Although Lipan Apache culture was studied by one of the most eminent anthropologists of the twentieth century, many important questions remain. What is the meaning of the tribal name Lipan? Did Morris Opler's 1935 study of historical Lipan culture conform to practices seen by eighteenth century Spaniards? Only four in situ observations of Lipan Apache culture survive - observations made by a Spanish priest, a Spanish military officer, a Swiss botanist and an Anglo captive. Each source reveals fascinating insights into a hitherto unseen world of Lipan beliefs and practices. The sources reported, for example, that the Lipans were able to predict both solar and lunar eclipses, a practice which went far beyond the vision quest posited by Opler. The Light Gray People seeks to complete a comparative analysis of traditional Lipan Apache culture, as seen through the eyes of four eighteenth and nineteenth century observers and Morris Opler's theories.
Nancy McGown Minor, an independent historical researcher with a master's degree from Texas State University. She specializes in archival research regarding the history and culture of the Lipan Apaches and is the Tribal Historian of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas. Ms. Minor is also the co-author (with William Chebahtah) of Chevato: The Story of the Apache Warrior who Captured Herman Lehmann (University of Nebraska Press, 2007). This work contains the oral history and historical context of the life of Lipan Apache shaman Chevato (1852-1931), one of the founders of the Native American Church.