Publisher: Mason Crest, 2014
Ages: 10 up, Middle Grade
Long before American inventors Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison changed how we do things, Native Americans had been inventing tools and weapons from natural resources. These included transportation vehicles, clothing, coverings, containers, rope, needles, and other necessities of life needed to survive. Staeger divides the Native American groups into five regions: the Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest and Central and South America.
The locale of each region determined what kind of tools and weapons were made or needed. In the far north, for example, the Nootka required a thirty-foot dugout and long harpoons with pointed tips for dangerous whale hunts. They used wood and bone, and later iron when it became available. In Central and South America the Mayans needed tools to clear and irrigate the land for farming. Stone was commonly used. For protection in battle, the Aztecs wore “thick armor made of quilted cotton soaked in brine.” Readers learn about these weapons of war in interesting detail and colorful illustrations. They also learn about the tanning of hides in the Southwest, the making of birch bark canoes in the Northeast, and other techniques.
Over time new resources became available and were also adopted for use by Native Americans, such as the horses, rifles, and metals introduced by white explorers. Native Americans proved to be worthy experts at adaptation and innovation. Native American Tools & Weapons is a good general source for young researchers, complete with photos, illustrations, glossary, chronology and index.