Splinter bone awl

Cultural Narrative: 

An awl is a tool regularly used for stitching, creating holes for sewing, or sewing thick materials, including leather and canvas. While many awls have a bone base with a sharpened point, such as a steel needle, attached to the end, these two awls were made entirely from a piece of bone with one end sharpened to a point. This awl is most likely a splinter awl as it is the same size throughout with just one end sharpened for use. Generally, these awls vary in length from 3-12 inches. This specific awl is about 6 in. (15.4 cm) in length. Though it is unknown which bones this awl was constructed from, awls were often made from deer bones. Evidence suggests this specific awl was used for sewing leather. It is unknown who originally crafted this bone awl, but it was most likely made by Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) peoples and used by Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) women for sewing related activities. While the time period this awl was crafted is undetermined, evidence indicates bone awls in general have been used by various Native American communities for thousands of years. This splinter bone awl is categorized as 1986.2.32. To the top/left of this awl is a shorter awl (possibly a "cylindrical" or "cannon" awl) categorized as 1986.2.31. The other items in this photograph include a small pipe at the top (1986.2.81), L. V. McWhorter's ceremonial red pipe to the left of the bone awls (1986.2.112a), a green slate pipe on the far left (1986.2.82), and a small powder horn in the center that does not belong to the L.V. McWhorter Artifact Collection.