Warfare main content.


Part of Northwest Coast Hall.


Until 1860, the Nlaka’pamux (referred to in the hall as the Thompson) regularly fought with neighboring tribes. Their style of war was that typical of almost all the North American indians: swift, surprise raids by small war orates for plunder, adventure, or revenge. Weapons were the bow and arrow, spear, knife, and club. Bows were backed with sinew for greater elasticity and power. War arrows were poisoned; they had barbed points and, often, detachable foreshafts which made it difficult to extract the point from a wound. Armor to protect the upper body was made of wooden slats laced together and covered with hide. This body armor closely resembled that of the Tlinglit of the Northwest Coast. Shields were circular of thick rawhide or of wood covered with hide.