A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book
For many Plains Indians, being a warrior and veteran has long been the traditional pathway to male honor and status. Men and boys formed military societies to celebrate victories in war, to perform community service, and to prepare young men for their role as warriors and hunters. By preserving cultural forms contained in song, dance, ritual, language, kinship, economics, naming, and other semireligious ceremonies, these societies have played an important role in maintaining Plains Indian culture from the pre-reservation era until today.
In this book, Williams C. Meadows presents an in-depth ethnohistorical survey of Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche military societies, drawn from extensive interviews with tribal elders and military society members, unpublished archival sources, and linguistic data. He examines their structure, functions, rituals, and martial symbols, showing how they fit within larger tribal organizations. And he explores how military societies, like powwows, have become a distinct public format for cultural and ethnic continuity.