COUP STICKS | DANCE STICKS | TALKING STICKS | MARKING STICKS | TOMAHAWKS | GUNSTOCK WAR CLUBS | WAR CLUBS | EAGLE BONE WHISTLES

Weapons and Regalia of the Plains Indian | Native American


COUP STICKS OF THE PLAINS INDIAN 

Counting coup was a relatively harmless act of bravery and war honor of the highest grade. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior, with the hand or with a coup stick. The term is of French origin from the noun coup (pronounced /ku/) which means a hit, a blow or a strike. The expression can be seen as referring to "counting strikes". Coups were recorded by notches in the coup stick or other objects, including feathers in the headdress of a warrior who was rewarded with them for an act of bravery.

Pipe Tomahawk 

 

THE TOMAHAWK | PIPE TOMAHAWK

Complete, elaborate silver & brass inlaid presentation models, which were brought to Indian leaders as gifts and manufactured for the Indian trade. Each nation producing tomahawk heads used their own patterns and markings. The English blade resembled a straight ax, the French was shaped like a fleur-de-lis, and the Spanish was in the shape of a broadax. However, it was the Indian artisans who gave the tomahawk its crowning glory with his beaded, carved, fur-covered, and painted handles, and stately beaded tabs and appendages, which were in perfect proportion and attached to the handle ends.

Gun Stock War Club

 

 

This tomahawk features an old tomahawk head. The haft is new but aged to compliment the head. It features brass studs, twisted fringe, calico ribbons colored with clay paints, hawk bells, deer hide, a feather, braided leather, old trade beads from the 1800's, etc.

 

Made for a departing commanding officer in the US Navy


Based on a Sioux war cub circa 1880. It features a painted war bonnet. The bonnet had to be earned through brave deeds in battle because the feathers signified the deeds themselves. Some warriors might obtain only two or three honor feathers in their whole lifetime, so they were difficult to earn. The bonnet was also a mark of highest respect because it could never be worn without the consent of the leaders of the tribe. For example, A high honor was received by the warrior who was the first to touch an enemy fallen in battle, for this meant the warrior was at the very front of fighting. Feathers were notched and decorated to designate an event and told individual stories such as killing, scalping, capturing an enemy's weapon and shield, and whether the deed had been done on horseback or foot.


A painted and studded Dragon Fly. The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.

Gunstock War Club  - Our Shawnee friend made these for us, but I am now following in the tradition

(approx 3ft 4 -1/2 inches long)

This one features a hand made iron blade, tin butt plate with old square nails, buffalo hide, buffalo fur, deer skin, cotton calico, medicine bundle, clay paints, brass studs, burn work etc.

A customer in Texas wanted a brown stained gun stock war club. It was stained with clay pigment paints, buffed to a nice lustre, leaving the imperfections that gives it its rustic charms..

 

Tsuut'ina or Sarcee (Northern Plains) museum replica war club featuring a hand made blade, 9 feathers including 3 flicker feathers, fox fur, calico & clay pigment paints, etc. Measures 20” not including the calico strap..  Made for a client in Utah.

PIEGAN COUP STICK (Southern Alberta)

This coup stick is based on a museum example that was formerly owned by White Swan (Northern Piegan | Blackfeet). Coup stick shows horses he rode on war parties and scalps taken on raids. ca. 1870

Measures approx. 50 inches long, human hair making the scalp locks, made from an MGM bow used in movies (50's -60's) raw hide, cotton calico, hide glue, clay paints, etc.

 

Example of a Sioux Dance Rattle

(based on a museum example)

approximately 17 inches long

This rattle is painted with clay earth pigment paints,

& feature deer toes, old trade beeds, feathers, calico, wood, fur, etc

PLAINS INDIAN MARKING STICK

trade cloth, calico, antler, old trade beads, clay paints, deer skin, glass beads, buffalo fur, wood, sinew, hide glue

The beadwork on this marking stick is based on an old Nez Perce’ dance stick

Marking Stick

 

Lakota Sioux Coup Stick (based on a museum example)

This tomahawk features a very old (antique) axe and a beautiful hand carved haft that features a goose head. It has also been polished to a high lustre with natural oil and clay paints. The haft is based on a museum replica with the same similar axe head. Lovely wood grain!



Also a painted and studded lightning symbol. The meaning of the Lightning symbol representing lightning was believed to add power and speed to the warrior. Lightning and the zigzag symbol, painted in red, is also associated with the legendary Thunderbird. The Thunderbird is a powerful spirit in the form of a supernatural bird from which lightning flashed from its beak and its eyes. Painted two feather. Same similar meaning as headdress.

Coup marks (studded).  Counting coup was the winning of prestige against an enemy by the Plains Indians of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, which could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories