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      Arrows are the principal weapons that they use in war and in hunting. (Sébastien Rale, 1723)

Chipped-stone arrowheads
Chipped-stone arrowheads from the Guebert site, a Kaskaskia Illinois villages (1719-1765)

Illinois with bow Illinois men used the bow and arrow both in warfare and when they hunted bison, deer, and other animals. They often tipped their arrows with small, triangular arrowheads made of chipped stone, but they also made arrowheads and spear points of bone or antler. In the 1700s, the Illinois made some arrowheads out of recycled European gun flints and bottle glass. Arrows were carried in a quiver so they could be rapidly drawn, aimed and fired using wooden bows. Warriors also carried knives, hatchets, and war-clubs. The Illinois war-club was made of wood or antler, and was shaped like a cutlass-type sword with a large ball at the striking end. To protect themselves in battle, warriors carried large, arrow-proof shields made of bison hide.
Illinois man holding bow and arrow, New Orleans, 1735 (colored pen and ink by Alexandre de Batz, 1735)

Antler spear point Antler spear point from the Starved Rock site, a Peoria Illinois village (1711-1722)

They also use guns, which they buy from our savage allies who Trade with our french. They use them especially to inspire, through their noise and smoke, terror in their Enemies; the latter do not use guns, and have never seen any, since they live too Far toward the West. (Jacques Marquette, 1674)

Illinois man with gun The Illinois had obtained flintlock guns from French traders even before Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet met them on their famous voyage of discovery in 1673. However, the Illinois had relatively few guns at that time, and they suffered at the hands of well-armed Iroquois war parties who obtained their guns from Dutch traders at Albany, New York. Access to guns and gunpowder continued to be important to the Illinois. Although the threat posed by the Iroquois decreased after about 1700, war parties of the Sauk, Fox (Mesquakie), Kickapoo, and Dakota (Sioux) soon began raiding them from the north.
Illinois man holding a flintlock gun.


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