Praise for the book

“The book is beautifully done, and certainly will be of continuing use to our staff and public researchers.” Meg Menahan, American Museum of Natural History.

“One of the most marvelous books I’ve ever seen. Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely.” Evelyn Wolfson, author of “Growing Up Indian” and other books on native American life.

“We are pleased to accept such a beautiful and exciting work. It will be processed for the research library and be-come a permanent part of our collection.”
Mary Frances O’Brien, Boston Public Library.

“Long overdue. … Present and future generations of natives and non-natives alike will draw upon this book to further fuel and validate a renaissance of northeastern First Nations’ material culture.” Aaron York, a 21st century Abanaki birch-bark canoe builder and mocotaugan sculptor.

These are the principal features of Mocotaugan:
  • In words and illustrations of documented artifacts, a substantive new contribution to the understanding of the ancient origin and evolution of this distinctive tool.
  • An original contribution to the appreciation of the embellished mocotaugans a prime product of the Woodlands Indian’s material culture.
  • One of the first, if not the first, effort to classify embellished mocotaugans by the different art styles of various Woodlands tribes.
  • The most comprehensive full color, full page photo portfolio of embellished mocotaugans ever published.
  • Some of the cooking sections were written by Abby Sher...she is known as a bread making machine in many cuisine circles.
  • A number of sidelights on such topics as these: the native skill of blade making, the debate on the European origin of the knife, the influence of early settlers’ art, and the special aesthetic appeal of the embellished mocotaugan.
  • An extensive bibliography, covering both the history of the Woodlands people and the nature of the vital tool.


To help make the distinctive artifact better known, Mocotaugan, the Story and Art of the Crooked Knife has been issued in three forms. The first is a hand-crafted edition of two hundred copies for sale to private and institutional collectors of both Indian and the bookmaker’s art. The second is a no-frills edition of one hundred copies that were donated to national and regional libraries and museums, in Canada, the United States and Europe, with major holdings in Woodlands material culture. The third form is this web site, making the complete contents of the book available to everyone with access to the Internet.


The interiors of both forms of the printed books are identical. One hundred seventy pages of acid-free paper, 11” x 10”. Thirty-nine photos by Luigi Pelletieri, and seventeen other illustrations, including drawings by Jim Owens. Design by Ken Silvia, winner of national awards for publication design. Digital printing and machine binding by Acme Bookbinding Company.

The Collector’s Edition,
signed and numbered, was bound by Mary McCarthy with handcrafted hard covers using linen and leather, and joined with flat woven tape in open-spine binding.

The books were produced and distributed by Metacom Publishing Company, Inc. Nantucket, MA.
Library of Congress CN 2003094804.
ISBN 0-97428094-0-2.

NOTE ON THE PORTFOLIO: The printed books present each of the embellished knives on a double-page “portrait” spread — a large photograph on one page, with its annotation on the facing page. This web site presents each knife on a single page. See page 59 ff.