Chickasaw man keeps old tradition alive

By: Ashley Park Email
By: Ashley Park Email

SULPHUR, OK -- Bows and arrows have been in the Chickasaw culture for hundreds of years.

It's a craft that has been passed down from many generations, and one that Wayne Walker hopes to continue.

"It's almost a lost art. It's not going to be around if people don't do it," Walker said. "When I first moved to Ada, Oklahoma from Oklahoma City in '95, I looked around for bows just to look at one and hold one, but there was none around."

Walker has been crafting bows and arrows for almost 20 years.
He says it takes about 30 to 40 hours just to make one bow, from finding the perfect bois d'arc tree, to it's shape and design.

"When you make a bow, you have to use fire and lard to shape it," Walker said. "After you get it whittled down to half an inch, you shape it after you get it whittled down that far, and then you whittle it down enough to get a string on it."

Of the 75 bows he's made, he's kept some, and donated others to museums. He plans on using one of the bows he made to take on a deer hunt this season.

He says it would be a great feeling to harvest a deer with his own bow and arrow.

"I would have a sense of pride, that I finally did it and it happened. It would be something to brag about from now on," Walker said.

Walker plans on taking his grandson with him on the hunt, who has also taken an interest in the craft.

He says he's happy he's been able to keep the tradition alive.

"When you teach them, they're going to teach someone else. So it's just fulfilling to have this craft and to share it with other people," said Walker.

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