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 Mandan 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.


Church & Son

Well-Known Member
Thanks Chuck, this is 'mazing. Of all the stuff I've made the Missouri Warhawk still eludes me and
makes me crazy because these are my favorite.. I cannot get the eye/blade weld to look right without using modern tools.
Poor welds...that I can handle, I have a bucket of them.. But even Mr. Rodri's poor welds look good!
Your use of materials and techniques to create museum quality art, and sharing that knowledge, is an inspiration to those
of us that get lost in this time period.

Denny Eller

Well-Known Member
Incredible work, Chuck!! The more I look at it the more I picture that era in my mind - the proud owner and those he dispatched with it!