Warrior culture has long been an important facet of Plains Indian life. For Kiowa Indians, military societies have special significance. They serve not only to honor veterans and celebrate and publicize martial achievements but also to foster strong role models for younger tribal members. To this day, these societies serve to maintain traditional Kiowa values, culture, and ethnic identity.
Previous scholarship has offered only glimpses of Kiowa military societies. William C. Meadows now provides a detailed account of the ritual structures, ceremonial composition, and historical development of each society: Rabbits, Mountain Sheep, Horses Headdresses, Black Legs, Skunkberry /Unafraid of Death, Scout Dogs, Kiowa Bone Strikers, and Omaha, as well as past and present women's groups.
Two dozen illustrations depict personages and ceremonies, and an appendix provides membership rosters from the late 1800s.
The most comprehensive description ever published on Kiowa military societies, this work is unmatched by previous studies in its level of detail and depth of scholarship. It demonstrates the evolution of these groups within the larger context of American Indian history and anthropology, while documenting and preserving tribal traditions.
William C. Meadows is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies at Missouri State University, Springfield. A scholar of Plains Indian cultures. He is the author of Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche Military Societies: Enduring Veterans, 1800 to the Present (University of Texas Press, 2003) and The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II and Kiowa Ethnogeography (University of Texas Press, 2003).