The Kiowas. By Mildred P. Mayhall. Norman (University of
Oklahoma Press), 1962. Pp. xvii+315. Illustrations, bibliog-
raphy, index. $6.95.
Kiowal What scenes of rapine and murder the name calls up!
During the last years of Indian marauding, not even the Co-
manches were so stubbornly vengeful in repaying their enemies
for every wrong, real or imaginary. Several books on the Kiowas
have appeared in recent years, but none combines so success-
fully history and ethnology as does Mildred P. Mayhall's.
For a considerable part of the book the author follows the trail
of Kiowa history laid out by James Mooney and others: the
acquisition of horses during the middle seventeenth century,
friendship with the Arikaras, wars with the Mandans, the Chey-
ennes, and the Comanches, and treaties of peace with the Co-
manches and Cheyennes.
Mildred Mayhall contends that there was no genuine Plains
culture before the Indians of the Plains got horses, that the horse
did not just augment certain practices of these people but trans-
formed them into something quite different. The Kiowa golden
age was from about 1740 to 1835, almost a century, when they
had many horses, some implements of war supplied by the Cauca-
sians, felt little of the impact of government, lived in relative
abundance, and were feared and almost fearless. After 1835,
through treaties and the presence of troops, the United States
government tended to restrict their range and interfere (only
slightly at first) with their freedom.
Considerable space in the book is devoted to accounts of numer-
ous explorers who touched or entered the Kiowa country, which
was a vast domain that these Indians claimed at one time or
another, extending from the Black Hills southward to the Red
River. Many details are given of the contacts of these explorers
with other Indian tribes as well as with the Kiowas. It would seem
that some of this material might well have been deleted in the
interest of coherence and readability; but there is not enough of
it to mar the book seriously.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed August 21, 2014.