University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History > Oh Grandfather, give me power over my enemies! Aspects of Kiowa Warfare in the Nineteenth Century

Oh Grandfather, give me power over my enemies! Aspects of Kiowa Warfare in the Nineteenth Century

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The Kiowas were one of the smaller Native American tribes living on the southern Great Plains during the period of white conquest in the Nineteenth Century. They were also among the most prolific in fighting against that invasion, and the story of armed resistance on the Southern Plains is often told primarily through the trials and tribulations of the Kiowas and their principal chiefs. However, Kiowa history beyond their struggles with the United States has been seriously neglected, and the Kiowas have received far less attention from scholars than the larger, more famous tribes of the Northern Plains such as the Cheyenne and Lakota, and even than their southern neighbours the Comanches.

Based entirely on Kiowa oral sources, this talk seeks to illuminate the particular features of Kiowa warfare, demonstrating its sharp differences, both in conception and practice, from the model familiar to Europeans. It will touch on questions of the character of warfare in a nomad culture, and in an individualist and (theoretically) meritocratic society. It will also seek to focus attention away from the familiar Euro American-centred narrative of the period, and to emphasise that the tribes of the Great Plains had their own strategic preoccupations, which often had nothing to do with the activities of the United States and were only peripherally affected by whites.

This talk is part of the Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History series.

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