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What's in Your Toolbox?
24 June 2013

      UTTC general education instructor Terry Moericke reached back centuries for a tool-time demonstration in his Indian Studies class. On a frosty morning in late March he demonstrated the technique for using an atlatl, a throwing tool that employs leverage to increase velocity and force. The same principle is used in modern ball throwers made of plastic used for throwing tennis balls for dogs to fetch. The atlatl is a very old implement, used around the world and by Native people in North America long prior to European contact.


      Here he demonstrates an implement for boring holes or starting fires, the design and use of which dates to the 16th Century or earlier. This version is known as a pump-drill used by the Inuits, Abenaki, Anishinaabe and others according to Moericke. The tool is activated by moving the cross-piece up and down, causing the rawhide strips to twist around the shaft, thereby rotating the point back and forth against an object. Each of Moericke’s students had an opportunity to make and assemble a drill of their own using readily-available materials.

DENNIS J. NEUMANN<>United Tribes News photos


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