The surprise raid and the ambush were basic techniques for war in the Northwest Coast. The Indians waged war for a variety of purposes. Plunder and the acquisition of slaves were the most important motives for war. The northern tribes, like the Tlingit, also fought to conquer territory. Feuds to avenge a murder or insult were common throughout the area. Captives were enslaved.
The principle Tlingit weapons were clubs, knives, and the bow and arrow, all of which were used by the other Northwest Coast Indians. The northern tribes used double-bladed knives with a long and a short blade on either side of a central grip.