Canadian Military History Gateway
Subject > Wars, Battles and Conflicts > Early History to 1603 > The First Warriors
Based on Viking accounts, the Skraelings were courageous and effective warriors. Their tactics have a lot in common with other Amerindian cultures.
Captives taken in warfare by Amerindian peoples were sometimes eaten. More common was the practice of taking scalps as a trophy.
An outline of ancient Native Indian practices during times of war between various tribes . Part of television series entitled "Canada: A People's History." Includes links to educational resources, bibliography, games, puzzles, and video clips.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Amerindian peoples first encountered by the Europeans wore leather clothing. They decorated themselves and their clothes for religious and traditional reasons, and also to impress their enemies.
The first North American warriors met by Europeans were the people the Vikings called the Skraelings.
War was important to Amerindian cultures, but was waged by individuals rather than nations. Most males became warriors when necessary.
Three types of costumes common to all Amerindian tribes are shown. Reconstruction by David Rickman. (Canadian Department of National Defence)
A Viking colony led by Karlsefni was soon abandoned after conflict with the Skraelings
Amerindian attacks on enemies involved raids by war parties. Against European opponents guerrilla warfare was preferred.
Before European contact, native warriors carried bows, arrows and some sort of club or tomahawk. Wooden armour and shields were used for protection.