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Title: Societies of the Kiowas
Author: Lowie, Robert H
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS
    OF
    THE AMERICAN MUSEUM
    OF NATURAL HISTORY

    VOL. XI, PART XI

    SOCIETIES OF THE KIOWA

    BY
    ROBERT H. LOWIE

    NEW YORK
    PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF THE TRUSTEES
    1916



    SOCIETIES OF THE KIOWA.
    BY ROBERT H. LOWIE.



PREFACE.


Before summarizing the results of the investigation of Plains Indian
societies undertaken by the Department of Anthropology for a number of
years, it appeared desirable to secure data from the Kiowa respecting
certain theoretical points that had developed from a study of other
tribes. Though Mr. Mooney's printed Kiowa material seemed to decide
these questions implicitly, it seemed best to take a view of the subject
in the field from the particular vantage ground afforded by the
systematic survey of the region presented in this volume. For this
purpose I made a side trip to Anadarko, Oklahoma, in June, 1915. There I
had the good fortune of enlisting the services of Mr. Andres Martinez, a
Mexican who had been captured by the Apache while a boy, sold to the
Kiowa two years later, and who had lived a large portion of his life as
a Kiowa among Kiowa, marrying native women, entering some of the men's
societies, and so forth. Mr. Martinez became my main informant and acted
as my interpreter in questioning two full-blood Indians on doubtful
points. He also corrected several errors in his published biography,[1]
which he explained were due to his inadequate knowledge of English at
the time of its composition.

It is obvious that several days' work, however intensive, cannot exhaust
such a topic as the military and related organizations of a Plains
tribe: all I attempted was to shed some light on the problems treated in
this series of papers.

February, 1916.



CONTENTS.


                          PAGE.
    PREFACE                839
    INTRODUCTION           841
    MEN'S SOCIETIES        844
        RABBITS            844
        SHEPHERDS          845
        TSË`TĀ´NMÂ         846
        BLACK FEET         846
        BERRIES            847
        Q'Ō´I`TSË`ÑKO      847
    WOMEN'S SOCIETIES      849
    OTHER DANCES           850



INTRODUCTION.


From Battey we learn that in the seventies of the last century the Kiowa
had a police organization designed to prevent the young men from going
on raids that might bring trouble upon the tribe.

     ... a strong guard of their soldiers were continually watching, day
     and night, while in camp, to prevent any such enterprise from being
     undertaken. In moving from place to place, these soldiers marched
     on each side of the main body, while a front guard went before, and
     a rear guard behind, thus preventing any from straggling away.

A corresponding body regulated the buffalo hunt.

     The soldiers, going out first, surrounded a tract of country in
     which were a large herd of buffalo; and no one might chase a
     buffalo past this ring guard on pain of having his horse shot by
     the soldiers.[2]

Clark merely lists the names of five men's societies.[3]

In Rev. Methvin's biography of my chief informant there is a brief
chapter on military societies,[4] but as these data were revised and
amplified in connection with my own inquiries, they need not be
summarized as there presented.

Our principal sources on this subject, however, are Mr. Mooney's
statements.[5] These largely corroborate my own notes and will be
presented with them so far as they do not coincide.

The older literature cited above does not in any way contradict the
general results I obtained independently, which may be summarized as
follows.

In recent times the Kiowa had six men's societies and two women's
societies. There once existed in the time of one informant's
greatgrandfather an additional men's society, the qo´+itëm, "Kiowa's
Bone"(?). The members of this organization represented each a buffalo
bull, except for the leader, who (though also a man) represented a
buffalo cow. In a fight, if this leader stopped to stand his ground, all
the others were obliged to do the same, even at the risk of death. Thus
all of them were killed, and the people were afraid so that they no
longer kept up the organization.

The six men's societies of recent times were: the Rabbits (fulā´nyu);
Shepherds (altō´yuhe); Rulers (?) of Horses (tsë`tā´nmâ); Berries[6]
(tá'ipëko); Black Feet (tuñk´uñqōt'); ? Horses (q'ō´i'tsë`ñko). Of these
the first-mentioned comprised all the little boys[7] in the tribe, while
the last society in the list is superior to the others in social
prestige, being composed exclusively of eminent warriors. The rest are
of the same rank. Mr. Mooney at one time believed that the Rabbits "were
afterward promoted, according to merit or the necessities of war, in
regular progression to higher ranks."[8] In a more recent statement,
however, he corroborates my own information that "the next four
societies ... were all of about equal rank, varying only according to
the merit or reputation of the officers at any particular time."[9] The
societies thus did not form a graded series in any sense. As a boy grew
up any one of the four coördinate societies might make him join. Some
men never advanced from the status of a Rabbit, for if a boy was not
considered the right sort he was not asked to join the adult men's
organizations. There were only a few individuals who were barred in this
way, however; every Indian man of any social standing became a member of
some society. Later some other society might induce him to change his
membership. If he was especially brave, he might be taken into the
q'ō´i'tsë`ñko. Except for the Rabbits, age had nothing to do with
membership, nor was membership purchased; further the societies did not
offer gifts to the individual sought as a member, thus differing from
the Crow societies.

The societies met only during the period between a sun dance
announcement and the sun dance itself, but this interval differed
greatly in length, the announcement being sometimes made very soon after
the consummation of the preceding ceremony while at other times it was
only made immediately before the performance announced. During the
period defined the societies met very frequently, one member inviting
the others one day for a feast, and the rest following suit on other
days. The q'ō´i'tsë`ñko met less frequently than the rest. A man could
only belong to one society at a time (except in the case of the adult
leaders of the Rabbits). Since the Rabbits included all the young boys
in the tribe, they were very numerous. On the other hand, the
q'ō´i'tsëñko, owing to the special qualifications for membership, were
very few,--only ten according to Mr. Mooney and from fifteen to twenty
according to Martinez, while two Indians set the number at thirty. The
last-mentioned informants set the average membership of the other
organizations at forty or fifty, while Martinez's estimate is from
thirty to forty.

There was no such rivalry between any two societies in times of war as
has been described for the Crow Indians (this volume, p. 174). Sometimes
at the time of the sun dance any two societies might engage in a
kicking-fight, the object of which was to teach the young Indians not to
run away from the enemy but to stand their ground and fight. This is
doubtless the performance referred to by Battey as coming after the
erection of the sun dance lodge:--

     The soldiers of the tribe then had a frolic in and about it,
     running and jumping, striking and kicking, throwing one another
     down, stripping and tearing the clothes off each other.[10]

Martinez knew of no instance of a man voluntarily leaving his society. A
father might give presents to poor Indians in honor of a boy who becomes
a Rabbit, but he would not take the initiative to get his son into his
own organization.

The mutual-benefit feature that characterizes the Crow clubs does not
seem to have been prominent among the Kiowa. For example, when a man
bought the medicine privileges described by Methvin under the caption
"quo-dle-quoit,"[11] he was assisted by his relatives, but his society
had nothing to do with the procedure.

At the time of the sun dance the medicineman appointed one of the
societies to get the sacred tree. Similarly, he would choose one of them
to act as police during the buffalo hunt. Their function in this
connection is called q'ī´at'ā´tu, which seems to mean "they can stop any
one." The offender who hunted individually instead of taking his place
with the rest lost the meat so secured, and if he resented this
punishment the police might shoot his horse or whip him.

If a member absented himself from an evening session of his society
during the sun dance period, his associates would sing a song the next
day, hallooing and making a big noise at the end of the song. Then one
man would call aloud the delinquent's name, coupling it with that of his
mother-in-law and crying, "That is your wife!" Since the mother-in-law
taboo held sway among the Kiowa,[12] the object of the performance was
evidently to make the offender ashamed.



MEN'S SOCIETIES.

RABBITS.[13]


According to Mr. Mooney the Rabbit society embraced boys of the age of
about ten or twelve. Martinez was about ten years old when he joined,
but said that any boy belonged to the Rabbits when old enough to walk
freely. In his case the event occurred later because he only came to
live among the Kiowa at nine. There were two leaders, who were grown-up
men and stayed with the Rabbits as long as they lived. These also
belonged to some other organization, but their first duty was to the
Rabbits if a meeting of both organizations should be called at the same
time. Kō´tar and Ayáte were the leaders in Martinez's time.

The Rabbits, generally, but not always, wore at the back of the head a
strip of elk hide with the hair and a feather standing erect. They wore
buckskin clothes and painted the face with different colors. All sang
while dancing. The leaders beat drums but also took part in the dance
sometimes. During one song three or four boys, or sometimes as many as
ten, got up to dance. After the dance the leaders told the Rabbits all
about their war deeds. If one leader died, the other nominated a
successor, and if the boys agreed all went to this man's place, seized
him and led him to their tipi.

The day before a feast one of the leaders would ride about, announcing
that such-and-such a boy had invited the Rabbits for a dance and feast
the next day.

In accordance with Mr. Mooney's statement that the boys of the society
"were drilled in their future duties as warriors by certain old men,"
Martinez compares the Rabbit organization to a school. The leaders would
rise and say: "When I was young like you, I was a little Rabbit, when I
got older I went and stole horses, took scalps, etc."

Martinez says that every once in a while nowadays he hears the father of
some sick child say, "If he recovers, I'll call the Rabbits together."
Then, if the child gets well, the father will entertain the boys with a
feast, and the Indians believe that the promise was the cause of the
recovery. In the old days the Indians used to do the same thing in
corresponding cases.

The Rabbits jumped up and down without change of position, held up their
hands to the level of their ears, moving the hands, and at the same time
imitated the sound of rabbits: ts'ā, t's'ā!

Martinez remained a Rabbit until he was about fifteen years old.


SHEPHERDS.[14]


When about fifteen years old, Martinez was sleeping in his tipi one
night when three young men entered. He gave them something to smoke,
they smoked and then told him they were there on business. "What is your
business?" My informant had already guessed what it was, for all his
visitors were members of the Shepherd society. Each of the Rabbits had a
special friend with whom he would dance. Martinez's comrade had already
been taken in by the Shepherds and wanted him to join likewise. There
was no reason for refusing, but even had he done so it would have been
of no avail since they were accustomed to take the boys by force. They
took Martinez at once to the Shepherds' meeting-place where the members
began to halloo and beat drums. He was at once joined by his comrade,
and the two danced together.

The Shepherds danced differently from the Rabbits, moving slightly or
jumping up, and also moving both arms out at the level of the waist. No
sound was made while dancing. Big-bow and Ayáte (the Rabbit leader),
both famous warriors, were the leaders of the Shepherds for life. The
Shepherds had no badge, but wore feathers on the head. The two leaders
had as badges two flat sticks about the length of a man's arms, carved
with figures, with a pendant tsë´īta u´nta (=?) skin, and a
wrist-loop. These emblems were shared by the leaders of all the
coördinate societies. If one of the leaders rose and put the loop of his
stick round his wrist, all the members had to get up likewise and dance.
At the end of a song all the Shepherds sat down except one of the
leaders, who would tell of his exploits. For each deed recited the
drummers beat the drum once. Sometimes only one leader recited the
deeds, sometimes one after the other. Sometimes some other member would
follow with a recital of his own deeds. In the Shepherds, as in the
other coördinate societies, all ages from twelve up were represented. If
Martinez had so desired, he might have stayed with the Shepherds all his
life, but usually some other organization would take a desirable member.
After being adopted, my informant no longer joined the Rabbit feasts
but went to those of the Shepherds. All he had to do there was to learn
the songs and dances and obey his leaders.

The following story is told. The Kiowa were once being pursued by the
enemy toward a mountain called Altō´yuhe. There one Kiowa, a Shepherd,
said: "I will not run any farther, I'll make a stand and defend my
people, even if I get killed." He acted accordingly, sang his song, and
was killed. The mountain was then called after the Shepherds, and the
society adopted his death song as a special song of theirs. The words
were about the following: "Now I am gone. I am going to leave you."
(i. e. "I will not run any more.")


TSË`TĀ´NMÂ.[15]


Martinez was about twenty when this society took him in. His comrade was
still a Shepherd, so Martinez sent for him and made him join also. There
were two leaders, one of whom marched in front, the other behind. This
seems to apply to all the societies. It did not matter which leader took
either of the two positions defined. Here, as in all the coördinate
societies, the leaders had two sticks of the type described for the
Shepherds, and called either after the skin pendant or qo'kū`qa´. There
were rattles and drums. Two or three members would dance to the music,
but if the leaders rose with their badges, all were obliged to rise and
dance. The leaders told about their deeds, then other members followed
suit. Martinez was satisfied with the Shepherds, but the tsë`tā´nmâ were
eager to get him, and had he refused to join they would have come for
him again and again. When getting an individual they went to his own,
not to his society's, tipi. The society that lost a member in the manner
described would not resent this in any way and might do likewise with
members of other societies. If the tsë`tā´nmâ got together now, Martinez
would have the right to join in their meeting.


BLACK FEET.[16]


These had drums but no rattles. The name did not refer to the Indian
tribe. There were two leaders.

Charlie Fanto´ni was captured and taken away while young and not
returned to his people till very much later, so he was still a Rabbit
when he came back at about forty-three years of age. Then the Black
Feet took him in. One member called on him and told him he was sent to
take him to that society. He went in. He was made to get up and dance
four times with some other members, after which one leader told of his
deeds. After that Fanto´ni got up to dance whenever he felt like
it. A year ago this spring the Black Feet got together for a feast and
dance. Women were allowed to be there, but not members of other
societies. The Black Feet had a hooked stick called pobū´n, belonging to
one officer. It was wrapped with beaverskin, painted with different
colors, and tied with pairs of eagle feathers along the shaft and at the
tip of the crooked part. When a man had had the stick for a very long
time, he might feel like giving it to a young member of the
organization. Then the young man gave the owner good clothes and horses
in return. The people knew that a man accepting the pobū´n had to be a
brave man. When in battle, he would plant his stick in the ground and
thereafter would not flee unless it was taken out by someone else.


BERRIES.[17]


Every member had a rattle, originally of rawhide and of either spherical
or square shape, but later baking-powder cans were used. There were two
leaders with sticks. People of other societies might attend while they
recited their deeds. At the last part of their song the Berries, as well
as the tsëtā´nmâ, would raise their rattles aloft and shake them.

The Berries had one arrow (zë´bo) as long as a spear. In recent times
Hā´ñguL made one because his grandfather had had one. Since he had it,
it came to belong to the Berry society. Only one man had it; if he died,
some other member would get a similar badge, the original being buried
with the owner. In battle the owner stuck it into the ground and then
was pledged to stand there unless released by some one else. The arrow
was decorated with reddened eagle feathers and the entire shaft was
painted red.


Q'Ō´I'TSË`ÑKO.


The exact meaning of this native term could not be ascertained. In his
lists Mr. Mooney renders it "Chief Dogs" and "Real or Principal
Dogs"[18](?). In his Kiowa glossary, however, he explains that:--

     the name seems to mean "Kiowa horses" from _Gâ-i_ or _Kâ-i_ and
     _tseñ_. Identical with the "horse" and "big horse," military orders
     of the Kiowa and Kiowa Apache, respectively, as given by Clark.[19]

Martinez, like Clark's informant, translated the word as "Horses" with
some additional honorific epithet, possibly connected with the office of
scout. A corresponding difficulty as to the meaning of society
designations has been noted among the Mandan (this volume, pp. 302, 306,
317). Comparison of the Kiowa society with the (Big) Dog societies of
other Plains tribes certainly seems to show that it is historically
connected with them. In further justification of Mr. Mooney's rendering
may be cited the origin myth obtained by him. According to this, the
founder experienced a vision of warriors equipped in the manner since
adopted by the society and accompanied by a dog, which told the
visionary that he, also being a dog, should make a noise like one and
sing a dog song.

As already stated, members of this organization were expected to be
especially brave; accordingly, they enjoyed greater prestige than other
societies. In age they ranged from about 25 upward. Mr. Mooney's
positive statement that the membership was definitely limited to ten is
entitled to take precedence of my data since he doubtless had an
opportunity of securing a general consensus of opinion while I was only
able to interview three informants. Novices were not allowed to enter in
the unceremonious manner characteristic of the other societies: one of
the two leaders would approach the individual chosen with a pipe and
thus force him to join. If a member felt too old to go to war, he would
similarly put his pipe into the hand of a younger man, who was thus
obliged to become his successor in the organization. Mr. Mooney tells us
that in such a case the new member presented his predecessor with
blankets or other property.

The distinctive badge of membership was a sash (q'ō´i'tsë`+ota), about
six inches wide and long enough to drag along the ground; it was made of
rawhide, buckskin, or red cloth. When these emblems became old, there
was a meeting for the purpose of making new ones, which took four or
five days. For his sash and other regalia each member had a medicine bag
from which they were only taken in war or when their dance was
performed. In a war it was a member's duty to sing the song of his
society, fasten his sash to the earth with a spear and thereafter to
stand his ground regardless of consequences; anyone who fled lost his
prestige and membership unless he had been released by some other man.
Mr. Mooney distinguishes three types of sash,--the leader's[20] emblem,
which was of elkskin colored black; three emblems of red cloth; and six
of elkskin dyed red.[21] He states further that a member might lend his
sash to another man, more particularly to a younger comrade, either in
camp or even on less important war expeditions, but on the more
important raids he was obliged to wear it himself lest he be regarded as
a coward.

The ceremonial paint of this organization was red, which was used all
over the face and clothes, including the moccasins, and also on their
feathers. The leaders, unlike those of other societies, did not carry
flat sticks, but had reddened dewclaw rattles, the dewclaws being
attached to the handle of the rawhide sphere. Martinez declares that the
rawhide was obligatory, no modern equivalent being permitted.[22] In
addition to these instruments drums were used at a dance, and the
performers also blew eagle bone whistles, painted red. The dance step
was slow.

In battle and during a dance the members used backward speech. For
example, they would say, "I am going to run away." "We do not want a
feast yet," when they meant the contrary. During a buffalo hunt they
might act as police like the other organizations.



WOMEN'S SOCIETIES.


There was an Old Women society (tsaLietsu`nyū´p) and a Bear society
(onnā´atema). The latter had very few members, only about ten or
eleven. Some members were old, some were young. A few women, including
Charlie Fanto´ni's grandmother, belonged to both.

The Old Women were not all old, though none was young. There were about
thirty-five or forty of them. They selected their daughters or other
close kinswomen for successors; this also applies to the Bears. A woman
made a feast four times before becoming a member. The Old Women danced
round in a circle, and had a drum. In marching, one leader was in front,
another in the rear. The Bears merely imitated the motions of bears with
their hands. They did not allow any outsider to come in when they had a
dance.

If a man started out for war he prayed to the Old Women, saying that if
he came back successful he should give them a feast. In fulfilling his
promise, he called the women, lit a pipe, presented it to them, and each
member smoked in turn, then prayed for the warrior's honor and long
life. Then the warriors brought water for the women, who drank it and
prayed again. Then the feast was brought, the war leader recited his
deeds, and then one of the leaders of the society cut a little piece of
meat, buried it in the ground and prayed, treating in the same way a
pinch or slice of every kind of food. Then they ate.

This body is clearly described by Battey, who saw its members perform
for an hour or two in the afternoon during the preparatory arrangements
for a sun dance:--

     The music consisted of singing and drumming, done by several old
     women, who were squatted on the ground in a circle. The
     dancers--old, gray-headed women, from sixty to eighty years of
     age--performed in a circle around them for some time, finally
     striking off upon a waddling run, one behind another; they formed a
     circle, came back, and, doubling so as to bring two together, threw
     their arms around each other's necks, and trudged around for some
     time longer; then sat down, while a youngish man circulated the
     pipe from which each in turn took two or three whiffs, and this
     ceremony ended.[23]



OTHER DANCES.


The sun dance, of which several accounts are available,[24] falls
outside the scope of this volume.

The grass dance was said to have been obtained from the Dakota about
fifteen years ago, but as Sitting-bull's name was mentioned in this
connection my informant seems to have erred by a decade and to have had
in mind the ghost dance, which the Kiowa first performed in 1890.[25]
Mr. Mooney mentions a dance resembling the Omaha dance, in which only
two men actually participate and adopt a child of another tribe during a
tribal visit.[26]

In the buffalo dance (pon´qùEn) any of the societies might join. It
was a sort of war dance and they performed it only before setting out on
an expedition. War-bonnets were worn, and the participants carried
shields, spears, and arrows. They would recite their martial exploits.

Of greater comparative interest is the gwudan´ke, War Singing. The
night before starting on a war expedition the whole company of warriors
assembled and any woman might join, but men only if they intended to go
along. They got a big buffalo rawhide, then all participants took hold
of it, and beat it with sticks, at the same time singing a war song and
marching through the entire camp. After they had passed through camp,
they halted to smoke, then continued the parade, possibly until
daylight. My informant stated that this performance was shared by the
Comanche. As a matter of fact I recorded it among this people,[27] as
well as in other tribes. Battey observed an apparently related
performance in connection with the sun dance, after the lodge had been
erected:--

     In the afternoon, a party of a dozen or more warriors and braves
     proceeded to the medicine house, followed by a large proportion of
     the people of the encampment. They were highly painted, and wore
     shirts only, with head-dresses of feathers which extended down the
     backs to the ground, and were kept in their proper places by means
     of an ornamented strap clasping the waist. Some of them had long
     horns attached to their head-dresses. They were armed with lances
     and revolvers, and carrying a couple of long poles mounted from end
     to end with feathers, the one white and the other black. They also
     bore shields highly ornamented with paint, feathers, and hair.

     They took their station upon the side opposite the entrance, the
     musicians standing behind them.

     Many old women occupied a position to the right and near the
     entrance, who set up a tremulous shrieking; the drums began to
     beat, and the dance began, the party above described only
     participating in it.

     They at first slowly advanced towards the central post, followed by
     the musicians several of whom carried a side of raw hide (dried),
     which was beaten upon with sticks, making about as much music as to
     beat upon the sole of an old shoe, while the drums, the voices of
     the women, and the rattling of pebbles in instruments of raw hide
     filled out the choir.

     After slowly advancing nearly to the central post, they retired
     backward, again advanced, a little farther than before; this was
     repeated several times, each time advancing a little farther, until
     they crowded upon the spectators, drew their revolvers, and
     discharged them into the air.

     Soon after, the women rushed forward with a shrieking yell, threw
     their blankets violently upon the ground, at the feet of the
     retiring dancers, snatched them up with the same tremulous shriek
     that had been before produced, and retired; which closed this part
     of the entertainment. The ornamented shields used on this occasion
     were afterwards hung up with the medicine.[28]

When a war party returned with a scalp, there was rejoicing and the
women came to take part in the scalp dance. Both sexes might either go
round in a circle for this performance or face each other in rows. A
scalp was divided into four parts, each of which was put on a stick and
carried by one of the women. The dance was danced every day for about a
month, then the scalps were stowed away in medicine bags.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] See Methvin.

[2] Battey, 185-186.

[3] Indian Sign Language, 355.

[4] Methvin, 165-168.

[5] Especially Mooney, (b), and in _Handbook_, article "Military
Societies."

[6] Of red color when ripe and salty taste.

[7] Methvin includes the girls also (p. 165), but according to Martinez
this is a mistake.

[8] Mooney, (b), 229-230.

[9] id., _Handbook_, I, p. 862.

[10] Battey, 169.

[11] Methvin, 70 et seq.

[12] Methvin, 163.

[13] Mr. Mooney, (b), pp. 230, 418, gives two synonymous native terms
for Rabbits, "polä´ñyup" and "tsäñyui," of which the former obviously
corresponds to my "fulā´nyu."

[14] For his two synonymous native designations "ädaltóyui"
(corresponding to my "altō´yuhe") and "téñbeyu'i," Mr. Mooney gives the
translation, "Young Mountain Sheep."

[15] Mr. Mooney translates "Horse Caps" (Headdresses); Martinez was
unable to give an accurate rendering, but gave me the idea of "Rulers of
Horses."

[16] Mr. Mooney translates "Black Legs."

[17] Mr. Mooney translates "Skunkberries," and gives another native name
rendered "Crazy Horses."

[18] _Handbook_, I, 862; Mooney, (b), 230.

[19] _ibid._, 409.

[20] According to Mr. Mooney there was only one leader.

[21] Mooney, (b), 285.

[22] I was told that similar rattles were also used by the medicinemen
at a sun dance.

[23] Battey, 168.

[24] Battey, op. cit., 166-184; Mooney, (b), 240-244; Scott, 345-379.

[25] Mooney, (b), 360.

[26] ibid., 358.

[27] This volume, 811, 820, 834.

[28] Battey, 170-172.





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