Sparking Interest in Flint Knapping | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 6/23/2012
"It was worth money 10,000 years ago, and today it`s still worth money. There`s flint knappers all over the nation that do this that are after Knife River flint. So you can still buy, sell or trade it," said John Martinson, a flint knapper from Minot.
Martinson says these days Knife River flint sells for about five dollars per pound.
For nearly 20 years, Martinson has been beating rocks into utensils, turning them into knives and arrowheads. "I actually make knives to just keep the history going. I do it as a hobby and I have hunted with Knife River flint points on my arrows and I have field dressed deer out with Knife River flint knives and they work just as good as steel."
Martinson along with other flint knappers from the Northern Plains showed kids the art of carving at Knife River Indian Villages` first flint knap-in.
"The light in the eyes of the young people when they understand where things come from when they visit places like this and they walk around, but it`s still something in a case but the second that they can hold that piece of rock in their hand and actually chip that chip off that wood, it`s real and I can do it," said Irene Graves, a flint knapper from Washburn.
Flint knappers say conservation practices are making flint harder to find, as more farmers practice no-till farming techniques. Aside from trading them, Martinson says flint quarries are a good place to find these stones.
For those who`d like to learn more about Native culture, Knife River Indian Villages will be hosting its annual Culture Fest on July 28 and 29.