Ever wonder where the phrase “Bury the hatchet” came from? Many people don’t realize that we have the Native Americans to thank for this popular peacemaking phrase.

The first part of this story begins with the tomahawk. Tomahawks were the invention of the Algonquian and Iroquoian Indians. They were used both as weapons and tools for basic survival. This tool shows the evolution of using stones and animal jaw bones as the head of their weapons. The Native Americans were first introduced to forging metals when they were enslaved by the Spaniards. Tomahawks were relatively light, one lb. or less, having a metal head on a wooden handle.

Tomahawks, like a coin, have a heads and a tail sides that symbolize war and peace. As multi-use tools they were extremely desirable by the Native Americans. Many times the artistically crafted tomahawks would be given to the chief of the tribe as a symbol of their loyalty.

Eventually the tomahawk adapted and evolved to have a pipe on the opposite side of the blade. The purpose of this was to only have to carry one item for two purposes; fighting and smoking.

The Tomahawk would always be present in times of war. If the negotiation talks went well the tomahawk pipe would be smoked and passed around as a symbol of peace. Then the hatchet would be taken off and buried. There you have it – bury the hatchet!

References – http://www.snowwowl.com/naarttomahawk.html & http://furtradetomahawks.tripod.com/id16.html