This page is a collection of various images and text referencing Southeastern Native use and appearance of war clubs, atassas or red sticks. Additional information and images will be added as they become available.
In The Southeastern Indians, Dr. Charles Hudson states:
“If the bow and arrow was the main weapon of war in the aboriginal Southeast, the war club was the main symbol of war. Even after the southeastern Indians adopted small European hatchets or tomahawks in the eighteenth century in place of their traditional war clubs, they would still sometimes carry a small war club stuck in their belts. The war clubs were carved out of dense wood in several shapes. Most of them measured between twenty and thirty inches in length. Among the Timucuans the distal ends of their war clubs were carved in a flat, spatulate shape with sharp edges. The Natchez war club was shaped like a cutlass, but with a three-inch ball carved on the back of the distal end of the club. [reference to Le Page du Pratz drawing] Several kinds of war clubs are depicted on Southeastern Ceremonial complex motifs. The Indians must have worked hard at developing finesse in using these clubs. While de Soto was passing through central Georgia, Patofa, one of the local chiefs, gave a demonstration of his skill at using the war club. His gracefulness and rhythm was compared to that of a European fencing master. Over one and one-half centuries later, John Lawson seems to have witnessed much the same thing in a dance performed in the South Carolina back country. Lawson describes dancers who performed with wooden falchions like those used by European stage fencers.” (p. 244, 246, Hudson, Charles. The Southeastern Indians. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976.)
A reproduction Atassa from a display case at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park. This is commonly referred to as a “gunstock warclub”.
Above two images are details from the borders of William Bonar’s “A Draught of the Creek Nation”, May 1757. Gunstock and ball head war clubs are shown, along with guns, swords, tomahawks, lances, and archery equipment. I’m not sure how accurately the weapons are depicted; the bow in the left hand image is not a SE bow.
The above image of a Creek clan shelter at a square ground is attributed to an early 18th century French traveler (you can see a signature faintly in the left side of the shelter). Notice the notched atassa on the top and on the floor of the shelter. Also interesting are the shell bowls, pots, and sofkee spoon on the right hand side.