Title: Interview with Kim Blalock (July 20, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007874/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Kim Blalock (July 20, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: July 20, 1973
Subject: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Choctaw.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007874
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Mississippi Choctaw' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: MC 52

Table of Contents
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Full Text

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and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

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MISS CHOC 52A Page 1
SUB: Kim Polalock
INT: Nanih Waiya

P: Unless, you know if I was to hit to the side here, well I could bring off a

large plate down the side here. Or if the edge is straight and I hit right

straight into it, it will bring out the large plate. But down from here if I

hit it with the shy

You just have to use your own judgement as to.how you try and cut. One thing I

did just now on this side was I just made a few small that uh

took the sharpness off the edge. You can see right here it's very sharp, I

need to just kind of bang on it, that will dull the edge enough that when I'm

holding it, if I slip with it it won't run into my hand and cut it. I'm holding

this with my thumb and my index finger. I keep these other fingers just back

out of the way so that I won't get cut from it.

W: Well do you hold it with pressure? Do you hold it tight or loose or how do you?

P: That, sometimes I hold it tight, sometimes I hold it loose. You know it's just

according to the type of place you're trying to get off. If I'm trying to run a

long flake up in here I hold it real loose 'cause the amount of pressure I

exert with my index finger will determine how far that flake will run. If I
hold it tight and put a, and hit it real hard, when it comes to my finger rather

than going under my finger, when it gets to the edge of it it'll just make a
kind of a fishtail back up and you'll have a hole in the stoneiyou're going to
have to figure some way of getting out then.

W: Now are these the original tools that like the indians used to use, did they just

use antler or did they use something else or? I got, you use the rock and antler,

Is that how they used to do it, is that all you're using?

P: Yeah you can use, besides antler you can use a piece of wood. But like an oak

treepthey're these, sometimes there'll be a limb that will die but it doesn't

fall off to the ground and that limb will get just real tough you know, through

aging that way and you can use that type of limb. But you eAit-f't-t go out and

MISS CHOC 52A Page 2

P: cut you a limb and expect to use it because it doesn't age properly. On the
deer's antlers you have to have it cut from the deer while the deer is living

or right after the killing. You can't, you could use antlersAthat the deer has

shed but it's not as good of a quality, because the oils that are in the antler

it would bring out, it will become of brittle quality and it's really not any
good to use. And if you get the antler when it's too young, well it'll be,

have a spongy quality, And the outside layer of the antler is your better

quality of material to work with than inside. The inside, you can see this
kind of a circle, well you see this little circle in here? Well that's just

kind of a spongy material and it's not any good. It's actually just real soft
stuff. But this outer white layer of the antlers is going to be good material
that you work with. When I'm using pressure like once you get into this inner
core of the antler, well you just well as*to throw your tool away because it's

not any good.

I: What kind of tools do you use?

P: Uh just uh, I use a hammerstone for when I shape -hhe begninnjofi)but I use this

uh antler here as myA call it baton or it's what a hammer does.
I use for professional places. Then I use one of the spikes from antlers for a
tool that I press with. I use this, I use this boxrd with a piece of

rubber on it to press into the. .
I: What did the indians used to use?

P: They'd use a, I've been told they used to use leather from the neck of a deer,
because there's a real thick piece of uhhide and they drape it over a log and
then sit, straddle the log and press into it and you have a,'see you just need

to have something to cushion the stone so you don't break the stone

And if you want to we'll just pretend you know by hammering that we've already
ycd kmw
gottenAthis original plate down to a piece like this so that it's down to just
the triangular shape, you got it down to the thinness that we want. You got it

squared off on one end and coming to point at the other, And when you get it

MISS CHOC 52A Page 3

P: down to that stage you're ready to begin pressure ikkii you know to
this point of antler that I showed you.


about the on each side.

P: Yeah.

I: Is that what you are going to be getting into now?

P: No, uh see this/plate that I broke off I didn't have to do that 'cause the-ef4y
waL, it's down to it's sharp edge. I can show you about that. Say we gotthis

place that's got a square edge to it. We'll bring a big flake off of this-

we've got to get it to a sharp edge. So I use th antler to begin to a zig-zag

pattern which will eventually bring this down to a sharp edge. See I took one

flake off from here and it gave it a striking platform. Then I'm going to take
Utong puse while cdlemovlsfrohtvi1)
another one off here.A And see we've gone from that square edge down to a sharp

edge but it's in a real bad zig-zag pattern. And then by coming on these, on the

ridges that are left in here, see this little, it's got a ridge here, it's got
a couple here down this way, you're able to smooth the edge out for that you

can work with it better later on. That just shows you why it's not just, really
not ltear according to _. We've got this trimmed

out down through here, and , the edges of themof this is not exactly

straight. So I'm getg to take the corner of the antler and I place it, place

the corner of the antler about half way, you're starting about halfway in the
when I've
middle of the corner of the antler. About, press in and 4+-you got enough
pressure going right straight inpull the stone back just the least bit and

press down on the antler. Most of the pressure's going to be in my wrist

rather than in my shoulder or elbow one. And this is just like it was you know

when I was using the -hel Stone, to bring flakes off. I press with the
top side and the flakes come off the back side.

I: But they're just smaller flakes right?
P:e safer fakes. And you can deteminyou nowhere you want the
P: YwtPAsmaller flakes. And you can determineyou know exactly where you want the

MISS CHOC 52A Page 4

P: flake to come off. And if you've got enough strength# in your wrist well you
can bring it off better. When I was using prefSSLkre. flaking you
could uh try and get a flake off in a particular area and if you're aim was
V ya KnlDVW
good enough you could, butAit's kind of a hit and miss thing.
,-Sw l'Y\q Oin < ss C&+ f++iwl'+h
I: Oh so swingig ; s4i t-t-the bigger piece is called percussion and with that
it's pressure?

P: It's pressure flaking.

I: So it's percussion flaking and pressure flaking?
ya KflD b
P: Yea that's the two basicAtypes of flaking that you have.
I: And they use pressure flaking for making the sharp edge, right,the final
y kiow) u)p your
P: Yeakito smooth O the edges and making your notches in it and bringing it
to a fine point, one thing4about
I: Is that deer horn what you've been using all these years?

P: Yessir.

I: Deer horn iS 6 arder +*hvwi wl the rock?

P: No sir it's tougher than the rock is. The rock is just a whole lot* harder
than the antler is but the antler is so tough that you don't have to worry

about it breaking up. It'll just slowly grind itself away. Do you want to
ask me about/ heat treating? Do you want to ask me about heat treating the

P: This rock it's in its natural state. But sometimes you'll find a flint that's
a good quality of flint but it doesn't chip as well as it should. And you can

take it and if you're going to do it the way the Fri' oric, rmIa did, you
fe- 1o
go out in your yard, take your stones, -=e them up in a big pile,Aput sand all
over it and build you a big fire around it, cook it for maybe five or six hours
or more. And then just go away and leave it for aboutA24 hours at least. And
that changes the crystallization of the stone and/well if you had material that

MISS CHOC 52A Page 5

P: was just fairly good to beginyou'll have real good quality of material to work
I: Do you build the fire on top of the sand or around it?

P: Around the sand and on top of the sand, just completely engulf it. But you
-koh? e
don't want to get, you're going to need/a thick enough layer to stand around
Soj yx knonwt it
your stonexltit will insulate it so when it begins to cool off, it'll cool
ya Kno ;
off gradually. If it cools off real fast1Alike if it begins to rainwhile that
you're cooking this stonerather than getting better, well it will destroy the

stone where it won't be any good at all.
(h oi)I: How much are the black ones, or are they for saie?

P: Which ones?
I: Black ones.
P: Those are not for sale.

I;: Do you press into the thing or down or what?
P: I press in when I begin, and when I feel I've got enough pressure to itI press,
you know I change my direction of pressure till I'm going straight into it, really
pressing in. And then when I feel like I've got it right then I go down and I
also go this way with a little bit of a twist too.
(Break in Tape

I: Are those the same color or do you color them in?
P: No, that's just the way that they look. Now I don't do anything to them as far
as changing the color of them. Sometimes when you're cooking them like I was
telling you well it'll change the color just a little bit, but I don't hang them

up or anything like that. After you finish your pressure flaking, as far as
getting your sides straight uhall the type of stuff, to put your notch on the

base there you take your antler and if it's going to be corrn er notch.you
just come right to the cone, you press in, you take one flake out.
I: Corner notch, is that what you're saying? Corner notch'

MISS CHOC 52A Page 6

P: Corner notch. And then you turn it.over and you come in from the opposite side

and a& the same thing and then you turn back again. The reason that you turn

it each time is when, when that you just work from one side you'll get your

-you-r round edge, and that rounded edge makes it so that
you can't make your antler take a bite on the stone. And by turning it you

always keep, well most of the time, you'll keep a sharp edge so that you can,

yo can press 4-Ug3dh antler well it' take hold and keep on bringing the
flakes out. Every once in a while you'll bring off too large of a flake and

it'll mess up your pattern but youAhave to 4stbreak it off and start over


1: How many different types of notches do they make? They have, you said they

had the cornered notch and don't they make one from the side or?
Yeak -C6r(es
P: 'Yes, there's/any number of different varieties of notches that you can make. I'm

not real familiar with the names. The main thing I do, I just begin working

on them and whatever kind of notch I think would look best in it, that's the

type that I go ahead and put on.NitI don't follow any set pattern each time.

I: Well, do you know if uh/uh)Aif there is a preferred one, a notch over another,
W ere-
lk like iwme more arrowheads found with the corner notches or does it vary
with the width and length of

P: It usually varies with the part of the country it comes from. You know like

up in the Midwest, well I was finding a lot of, people was bringing in points
to show me that had a dovetail, which is a, you know looks just like a birds

fanned out tail feathers. And then you have the willow arrowhead which looks

like a willow leaf and then you have just a, there's no telling, so many
hundreds of different types of arrowheads that evolved through the years from

different tribes or, I'm not really sure all about that type of stuff. TI qoaL so

say we got this arrowhead,you know chipped all the way down and you got your

notches in it, and then if you were going to mount it on the shaft you'd take
Lse e
your shaft that you have made and split it and slide the arrowoASee if I got any

MISS CHOC 52A i Page 7

(break in tape/
P: slide this portion of the arrow up in the shaft .
I: Inside of it?

P: Yeak, inside the split here.
I: Oh yes.
P: And then if you're going to do it as authentic as you can, you take the sinew
out of the deer's leg, you know that's the muscles in his forelegs, foreleg.

(laughter) Pull you out a, pull you out a strand of it, you know while it's
still moist and all,Ayou wrap it aroundAthere-as smooth as you can get it, and
then when you get it wrapped from one end to the other, you take it and you
tie it. You put it out and let it dry, and as it dries it will contract and it'll
become very tight and then this muscle has also got some fatty material in it

that acts as a glue, and when it completely dries out it will be just about
impossible for you to pull the arrow off of the shaft. It will be on there,
fixed good enough so that you shoot it at something without having to worry
about it, when it hit that it would fall off.
I: Well let's say you've got a high spot like on here, like on one of these arrows
here and it was hard to notch h-e arrow a#a- kvi ow, Jo wvi kc if
how would you take a big high spot off an arrowhead like that without tearing
it all to pieces and breaking it?
P: Well you hold the high spot facing, when you come into the edge that's nearest
the high spot and begin hitting down, you know just with a downward motion wi'+ ac)
with this base portion of antler. And you do that until you've got you a real
nice striking platform to hit from, and then you turn the thing over and with
the high spot you're holding it in your hands, you hit using the narrow portion
of the antler to make you bring up your big flakes so you'll be hitting towards
that high spot. And if you're lucky, well you can get it off that way. But

every once in a while, you know it just doesn't work out that way.
I: So you, so you, on the same side that the hump is, you hit it until you make a
'ce 4orMy on the opposite side, turn it over and then strike that and

MISS CHOC 52A Page 8

I: knock off the high spot on that side.
P: Yea)at least that's what you try to do.
I: Right, that's right.
P: Do you got any other questions Y/o01 11ke to ....?

I: Yeab um can you tell us more about, like the other day we was talking about the

different sizes of arrowheads, like in the box you know you've got you know, do
Like. wtiGt
you know what they're for like these wider ones?A^4W did they hunt with the
wider arrowhead over a thin one like that? Do you, did you have any um did

you know anything about that or?

P: Well actually an arrowhead is not over an inch and a half long. Anything that
would be as long as this one that I've been working on is, they consider it
a spears A. And it would be rather than shot from a bow, you throw
2 's&5 scr, cett
it by hand. On these points that would be an inch and a half or less,taesay

three quarters of an inch or maybe a little bit less,would be considered your

arrowheads and they would be shot in a bow. But when you get down below that
sizeyou uh got your birdpoints or warpointsh would be used to shoot in a
loW VAq or something of that nature. And your smaller points
JO'A kle1ov wn
would be the ones that you, well likeAblew-gun size and all would be used for
war purposes or bringing down small game, things of that nature. Larger points
were that you, you use them with a spear, throw them with a spear, and
+ I u30old u sulz bring down your larger game. At least that's what

I've been told about them.

I: Iveheard, Ieheard maybe you can uh know something about people eating arrowheads
to uh heating them and then dropping water on them, is there any truth behind
that or have you heard or know of any Indians that use that method?
P: I've heard that story just about as long as I've been doing this, but it's always
somebody else who hasAsomebody do it. here's nobody that I have ever seen that
a pers5vi
says I personally have seen such and suchAchip arrowheads by heating up the stone
and dropping water on it, and as far as I'm concerned well it's just an impractical

MISS CHOC 52A Page 9

P: idea. The guy that used to be the tribal chairman here, his name is
vJen Ahem
His theory of how that that got started was that ne-of the peopleAthe indians
would go out to gatherAchipping material, a lot of times they'd find a large
boulder, you know good flint, and they wouldn't have anything to break it up.
And they would use what is called-fool man's dynamite. They would come around
uh and get the boulder out where that they could build a fire around it and they
build up as large a fire as they could and then when it got as hot as they
thought was necessary, they would bring buckets of water to pour on.it and that
would cause the stone to break up. And then they could use those uh, they'd
take the smaller pieces and break them up by hand So if 'vWould bh .- heI- b
I: Uh.... ?: Flirv vsj The o\l 4iv\o \gou (s Tu I asked
# 3I
you about that before _

P: tf el\r^leI, A. -. ,
I: r mean like can quartz, is that a typeAyou're talking about all rocks being.flint
that flake,Ais quartz considered a type of flint?
P: YeasW there's types of quartz that would break in a disconcordant fracture. You
find a lot of materials you know that the old arrowheads were made out of that
Vi koob
didn't break concordant fractures I was telling you about, like you have some

sugar quartz.The Choctaw's, around this area, use the material called quartzite
that didn't necessarily break with the concordant fracture but since it was only
native material that they had it was _well they had to go ahead
and use it anywayAnd so the majority of their arrowheads you find in this area
is made from something that actually doesn't make real good arrowheads but uh
since it was the only thing they hadAtheyAhad to go ahead and use it.

I: You were talking about quartered fracture, concorded?
P: Goncordant.
I: Concordant?
P: Look it up.

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