Heritage, 2011, Volume 2 Page: 36
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Vignette on a chief's certificate pre-
sented in 1761 by French Louisiana
Governor Louis de Kerlerec to Chero-
kee Chief Stalking Turkey.
FIREARMS OF THE NATIVE AMERICANS
By Tom Power
Up until the time of their first encounter with European
explorers, Native Americans lived in a Stone Age culture
where essential tools and weapons were fashioned by hand
from stone. Arrowheads and spearheads, as well as knives and
hide scrapers, were chipped (or knapped) from flint and other
hard types of rock. The entire hunter-gatherer culture was
built upon the ability to make these tools that were needed
for everyday life.
item requested by the French explorer Robert de La Salle.
Early French and English colonists bought the loyalty of
many tribes by giving gifts of firearms or by trading guns for
animal pelts. In Spanish Colonial America, the policy was to
convert the natives but not to arm them. The early Pilgrims in
Massachusetts also had laws against supplying Indians with
weapons, especially after King Phillip's War in 1675. During
the French and Indian War, 1756-1763, well-armed Native
Americans fought on both the English and French side of
the conflict and rendered essential aid to the French early on.
Regardless of the different attitudes of the colonial pow-
ers, American Indians procured firearms in any way possible,
mainly through trade and warfare. As a result, from the be-
ginning, when the United States of America was formed, the
country was dealing with an armed native population.
This vertebra of a young bison was found in an Indian camp site in North
Texas. The stone arrowhead is still in the bone. The arrowhead's angle
of entry from above indicates that the shot was made from horseback.
When Native Americans were introduced to metal tools,
especially weapons such as knives, tomahawks, and guns,
their culture changed dramatically. There was an immedi-
ate demand for these trade goods among all of the native
tribes; in fact, firearms were the number one Indian trade
This Indian trade carbine was made by Peter Gonter in Pennsylvania on
contract with the U.S. Government in 1808. It has been decorated with
upholstery tacks, some of which are missing.
36 TEXASHERITAGE I Volume 2 2011
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 2, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254221/m1/38/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.