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Contrary to popular modern misconceptions, most native American people in North America did not use needles, since they did not need them.

Sewing was done with an awl for making holes in the leather - originally awls were made of bone such as splinters of deer leg bone, but later metal awls were obtained from traders. Thread came from animal sinew, which is found alongside the spine and in the legs of deer, antelope, elk and buffalo. This material is made up of long, thin but very strong fibres that are separated by pounding with a stone hammer and twisted together to make whatever length is required.

Sinew has the property that it stretches and softens when wet and shrinks as it dries; when dry it becomes hard and stiff. Keeping a length of sinew in the mouth (except for one end) makes the sinew soft and pliable - the dry end remains very stiff and is used instead of a needle to push through the awl holes. A native woman making moccasins would use her mouth to store several lengths of sinew thread, always leaving an end hanging out so it remained stiff.

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12y ago
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13y ago

They would take a stone that wouldn't chip or break easily, form it into an arrowhead form, and then tie it on the end of a arrow, firmly so it will stick.

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Q: How did the Indians make arrow heads?
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