Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Native American Tools & Weapons by Rob Staeger: Book Review

Native American Tools & Weapons
“Native American Life” series
Author: Rob Staeger
Publisher: Mason Crest, 2014
Ages: 10 up, Middle Grade
Pages: 63


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


  1. It is always amazing to me how they lived off the land and used only what they needed. We came along and shot it all to hell. What I love is that my hubby lived on Baffin Island when he was a kid and he went with the native people on seal hunts and slept in an igloo and was toasty and warm

  2. What a fascinating experience as a kid for your husband. That's something you'd never forget!

  3. Might need to get that book soon... if economy is an indicator of living standards here.

  4. Dixie made me laugh! Hopefully it's not a prediction that will come true! The book sounds fascinating, I know a young fellow interested in these things--I'll send his mom over to check the book out.


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