Saratoga Native American Festival, part II

One of the mini-lectures we listened to was given by Mike “Wahrare” Tarbell of the Mohawk, Turtle Clan, who is a Professor of Native American History at SUNY Cobleskill. He is also an Educator at the Iroquois Indian Museum. He talked about the art of making hunting tools, including arrowheads, bows, spears, atlatls, knives and warclubs. When a baby boy is born, the father cuts a bow from White Ash or Hickory for the boy, and lets it cure for 14 years until the boy is old enough to use it. Until then, he is taught many things, including how to be quiet so he won’t scare animals away while hunting, using the outdoors as his classroom. Making arrowheads is an old art that cannot be replicated with modern tools – he has tried and failed. When he used the tools of old, he was able to replicate a very smooth, sharp arrowhead from flint. Some of the ancient tools he hasn’t been able to replicate. He also told us that when they kill a deer, for example, they use every bit of the deer. They even make glue from the deer! He was a riveting speaker, and I wish I lived near Cobleskill so I could take his history course!  I’ll be looking for him to appear on the schedule at other Native American festivals I like to attend.
I’m sorry I was shy about taking photos of him and his tools while he was giving his lecture.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynne
    Oct 02, 2006 @ 17:09:08

    No need to be sorry about no photos. It is obvious that you have a tremendous respect for Mr. Tarbell. Thanks for sharing what you learned.


  2. Pam
    Oct 02, 2006 @ 20:23:08

    Yes, I do have great respect for Mr. Tarbell, and the Native Americans as a whole – I guess from it being ingrained into my brain when I was young.  I learned more than what I wrote about from Mr. Tarbell, but it would take me a while to write it down. He had a really cool display of his tools that would have made a great photo.  Maybe next time I see him speak!


  3. Laura
    Oct 02, 2006 @ 22:51:29

    I feel funny taking photos of people, too.

    I like reading about the native american culture and would enjoy studying it more someday. I read a lot of native american folktales and creation stories – enjoy them and their reverance for the earth.


  4. Pam
    Oct 03, 2006 @ 16:00:38

    Hi Laura, I would enjoy taking the course Mike Tarbell teaches. I enjoy learning about Native American methods for the same reason you do. I like it that they don’t waste a thing and they don’t consume more than they need.


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