The Legacy of Bow Making

Chickasaw Culture Keepers

Wayne Scribner learned the art of traditional Chickasaw bow making over 30 years ago from an elder, but he didn't begin honing his craft in earnest until he realized as an older man that the ancient techniques were in danger of being lost. He says that while it is easy to shape wood into the form of a bow, the test of skill lies in honing the bow to one's individual needs. Scribner decided long ago not to sell the bows that he creates, and he distributes them only as gifts. He has created "birth bows" for his sons, the older of whom is already a talented archer, with their initials and dates of birth burned into the wood. Scribner marks all of his bows with his last initial, "S," underneath two crossed staves representing Oklahoma and the Chickasaw homeland east of the Mississippi River.