The Life of Ten Bears: Comanche Historical Narratives

By Francis Joseph Attocknie; Thomas W. Kavanagh | Go to book overview

21   The Pukutsinuu
THE COMANCHE CONTRARY WARRIORS

The Comanche Pukutsi custom has been allowed to die out. The Pukutsinuu were brave to the extreme point, even beyond the foolhardy stage; these Pukutsinuu were the Comanche Contrary Warriors. They professed to live in the exact opposite of what the rest of the Comanches believed was right.

The origin of the custom is obscure, and the idea behind the behavior of these apparently fearless contrary warriors has not been handed down to the present-day Comanches.

These contrary Pukutsinuu could have possibly been holding up for ridicule the actions of the tribe’s most daring horse-warriors, as those brave fighters strived to outdo each other with their displays of daring. But while the exploits of the tribe’s leading warriors usually ended with the death of an enemy or perhaps the Comanche warrior himself, the Comanche Pukutsinuu were rarely known to kill an enemy of the Comanches. A Pukutsi usually carried only a gourd rattle.

One Comanche Pukutsi killed and skinned an enemy Pawnee and stretched the skin out on the ground with stakes in the manner of a woman drying out an animal skin before tanning it. He staked out the Pawnee skin at night in front of an old woman’s tipi; this Comanche crone had asked the Pukutsi to bring her the skin of the next buffalo he killed so she could tan it for a robe. The Comanche warriors taking part in the Sun Dance ritual were referred to as kutsu or buffalo.

In a battle with the Utes, two Pukutsinuu rode into certain death. They mounted double on a horse, both facing toward their mount’s tail. They turned their horse directly toward the Utes and, whipping it, galloped it into the enemy, shaking their gourd rattles in time to their singing as they sang the song of the Comanche Pukutsinuu warriors.

The last known Comanche Pukutsi did not follow the custom very long; he might have followed it for a season. This last known Comanche Pukutsi was Black Horse, a Comanche very well known in the history of the Southern Plains. Some of his family may have talked him out of the Pukutsi idea.

During the time Black Horse was practicing the customs of the Pukutsi,

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