Excerpt from Indian Tribes of the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, the Salt Lake Basin, the Valley of the Great Saaptin, or Lewis' River, and the Pacific Coasts of Oregon
The bows which I have seen were 'made of the horns of the mountain sheep and elk, and of wood, and are the best specimen of the skill of these Indians. When of born, they are about two feet ten inches long, and when unstrained have a curve backwards. They are Of two parts, spliced in the centre by sturgeon glue, and deer sinews, wound around a Splice. The horn is brought into shape by heating and wetting, and worked smooth by scraping with sharp stones, and being drawn between two rough stones. A cross section Of the bow would show the back side less convex than the front. (see Plate At the centre, where the bow is spliced, before winding the splice, two deer-sinews, nearly entire, are strongly glued and secured by their butt-ends; the small ends of them being outward at the ends of the bow. Where they are strongly wound and secured, these sinews cover the whole width of the back of the bow. As a matter of ornament, the skin Of a snake, commonly that Of the rattlesnake, is glued externally on the back Of the bow. The string is of twisted sinew, and is used loose, and those using this bow require a guard to protect the hand which holds it. Altogether, it is one Of the most efficient and beautiful bows I have seen.
The head Of the arrow is formed by breaking pieces of Obsidian in small parts, and selecting those nearest the desired form. In this selection, those of the right. Thickness are taken. In finishing them, every edge Of such a piece is laid upon a hard stone, and the other struck with another hard stone, varying the direction and force of the blow, to produce the desired result. It is an Operation which requires skill, and many are broken when nearly finished, and thrown away. When formed, it is about three-fourths Of an inch long and half an inch Wide, and quite thin, and for hunting purposes formed as is shown in Plate 76. It is attached by inserting its near or shaft end in a split in the front arrow-end Of the shaft, and wound with sinews in such a manner as when the shaft is drawn from an animal, the head is withdrawn also, and the increased width just at the near end of it, is intended to secure this result. The arrow-heads used for warlike purposes, are formed without this increased width, so that when the Shaft is drawn out the head will be left, to increase the mischief. It is said they poison these arrows, but I do not know the fact. They sometimes appear to have been dipped in some dark-colored ﬂuid, which has dried on them.
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