The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898

26 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.

TRIBAL SOCIETY AMONG TEXAS INDIANS.
M. 1M. KENNEY.
When we seek to know the early stages of human society, we de-
rive aid in the Old World from the light of written history, which
discloses with more or less clearness the conditions existing in the
past for some thousands of years, supplemented by a twilight of
old tradition.
In the New World, however, the light of written history closes
in sudden darkness only four centuries back, and is but feebly sup-
plemented by obscure tradition of short duration. As to the pecu-
liar race of men who inhabited these regions before that time, we
are thrown upon the resources of natural history. The fragments
of flint weapons and rude pottery which are here found buried in
the soil, sometimes in deep strata, inform us that these continents
were inhabited by savage people in very great antiquity. The
mounds and traces of fortifications widely dispersed, and the so-
called ruined cities of Mexico, Central America, and Peru, inform
us that the builders were tribes, and that from time to time partial
civilizations arose among them and progressed to the point of erect-
ing great public structures and executing rudimentary works of
art, and lapsed again into barbarism and savagery, as it has done in
the Old World within recorded time.
But there is another trace, which we may say has been recently
discovered, and which is both more ancient and more distinct than
any mounds or ruins. The great advance in recent years in the sci-
ence. of Comparative Philology, or the science of language, has
opened to us "vistas into the past hitherto undreamed of," and af-
fords a record of great antiquity of many barbarous, unlettered
tribes and nations. We are thus enabled to trace migrations which
occurred long before the dawn of history, even in the Old World.
In the western hemisphere we are enabled, by comparing the lan-
guages of the aboriginees, to locate the grand divisions of the race
in times much earlier than our histories of discovery disclose, or
their traditions indicate, and to trace some of their wanderings long
forgotten among them.

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/. Accessed August 30, 2014.