Comanche Society: Before the Reservation


Once called the Lords of the Plains, the Comanches were long portrayed as marauding raiders who capitalized on the Spanish introduction of horses to raise their people out of primitive poverty through bison hunting and fierce warfare. More recent studies of the Comanches have focused on adaptation and persistence in Comanche lifestyles and on their political organization and language-based alliances.

In Comanche Society, Gerald Betty develops an exciting perspective on the driving force of Comanche life: kinship. He details the kinship patterns that underlay all social organization and behavior among the Comanches and uses these insights to explain the way Comanches lived and interacted with Europeans.

This account analyzes the formation of clans, the hierarchy in family and generational relationships, and ancestor worship and related religious ceremonies. In clear language and detail, Betty considers a number of aspects of Comanche life -- pastoralism, migration and nomadism, economics and trade, and warfare -- and how these developed along kinship lines.

This is cutting-edge history, drawing not only on original research in extensive primary documents but also on theoretical perspectives from other disciplines.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • College Station, TX
Publication year:
  • 2002


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