How did the American Indians shave? I just realized that I've never seen any with beards in vintage photos but on my old AIM poster from the 70's I see a person drawn with a beard and moustache holding up a rifle.
I have heard most Indians do not grow facial hair, but that may be a myth. My grandfather is half Indian, and grew up on a reservation. He used to use an axe (he was a lumberjack, and North American Guide) in his younger days. I know that you were not really talking about modern Indians, but there is something kinda manly about shaving with an axe that I think warrants a mention.
Shaving with an Axe. that is sweet. I have a hard enough time chopping wood without cutting off any fingers or toes, I don't think that I am going to put the thing to my face anytime soon. But if someone else wants to give it a try, I am all for it.
Seriously, they don't grow facial hair. That's why you never see pictures of Indians with beards. Neither did the Myans. It's just another one of their cultural traits. They also never ever drank alcohol, which is why it is easier for native americans to become alcoholics. Over hundreds (or thousands) of years, they never got a chance to come in contact with alcohol regularly, and therefore never developed any kind of tolerance.
Perhaps you should read the book "Bury my heart at wounded knee" It's the history of the West as written by the Indians. I got the impression from the book that the Indians were much to blame for thier own fate, it seems they were using the Europeans to settle scores with other tribes- they did it stone cold sober and with much forethought. So the Indian isn't innocent in his own demise.
That's not entirely true. While there may be some traits in some tribes that make growing facial hair difficult, this does not apply to all tribes. My wife is full-blooded Lumbee Indian and the male Lumbees can grow beards.
One thing Indians had in common was that they were all different. That is, there are some ways in which they were the same by environment or technical level or other necessity, but beyond that, there was a lot of variety.
So I suspect they used all of the above: clam shells, plucking, and a natural hairlessness. But they weren't all baby-faced; check out this Kwakiutl gentleman. (I've seen pictures of lusher beards on men from that tribe, from a time before much intermarriage with whites would have been possible.)