Upper Missouri Warhawk


Well-Known Member
This style tomahawk was widely used during the very early 1800's by several tribes living along the upper Missouri River including the Manda and Hidatsa. The Lewis & Clark expediton records include and early description. The blacksmith of the expedition was kept busy during the winter spent with the Mandans building axes and tomahawks for trade with the locals.
While not a benck copy of an original piece it is based on/inspired by a couple of originals, one of which had a poor weld on the wrap style head. The smith who forged head for me, good friend Jerry Rodri of 9 Tongs Forge, and I decided to recreate even that part. The poor weld can be seen in picture two just below the rawhide wrap.
The beaded drop of blue and white pound beads is based on the one Karl Bodmer included in his 1834 painting of Mandan chief, Mato-tope aka Four Bears. The rest of the decoration consists of brass tacks, brass wire wrappings, a rawhide grip, an ermine skin wrapped around the horse tail drop, tin cones some with buffalo hair fluffs, brass hawk bells, along with some No Cheyenne style beaded dangles. The handle was shaped from the limb of a mountain ash tree.


gaelic forge

Well-Known Member
As a former archaeologist I gotta tell you that is a very good re-creation of the original. If memory serves the blacksmith used an iron stove which was brought along on the expedition to fabricate various inplements. He was popular! Mountain ash is a really good choice and the Gaelic folks called it Rowan. Used for spear shafts for centuries in the old country.