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I have heard that the native american tomahawk also had some inspiration from the francisca which was used extensively by french colonists. - DoobieEx

"The tomahawk subtracts where is was from where it should be, it now is."

What does this text in the article mean?

Thankfully that bit has been taken out. It's a reference to an audio clip which was floating around some webforums a few years back. It was supposedly about the Tomahawk cruise missile and contained a long-winded non-sensical description of how the Tomahawk's guidance system supposedly operates ("the Tomahawk subtracts where it isn't from where it is to determine where it should be, and subtracts where it should be from where it is to determine..."). 20:16, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus. -- Kjkolb 08:52, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Tomahawk (axe)TomahawkWP:NAME. A large number of pages already link to "Tomahawk", almost all of which refer to the axe. This is the only usage that does not require a qualifier, as it is the original usage. Alternate uses are at Tomahawk (disambiguation). Kafziel 14:16, 13 July 2006 (UTC)


Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~
  • Support as nominator. Kafziel 14:16, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The most common use today is for the missle. Using links to is not a reason to make a change like this. That is a metric that has no meaning. Vegaswikian 22:16, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
    • You also failed to note that you had just moved Tomahawk (disambiguation) from Tomahawk which was the correct place for the dab article before making this nomination. I moved the dab back to where it was. Vegaswikian 22:35, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
      • Dude, why are you trying to insinuate that I did something sneaky? I moved the disambiguation to make room for the real article. There's absolutely no rule against doing that. When it occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to move the "tomahawk (axe)" article, I didn't bother moving the dab back because I didn't think anyone was going to have a hissy fit about this.
The missile's page is exactly where it should be. You're not proposing to move that, are you? There's no reason why there can't be a note at the top of the tomahawk page letting people know where to find the missile; it's the same amount of clicks. "What links here" is a good indicator, because it shows what the average [lazy] editor expects when they create an internal link. That's exactly what principle of least astonishment is all about. I doubt anyone would type "tomahawk" and be shocked when the article about tomahawks comes up. If they type "tomahawk missile", they'll get the missile. "What links here" shows us that people who write articles about the missile (and pretty much every other use) don't expect "tomahawk" to link there.
The fact that a term has a lot of uses is no reason to hijack the location of the actual, original, correct term. That's why God made "Topic (disambiguation)" pages. Kafziel 01:14, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually (disambiguation) in an article name is only needed if one article really belongs at the main name space. Given the number of entries on the dab page that is highly unlikely. If you also look at the links to, a good number are for the basketball dunk shot for which there is no article and the dab page has the only definition. So the question is what was broken with the way it was that needs fixing? Generally in the case of a dab, nothing. The case needs to be made that one use is clearly the dominate one. I don't think that is the case here so the dab should continue to occupy the main name space. Vegaswikian 01:38, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what you're looking for. If you want Google results, I can tell you that Tomahawk+Indian brings back more than a million results [1] (with an additional 200,000 hits for "tomahawk+native -Indian", accounting for the pages created by white liberals), twice as many as tomahawk+missile and more than three times as many hits as tomahawk+basketball. No other use for the word is going to come close. So, yes, this is clearly the dominant meaning. Kafziel 01:49, 14 July 2006 (UTC)


Add any additional comments
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


  • Regarding the first picture...
    • Why should the footer include information about who made it? This is not a place for advertisement.
It's being descriptive, many people have seen the whole piece and asked if it was an antique, etc. It's also about giving credit where it is due.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 23:51, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
    • The background is too dark, so it is not easy to discern the tomahawk profile. Would not be better to put the second one (the one with the native american) as first figure?
I have no idea what you are talking about, I think that old picture is long gone from the article.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 23:51, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

I wait for comments, Angelpeream (talk) 23:06, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Isn't there a better picture of a tomahawk? I've now spent a couple of minutes looking at this one, and I think I've figured out which bit is the tomahawk - but wouldn't it be better if there was a picture of *just* the tomahawk? CatBoris 16:22, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

I have replaced the picture with one that I think is a lot easier to see. Jerry 19:59, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the pictures: The lede states that the tomohawk is a native American weapons, but all the pictures are of modern iron/steel weapons. Ashmoo (talk) 15:28, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

The American Indians used iron and steel blades more than stone after they began to have contact with Europeans. European Markets were hungry for fur, so the Indians wound up trading furs (they were good hunters and trappers) for European knives, tomahakws, guns, clothing, etc. Some stone axes no doubt existed before that, but spears, bows, and war clubs were more common. The tomahawk became a standard indian weapon only after trade with Europeans began. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 27 January 2012 (UTC)


A show on the History Channel "Barbarian Battle Tech" said that the tomahawk was inspired by the fransisca brought over with the French. Perhaps they meant the fransisca influenced tomahawk design and not its origin (?). I would be curious to know if there are Native American axes that pre-date the French in North America which would contradict the fransisca inspiring tomahawk origin. Hal(unregistered) 03:47, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

At a fair in Pennsylvania in the year 2000, a Lenni-Lenape descendant told me that the weapon was French, and that the deadliest native American weapon was a wooden club. I forget the name of the club, but he had an example at his booth. -CKL
it's almost certain that pre-Columbian Native Americans had stone axes for clearing fields, cutting down trees for palisades etc; but the tomahawk as we now understand it is probably best viewed as a synthesis of both Indian and colonial European designs. -- (talk) 17:09, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

The origin of the Tomahawk is definetely from French traders, trading the fransisca heads- without handles, as axe heads for premium trade goods, as early as the late 1500s. Champlain himself made regular comments in journals about how all the natives were armed using a bow and some arrows and a club noting no real metal work, especially- no steel or iron work. The french traded with many tribes but axe heads were especially given to those who were hostile to the English or specific tribes in NY that were hostile to the French or to gain the tribes favor. And the Odawa (Ottawa name means trader) located in eastern Michigan back then (early 1600s)would also trade these goods further out to the plains tribes. R Durand — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:24, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Hand-to-hand combat?[edit]

The cited article doesn't say anything about that. -- 09:39, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

That article cites it's comeback to the military, page 3 of that article mentions it's use as a weapon. --Mike Searson 15:12, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

One thing the article does not mention: I read (somewhere) that the invention of Bowie knife caused a decline of the tomahawk. Seems more settled places back east didn't need it for a weapon anymore, and frontiersmen found the heavy Bowie more useful... Anybody know if thats true?...Engr105th 19:38, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I've heard that too at knifeshows from guys who make Bowies, do you recall where you read it? It would be an interesting addition to the article if we could verify it. Mike Searson 20:40, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I recall reading it sometime back in the 1990s...maybe because the movie "Last of the Mohicans" piqued my interest. I'll see what I can find - but doubt I'll get the exact source again (and that source probably isn't original). But I think its pretty obvious the Tomahawk was "obsolete" well before the Civil War. Kinda overtaken like the flintlock gave way to percussion rifles. Flintlock/Tomahawk belonged to the Colonial era...Engr105th 18:38, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I'll look as well. It definitely was not obsolete on Naval Vessels, though until the 1940's. On a side note, I'm considering writing a new article on the modern tomahawk...any interest in helping out with that one? Mike Searson 20:29, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Will do...Been interested in this interesting weapon for some time. Almost bought a handmade one at a show here in the way, is there a secure email option on this Wiki stuff, just to trade info? I'm rather new to it... Engr105th 21:18, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
You can go to my User page and down on the left hand side there is a link "Email this user"

Mike Searson 21:21, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Looks like I have to register my email somehow (I guess thats how my signature always shows up red, while other are blue? I'll figure it out. Give me a while)...
You wrote above "It definitely was not obsolete on Naval Vessels, though until the 1940's." I'm not sure about that - maybe it was still present as some kind of boarding party axe or a fire axe, but certainly it was obsolete as a typical weapon by then. Surely they weren't issuing them to modern naval vessel crews?? For example, Officers still have ceremonial swords but nobody uses them:) By the way, my past interest has been on the tomahawk as a colonial/trade weapon - but I'd certainly like to work on the latest evolution. Engr105th 21:54, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Boarding axes are primarily weapons, at least from my POV. I believe I read that bit about Tomahawks when helping research the USMC NCO Sword article on here. In the 40's they ceased production of "swords, cutlasses, tomahawks", etc. I think I may have a link to the actual document somewhere. Anyway, your name is red because you do not have a "User Page". You can email me directly if you wish Probably easier than wikiying back and forth. Mike Searson 22:36, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Modern usage of the term "tomahawk"[edit]

In Australia at least, Tomahawk is a generic slang term for a small axe, generally used to chop of kindling or similar. I think this should be mentioned somewhere? I get the impression from this article that a tomahawk is solely an ancient weapon or a military weapon. (unsigned comment by

I think in American teminology a small hand-axe primarily used as a tool would be a hatchet. The term "hand-axe" was I believe more used for a boarding axe, which was generally a close-quarters weapon. But you have a point -- tomahawks would clearly have been used as tools as much or more than weapons, and that should probably be mentioned. Loren.wilton (talk) 23:12, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I went ahead and added a section noting this, as the article should not have an entirely American-centric view. However, it will need a proper citation to back it up.
S. Luke 09:59, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

By all means, this article about an American weapon should not have an American-centric view. That would just be silly. -Rob —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:23, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Tomahawks are awesome[edit]

Tomahawks are cool. So you dont want to mess ith a person with a Tomahawk. Respect the TOMAHAWK —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 5 February 2009 (UTC)


Why is there no section on the tomahawk's symbolism?

If someone does do a piece on it's symbolism, they must include 2 of the following qualities:

1. Independence This is because the tomahawk/axe was used by the *common person* during the American Revolutionary War. (no, I'm not just saying this because I watched brave heart/patriot or last of the mohicans) It is also an extremely versatile tool accessible to the common person because of the manufacturing and purchasing cost. The ability to only use a $40 tool to build an entire cabin is a justifiable reason to say that the tomahawk is a symbol of independence.

2. Hard Work Do I really need to explain this one?

3. Peace It's 3 am, so I'm not gonna go too into this, but historically, it was used as a token of peace.

4. Durability I can't think of any other cutting tool that would last as long as an Axe. Seriously, I've used the same axe head for like, 20 years (several handle replacements). I've seen perfectly good axe heads that are 300 years old. The only thing that wasn't in good shape, was the handle, and those are easily replaceable.

Compare a 400 old axe head to a 200 year old sword. The axe head is in better shape, and it probably was used more than the sword. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ForeverQuixotic (talkcontribs) 09:51, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Paddleblade Paddleblade (talk) 02:48, 8 December 2009 (UTC)



What about chosing, for the introduction, a photo of a classical tomahawk rather than a modern reinvention? What about one those two images from the NARA :

El Comandante (talk) 10:44, 17 March 2012 (UTC)



I regret there is no o bibliography, and that just magazine articles are quoted. I'm pretty sure it's possible to find more reliable sources : historians and archaeologists must have published descriptions of tomahawks and their usages.

El Comandante (talk) 10:44, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Undue Weight to Novelty Tomahawks[edit]

It seems to me like as far as many of the images are concerned they feature abundant images of modern tomahawks (with suspiciously promotional-sounding captions for the companies that created them) and no depictions whatsoever of any stone tomahawks. Peter Deer (talk) 01:40, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

This ahistoricity of the article had been bothering me too for a long time. Finally I added a bit on tomahawk design in pre-iron technology, along with a concise history of the word in the context of Algonquian languages. Certainly more can be filled in about the historical development of tomahawk technology and design by someone who knows the subject well. If you have any good references, please bring 'em. Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 20:48, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

"Wooden knob-headed tomahawk"[edit]

This picture is captioned as a example of a person with a "wooden knob-headed tomahawk." This doesn't seem any more like a tomahawk than a hammer would be. Isn't this just a mace or some other form of club? If we're defining a tomahawk as a type of axe, the pictured weapon doesn't seem to fit the bill. --BDD (talk) 00:30, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for your very sensible question. The answer is:

The word tomahawk was originally applied to a group of striking weapons which were commonly and anciently used by the Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes of eastern North America. Early colonists mention the word from this region — with slight variations — as "tomahack" or "tommahick," whilst the Mahican referred to such weapons as "tumnahecan." The wooden ballheaded club at this time was also generally referred to as a "tomahawk"

—Colin F. Taylor, Native American Weapons, University of Oklahoma Press (2001), p. 30.

The earliest definitions of these words (early 1600s) applied to stone-headed implements used as tools and weapons. Subsequent references involved all manner of striking weapons: wood clubs, stone-headed axes, metal trade hatchets, etc. As the years passed a tomahawk was thought of as any Indian-owned hatchet-type instrument. That association changed somewhat as white frontiersmen (traders, trappers, explorers) came to rely on the tomahawk as standard equipment.

—Ray Louis, "Tools and Weaponry of the Frontiersman and Indian"
I consider such information relevant and important to this article as part of the history on this subject. Before I added this, the article was almost completely ahistorical and mentioned only European and European-American manufacture. The history of Native American manufacture was completely ignored. How could an article on such a subject as this be complete with no historical perspective? Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 14:40, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! You've improved the article by adding those references. --BDD (talk) 16:20, 19 November 2012 (UTC) (talk) 20:22, 11 July 2013 (UTC) Answer: Yes, but unfortunately Collin Taylor was not a major authority on tomahawks and his reference is an old one and in error. Taylor sourced to Holmes in Hodge Ed. 1910 which does not describe the wooden war club as a tomahawk; that was McCulloh's Researches (1829) & is of much later date that the preceding. This source was poorly translated so it made into Hodges book. Holmes never referenced it that way & Taylor was in error in his reference. Hodge references from many different tribes and accounts and amalgamated them together as if they were all translated correctly. They were not. See Gerard in Am. Anthr., IX, No. 1, 1907 & Holmes in Am. Anthr., X, No. 2, 1908. He meant (or should have meant) any cutting type striking weapon with an edge whether it be stone/steel/iron or otherwise. That is what Smith reported from Virginia in his journals. War clubs were never referred to as "tomahawks" by anyone. Ray Louis reference is a recent article. Seriously? Just because it got published somewhere does not make it true. That is the trouble with people writing authoritatively about things they have no real knowledge of using half-understood minor references, poor translations & magazine articles. Misinformation snowballs into internet fact in no time at all. Perhaps someone knowledgeable about tomahawks should be writing about tomahawks rather than some student doing it like a book report. People SADLY depend on these definitions and are being mislead. I would recommend Harold Peterson's book American Indian Tomahawks 1971 as a primary reference on the subject although there are others. (talk) 20:22, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Traditional use[edit]

I'm disappointed that there is no discussion in this article of how the tomahawk was traditionally used in the Americas. It composition is described, and then there is a discussion of modern use. But the weapon has been in use for ages; why is there no detail about this? (talk) 04:20, 4 December 2012 (UTC) (talk) 20:20, 11 July 2013 (UTC)I agree. This should have been the center of the article. This is probably the worst written article I have ever seen on Wikipedia. Shameful. Either do it right or step aside for someone who can. (talk) 20:20, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Manufacturers removed for lack evidence of notability or association with tomahawks[edit]

I removed all of the manufacturers which did not have articles or whose articles did not mention tomahawks here. Please provide sources if reading them. Meters (talk) 19:34, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 7 April 2017[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: move. (non-admin closure) feminist 14:09, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

The previous move discussions here and at Talk:Tomahawk did not address coverage by reliable sources as a criterion for determining the primary topic. Of searched books using tomahawk to refer to a physical object, nearly all mean the axe. Recent events notwithstanding, referring to the axe is still the historical primary use of tomahawk. — Sangdeboeuf (talk) 06:11, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

Disambiguation has been restored. Gryffindor (talk) 12:23, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
@Gryffindor: I'm not sure what you mean by "Disambiguation has been restored" -- the disambiguation page has been at Tomahawk (disambiguation) for a very long time. A proposal to move it was rejected in 2009. As this discussion is still in progress, there is no basis for creating such a malplaced disambiguation page. olderwiser 12:45, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support This seems to be WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, also Google Books and major dictionaries suggest the axe's prevalence over the missile. Brandmeistertalk 12:58, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. The missile is certainly important, but it's never referred to exclusively as a tomahawk. Calidum 22:59, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support This is the primary meaning, but put hat-note to missile. BTW I have heard that it is not practical to "chop down" a tree with any kind of stone tool.BigJim707 (talk) 00:17, 8 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Clear primary topic. --Srleffler (talk) 01:51, 8 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Per nom. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RM2KX (talkcontribs) 03:17, 8 April 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.