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NSU professor publishes second book on Kiowas

Benjamin R. Kracht. Religious Revitalization Among the Kiowas. The Ghost Dance, Peyote, and Christianity

(Tahlequah, Oklahoma) - Northeastern State University Professor of Anthropology Dr. Benjamin Kracht has released his second book, “Religious Revitalization Among the Kiowas: The Ghost Dance, Peyote and Christianity.”

A reception and signing for the book is slated for 3 p.m., April 23 on the second floor of the John Vaughan Library on NSU’s Tahlequah Campus. Books will be discounted 25 percent during the event. 

“Religious Revitalization among the Kiowas” examines how indigenous Kiowa beliefs were combined with new religions that came to the Kiowas toward the end of the 19th century, as well as how Natives and non-Natives reacted to the new religions.

“Many people don't realize that between 1883 and 1933, the federal government outlawed Native religions, and enabled Indian agents and BIA personnel to punish those who participated in dances and ceremonies, including the Sun Dance, Ghost Dance and even War Dancing, which can be observed at today's powwows,” Kracht said. “My book shows the resilience of Kiowa peoples who continued to reinvent traditions during this dark period of cultural genocide.”

Kracht’s inspiration for this book first came during interviews with Kiowa elders during 1987. He was a doctoral student at Southern Methodist University, collecting ethnographic data for his dissertation on Kiowa religion, and several elders mentioned their ancestor’s involvement in the Ghost Dance.

“My interest was piqued when an elder played a Ghost Dance song recorded on an old reel-to-reel tape recorder,” he said. “The song was so eerie it sent a shiver up my spine. Later that summer, during a fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution's National Anthropological Archives, I came across field notes from 1935 in which elders related first hand accounts of the Ghost Dance.”

Kracht is also the author of “Kiowa Belief and Ritual.” He said “Religious Revitalization Among the Kiowas” picks up where his first book ends. 

Both of Kracht’s books are available through the University of Nebraska Press. For more information, contact Kracht at kracht@nsuok.edu.

Published: 4/18/2018 4:20:56 PM

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