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Comanche Ethnography

Field Notes of E. Adamson Hoebel, Waldo R. Wedel, Gustav G. Carlson, and Robert H. Lowie

Thomas W. Kavanagh

Publication Year: 2008

In the summer of 1933 in Lawton, Oklahoma, a team of six anthropologists met with eighteen Comanche elders to record the latter’s reminiscences of traditional Comanche culture. The depth and breadth of what the elderly Comanches recalled provides an inestimable source of knowledge for generations to come, both within and beyond the Comanche community. This monumental volume makes available for the first time the largest archive of traditional cultural information on Comanches ever gathered by American anthropologists.

Much of the Comanches’ earlier world is presented here—religious stories, historical accounts, autobiographical remembrances, cosmology, the practice of war, everyday games, birth rituals, funerals, kinship relations, the organization of camps, material culture, and relations with other tribes.

Thomas W. Kavanagh tracked down all known surviving notes from the Santa Fe Laboratory field party and collated and annotated the records, learning as much as possible about the Comanche elders who spoke with the anthropologists and, when possible, attributing pieces of information to the appropriate elders. In addition, this volume includes Robert H. Lowie’s notes from his short 1912 visit to the Comanches. The result stands as a legacy for both Comanches and those interested in learning more about them.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press


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pp. v-vi


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii

Two sets of unpublished field notes underlie much of the ethnographic understanding of the Comanche Indians. The earliest are Robert Lowie's brief notes of his 1912 Comanche fieldwork, the basis of the Comanche part of his "Dances and Societies of the Plains Shoshone...

PART ONE: The 1933 Comanche Field Party

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pp. 3-31

In late June 1933, six anthropologists—one professor and five male graduate students1—met at the Hotel Midland in Lawton, Oklahoma (Linton 1933b). They would spend the next six weeks recording traditional Comanche culture as remembered by eighteen Comanche elders.2...

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The 1933 Field Party Notes

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pp. 32-480

Etiquette One said hahaitsI "friend" 1 (in greeting). A visitor first stated his business, and then inquired as to his host's affairs. Indians are now suspicious. Economy: Trade There was trade with Mexico; horses for nuts, etc.; ten to twenty dollars...

PART TWO: Robert Lowie’s 1912 Field Trip

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pp. 483

During the initial stages of gathering the Field Party notes, I visited the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). While there, I asked if there were any extant notes from Robert Lowie's 1912 research trip to the Comanches, the basis of his 1915 publication, Comanche...

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Lowie’s 1912 Field Notes

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pp. 484-492

Lawton, Oklahoma, June 8. I have been here several days waiting for Harrington's5 interpreter, Mr. Hope M. Fulbright. 6 Dr. Rowell,7 who is married to a Kiowa woman, told me that all the K{iowa} women pull...

APPENDIX A: Sources of Ethnographic Information in Hoebel (1940)

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pp. 493-498

APPENDIX B: Sources of Ethnographic Informationin Wallace and Hoebel (1952)

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pp. 499-510

APPENDIX C: Sources of Ethnobotanical Information in Carlson and Jones (1940)

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pp. 511-514

APPENDIX D: Comanche Lexicon

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pp. 515-522


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pp. 523-532


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pp. 533-542

E-ISBN-13: 9780803220454
E-ISBN-10: 0803220456

Page Count: 576
Illustrations: 20 photos, 8 figures
Publication Year: 2008