Kiowa Belief and Ritual

Kiowa Belief and Ritual

Kiowa Belief and Ritual

Kiowa Belief and Ritual

Synopsis

Directed by anthropologist Alexander Lesser in 1935, the Santa Fe Laboratory of Anthropology sponsored a field school in southwestern Oklahoma that focused on the neighboring Kiowas. During two months, graduate students compiled more than 1,300 pages of single-spaced field notes derived from cross-interviewing thirty-five Kiowas. These eyewitness and first-generation reflections on the horse and buffalo days are undoubtedly the best materials available for reconstructing pre-reservation Kiowa beliefs and rituals. The field school compiled massive data resulting in a number of publications on this formerly nomadic Plains tribe, though the planned collaborative ethnographies never materialized. The extensive Kiowa field notes, which contain invaluable information, remained largely unpublished until now.

In Kiowa Belief and Ritual, Benjamin R. Kracht reconstructs Kiowa cosmology during the height of the horse and buffalo culture from field notes pertaining to cosmology, visions, shamans, sorcery, dream shields, tribal bundles, and the now-extinct Sun Dance ceremony. These topics are interpreted through the Kiowa concept of a power force permeating the universe. Additional data gleaned from the field notes of James Mooney and Alice Marriott enrich the narrative. Drawing on more than thirty years of field experiences, Kracht's discussion of how indigenous notions of "power" are manifested today significantly enhances the existing literature concerning Plains religions.

Excerpt

Unfinished Business: the 1935 Santa Fe
Laboratory of Anthropology Expedition

Given the grim economic depression of the 1930s, it is truly remarkable that the Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe, New Mexico, sponsored two ethnographic field schools in the Southern Plains (Ewers 1992, x), an area typically overlooked by researchers favoring the indigenous cultures of the Southwest or the Northern and Central Plains. in 1933, the first field school, directed by Ralph Linton (University of Wisconsin), was conducted in southwestern Oklahoma among the Comanches, and the second field school, directed by Alexander Lesser (Columbia University) in 1935, focused on the neighboring Kiowas. Both field schools compiled massive data resulting in a number of publications on these formerly nomadic Plains tribes (Hoebel 1941, 1960; Linton 1935; Wallace and Hoebel 1952; Mishkin 1940; Richardson 1940; Collier 1944), though the planned collaborative ethnographies never materialized (DeMallie and Ewers 2001, 37). Recently, the collective Comanche fieldnotes were compiled and edited by Thomas W. Kavanagh (2008), but the much more extensive Kiowa fieldnotes, which contain invaluable information about the prereservation-period horse and buffalo culture, remain largely unpublished.

Due to budget cuts in 1935, the Santa Fe Laboratory of Anthropology was compelled to eliminate funding for archaeology, so that year fellowships were available to students only for the ethnographic field study among the Kiowas. Applications were due by April 5, and scholarship recipients were to be notified by director Jesse L. Nusbaum in early . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.