Peyote Trade in South Texas
GEORGE R. MORGAN AND OMER C. STEWART*
P EYOTISM HAS NOT BEEN PRACTICED IN TEXAS TO ANY GREAT EXTENT
since 1859, yet Texas has continued to be the keystone to Peyotism
in the United States. The South Texas brush country is the only region
in the United States where the little psychotropic cactus grows in suffi-
cient abundance to supply the peyote religion (Figure 1), in which In-
dians employ the hallucinogenic cactus as a sacrament. The religious
ceremony that developed around the sacred plant is an all-night ritual
that includes praying, prayer chants, and the consumption of peyote by
the participants. It is this religion that has motivated the Indian to
obtain peyote from South Texas.'
Although the Indian pilgrimage to Texas still ideally consists in rit-
ually harvesting the sacred plant, Indians became increasingly depen-
dent upon a special group of Hispano peyote traders known as peyo-
teros for their supply of peyote. It was the peyoteros of South Texas
who became the major harvesters and suppliers of the plant to Indians
north of the Rio Grande. The development of peyote trade between
the peyotero and the Indian has a unique economic history; the liaison
between the two peoples fostered an impetus to the geographical spread
and continuance of the peyote religion.
*George R. Morgan is professor of geography at Chadron State College. Omer C. Stewart
is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
10mer C. Stewart, "The History of the Peyote Religion" (unpublished book manu-
script), Chap. 3.
Groups within over fifty tribes adhere to the peyote religion, namely: Tonkawa, Caddo,
Mescalero Apache, Kiowa Apache, Comanche, Southern Cheyenne, Southern Arapaho,
Wichita, Northern Cheyenne, Osage, Ots, Quapaw, Iowa of Oklahoma, Jicarilla Apache,
Sac and Fox of Oklahoma, Shawnee, Seneca, Kickapoo, Kaw (Kansas), Yuchi and Five Civ-
ilized Tribes, Creek, Omaha, Prairie Potawatomi, Fox of Iowa, Sioux, Wind River Sho-
shone, Winnebago of Wisconsin, Menomini, Chippewa, Northern Ute of Utah, Ute Moun-
tain Ute of Colorado, Navajo, Bannock-Shoshone of Idaho, Nevada Shoshone, Crow, Sac
and Fox of Kansas, Kickapoo of Kansas, Iowa of Kansas, Canadian Cree of Saskatchewan,
Canadian Sioux of Manitoba, Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara, Gosiute Shoshone, Northern Pai-
ute, Rocky Boy Cree of Montana, Canadian Cree of Alberta, Washo, Southern Paiute of
Utah, Yakima of Washington, Puyallap of Washington, Salish of eastern Washington.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed May 4, 2016.