Research: Apache Medicine Shields

Please note that some articles have been transferred over from the Old Word Museum site. You may occasionally encounter broken links or outdated information in these articles.

Written by: Lori Soard
Date: 1998

THE TRAPPINGS OF BATTLE: Apache Medicine Shields

The Apache were renowned for their cunning defense strategies. When going into battle, they always dressed for the occasion. Warriors traveled light, wearing buckskin moccasins, muslin pants, a rifle or bow and arrows (the arrows were reputed to be poisonous), a water4ight wicker jug to serve as a canteen, a blanket thrown over the shoulders, and a headdress of buckskin with hawk and eagle feathers. They carried lances, war-clubs and knives, oflen blackened for camouflage.

The choice of garments and decoration was made not as much from a need for physical protection as a necessity for spiritual protection. The warrior brought to battle all the supernatural help he could muster. To this end, the warrior and the garments were decorated carefully.

The Apache often fought with medicine shields, called nas-ta-zhih. The shields were made from hardened cowhide, sometimes with buckskin around the sides, and painted with sacred designs in order to protect their carrier in battle, and often had an ample amount of eagle feathers suspended from them.

The shields were traditionally made by di-yins, war shamans. However, sometimes a warrior constructed his own, then took it to the di-yin to be painted with power symbols. Since the shields could only be safely made by those with the medicine to control this great power, they were purchased only by wealthy warriors. Use of a shield indicated hand-to-hand combat, therefore they were carried only by the bravest warriors.

Lori Soard started Word Museum in 1997. She’s a published author and has written thousands of articles over the years for newspapers, magazines and online. She has a PhD in Journalism and lives in Southern Indiana with her husband. They have two grown daughters, both animal lovers their house is always filled with pets.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ YouTube 

2 Replies to “Research: Apache Medicine Shields”

  1. Hey I know this is off topic but I wwas wondering
    if you knew of any widgets Icould add too my blog that automatically
    tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.

    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look
    forward too your new updates.

    1. This is a good question. There are several different plugins for this. If you go to your dashboard and click on plugins, you should click on “add new” and then type “tweets” into the search box. Several plugins will come up for you. They will have stars and be rated. I usually check out the highest rated first. Best of luck!

      Lori

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *