Kiowa Belief and Ritual

By Benjamin R. Kracht | Go to book overview

1
Kiowa History, 1832–1868

Kiowas interviewed in 1935 who were born during the prereservation period described religious beliefs and practices that developed after the Kiowas migrated from Western Montana to the Northwestern Plains toward the end of the seventeenth century. Kiowa migrations were concurrent with the movements of other peoples to the Northwestern and Northern Plains from peripheral regions of the Plateau, Great Basin, Subarctic, and Northeast culture areas in response to the horse and bison robe trade. During the eighteenth century, “the culture of the horse-using buffalo hunters became the dominant culture of the Great Plains” (Ewers 1980, 334).

Horses had been extinct in the Western Hemisphere for over ten thousand years until they were reintroduced to the New Mexican frontier by Spanish settlers in the seventeenth century. Though Spanish law prohibited the sale of horses and firearms to Indians, Pueblos living in the Rio Grande Valley gained access to horses owned by ranchers and traded them to Apaches, who became fully equestrian by the 1630s. Apache raiders began stealing horses from Spanish settlements, or obtained them by trading captives to the Pueblos. Utes and Navajos also acquired horses, and in 1659 mounted Navajo marauders were reported northwest of Santa Fe. During the seventeenth century, Pecos Pueblo, the crossroads between the Pueblos and the Plains, became the focal point for the diffusion of horses to Plains Indians. In the wake of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, at least ten thousand horses fell into Indian hands; afterward, trading and raiding became the primary means for acquiring horses. For instance, LaSalle reported in 1682 that Kiowas and Plains Apaches had recently traded horses stolen from New Mexico to Pawnees or Wichitas. By the

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Kiowa Belief and Ritual
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Kiowa Pronunciations ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction - Ethnographic Studies of Plains Indian Religions 1
  • 1 - Kiowa History, 1832–1868 35
  • 2 - Kiowa Beliefs and Concepts of the Universe 53
  • 3 - Acquiring, Maintaining, and Manifesting Power 85
  • 4 - Bundles, Shields, and Societies 137
  • 5 - The Kiowa Sun Dance 197
  • Conclusion - The Collapse of the Horse and Buffalo Culture and the Sun Dance 251
  • Appendix - Kiowa Sun Dance Chronology, 1833–1890 281
  • Notes 287
  • Bibliography 313
  • Index 335
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