todeskun (todeskun) wrote in little_details,

Fact checking Comanche mourning traditions

Setting: 1860-1870

Researched: Googled "Comanche death rites", "Comanche funeral rites", "Comanche traditional death rituals", re-read Herman Lehmann's first person narrative.

Situation/background: My (male) MC is a bounty hunter who brings in the dead body of a Comanche warrior with a bounty on his head. MC also happens to be a "white Indian" (who was adopted into a Comanche tribe at a young age and later rejoined white society; this is show canon for the character) and the bounty he brings in happens to be his adopted brother. Now I'd like for my MC to have shown his grief at killing his brother by cutting his arms/torso as was the custom among the Comanche people (from what I've been able to find, ritualistic cutting was a traditional sign of grief). However, except for a single reference in Wikipedia, it appears that this custom was only practiced by the dead man's female relatives, and was not practiced by the males of the tribe. I'm now suffering on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, I really don't want to incorrectly portray traditional customs, especially if having my MC cut himself in mourning would be taboo or somehow indicate that he considered himself female (especially since that would require researching transgender roles in Comanche society in the 1860s and that's a rabbit hole I'd prefer to not go down right now), but on the other hand until I tried to find a secondary support for Wikipedia's assertion I had planned on using this as a means of moving the story forward.

So I guess I have two questions:

1. Does anybody have a good primary source for Comanche funeral rites that would tell me one way or the other if only the women of the tribe would cut themselves as part of the mourning rites?

2. If my MC knows he's the only person who will know that this particular Comanche is dead (or knows that this particular warrior has no female relatives to mourn him), would it be acceptable for him to show his grief by ritualistic cutting (in addition to other mourning/funeral rites) even if that's something only the women do, or would he never even consider this course of action?
Tags: 1860-1869, usa: history (misc), ~funerals, ~native americans

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