The tomahawk comes from the Algonquin word "tomhikan" which referred to the short hafted axe that many of the natives bore into battle. The axe was stone, later metal, and attached to a haft of hickory or ash or other stout hardwood. The haft was about 2 feet long and the blade not more than four inches.
The tomahawk was used for melee combat as well as a thrown weapon. Its simple design and balance made it ideal for both.