Navajo Indian Tools

by Betsy Beacom
A Navajo woman teaches a young girl how to use a drop spindle to spin yarn.

A Navajo woman teaches a young girl how to use a drop spindle to spin yarn.

Known for their patterned blankets and rugs and silver jewelry, the Navajo across centuries have used certain tools that enable them to create their arts. As farmers, they have also used particular tools to work the soil, and in the past, Navajo men used similar tools for both fighting and hunting.

Arts and Handcrafts

Navajo women use drop spindles to spin sheep's fleece into yarn and looms to weave the yarn into fabric for rugs and blankets. Modern-day weavers might use shears to remove sheep's fleece and "hand carders" to prepare the fleece fibers for spinning. Navajo silversmiths use hammers to pound silver into desired shapes. The Navajo are also known for their pottery, but they make these objects by hand.

Farming Implements

The hoe and the rake are typical tools any farmer might use, and the Navajo used these implements to break up the soil to prepare it for planting squash, corn and beans and to loosen soil that had been planted to aid in irrigation.

Hunters' and Warriors' Tools

Navajo men used bows and arrows both for hunting and battle. They also used spears as weapons, and the points, or tips, of both spears and arrows were made of stone. They also made stone knives, axes and saws.

About the Author

Betsy Beacom is a writer and editor with experience in education, marketing, Internet content, social media, the performing and visual arts, literature and more. She holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in literature, has taught English at Yale University and has more than 20 years' experience writing and editing.

Photo Credits

  • Coral Coolahan/iStock/Getty Images