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Bgemagen [War Club]


This contemporary artifact, styled after an ancient Potawatomi war club known as a bgemagen, was created by tribal member Bud Onzahwah. Crafted from wood, stone and leather, its historically ergonomic design eased storage, travel and use during battle. The bgemagen [war club] is part of the permanent collection and on exhibition at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center.

Pre-dating the use of firearms and used continually after their introduction, Potawatomi used and refined a battle tactic commonly known as volley fire to maximize enemy casualties. Implementing the tactic, Potawatomi warriors would ambush their enemies by firing a simultaneous shower of either arrows or rounds into the center of the unsuspecting formation. Once initial surprise and disorder was achieved, warriors would charge the enemy, engaging in hand-to-hand combat using their war clubs.

Citations

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center: Collections and Research Division. 2000.015.10

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