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Old 13th October 2008, 10:30 PM   #15
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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I think Gonzalo makes excellent points. One must consider the literature in which these rather improbable events are presented, and whether or not the author is citing them as fact, or colorful romaticized tales. If the book noted is a history discussing these tribes, then the description of the events should have the source of the data cited. If it is an adventure narrative or travel item then of course, this should be qualified in the wording.

Gonzalo has presented some interesting facts that do offer possibility for the unusual accounts suggesting raids of such long distance, and that the presence of this wildlife need not be from as far as Mesoamerica. I recall reading some very exciting books in researching the famed American 'Bowie Knife', including one titled "The Iron Mistress". This colorful story presents a mixture of fact and a good measure of folklore, and in this type of narrative it becomes difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. It was however, great material for a movie!
This very phenomenon..folklore...has led to countless misperceptions in the study of not only weapons, but clearly history itself.

Indian folklore is inclusive in their wonderful history, which is considered oral tradition, and in many ways of course includes not only historical and legendary events, but many of profound religious belief. The drawback feom a historical point of view with oral tradition, is that stories tend to gain varying degree of embellishment through time, and deep respect and admiration of forebearers often inadvertantly adds considerable dimension referring to them.
This does not mean that oral tradition in Native American history is untrue or questionable, but recognizes that metaphoric context can often present unique challenges in scholarly perspective. My deep fascination in American Indian history in only exceeded by my profound respect for thier culture.

I think that the Comanches and thier nominal allies, the Kiowa, probably did raid into Mexico to the degree described by Gonzalo, but if any raid by them did reach that much further into Mexico or Mesoamerica, it would most likely have been a singular event. Thier primary purpose in raiding was to obtain horses, and these were readily available wherever the Spanish were, in Texas, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. I cannot imagine why they would travel this great distance to obtain what was available much closer.

Travelling great distances however, was not an all unusual in historical times, as I am discovering more and more, and these tribes did travel more often toward Canada. The evidence of trade items with southwestern tribes from faraway places, including Mesoamerica, were most likely obtained through intertribal contact and networking, rather than singular forays of the entire distance. This is much the same in the history of trade worldwide.

All best regards,
Jim
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