Michael He Crow - Lakota Bows and Arrows

Master: Michael He Crow, Rapid City
Apprentice: Dallas Chief Eagle, Martin
Art Form: Lakota bows and arrows

Michael He Crow learned to make bows from his father and grandfather when he was eight, and has hunted with them ever since. About 15 years ago he started studying bow making in earnest, experimenting with different woods and different designs. Michael took his apprentice Dallas Chief Eagle out to cut wood—ash is the most common in South Dakota, but Osage orange from Missouri and Kansas, and hickory from further east, are also used. For arrows, chokecherry is the best local wood; the branches are straightened by hand when green, then tied in bundles and allowed to dry for a year. Arrow feathers are held in with hide glue, and bow strings are made from sinew. The final skill Dallas had to learn was flint knapping, for making arrowheads.

Each hunter painted his arrows with distinctive colors, so the group knew who a kill belonged to.
Selection of feather tipped arrows and wooden bows.

A selection of different kinds of bows and arrows made by Michael He Crow.
Selection of bows and arrows laid out on a table. Made by Michael He Crow.