Back in the early ’90s when I first started designing atlatls, I was working a carpentry job in Wyalusing, PA. At the time, I was experimenting with atlatls with rests, and ended up creating one of the first original Atlatl designs in a thousand years, and the first official Thunderbird atlatl. I decided to name it the “Wyalusing” after the town I was working in — it was a word of Indian origin, and it had a nice ring to it.
“Wyalusing” comes from Native American words: “Wigalusing” meaning, “the good hunting ground” and “M’chwihilusing” meaning “the place of the hoary veteran.” M’chwihilusing which was the original name of Wyalusing, prior to European settlement.
Over the next year, I designed several other Atlatls and decided to keep with the theme of naming them after local Indian names — towns, rivers, lakes and such. Soon, the Wappasening, the Tioga, the Hiawatha, the Catatonk, and several other designs were born.
We’ve kept up with this trend for the past twenty years, and several other atlatl manufacturers that came after Thunderbird Atlatl seem to have liked this idea as well, and followed suit.
Here’s a map with all of these places plotted out on a map. The red dot in the middle is our shop, and you can see that all of the Indian-named places nearby were our inspiration. Most of them come from Iroquois names – the 6 tribes that made up the Iroquois Confederation were centered around modern day New York State.
Every Winter Solstice, we have a tradition of throwing a flaming atlatl dart to start our campfire at our Winter Solstice Party. It’s a great way to ring in the Christmas season and the new year on the shortest day of the year.
Here’s a video this year’s flaming dart throw(s). Bob Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl does the honors:
From all of us at Thunderbird Atlatl, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We’ve been trying to do some short videos showing how to use our various atlatls. Check out Thunderbird Atlatl’s You Tube channel to see the videos. One of them is posted below. We will be posting more over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, we are trying to gear up for holiday orders. Order early to get the best options for your holiday gift giving.
We had a busy season traveling and are glad to be back at the shop. As usual we met a lot of great people on the road and it’s always great to see old friends and fellow atlatlists in our travels.
The photo below is from a workshop Bob Berg did in May through the Primitive Pursuits program in Ithaca, NY.
Casting an atlatl is great fun but it’s even more fun with other people! We have had some customers recently ask if there are other people in their area interested in the atlatl. If you are looking for someone in your area who is also using an atlatl, give us a call at 800-836-4520 and we would be happy to try to connect people.
You can also start your own group. There are several college atlatl clubs and regional groups who get together to share atlatl fun. We have group package rates for both our finished atlatls and darts and our kits. Just call us at 800-836-4520 and we’ll help you get started.
We have been working on updating our You Tube channel, Facebook page and our online catalog. These are all still works in progress but check out some of the videos we have updated on You Tube. We will try to post them on this page too. Many of thee are from programs we have done over the years. Thanks to Peter Berg for helping us update the You Tube videos!
We think our new online catalog is easier to use then the previous catalog but we are still trying to perfect it. If you have any questions, give us a call at 800-836-4520. You can always order over the telephone too if you are having problems with the online catalog.
Check out this video from a program Vermont Public Broadcasting did with Bob Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl a few years back.