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Old 09-06-2012, 10:17 AM   #1
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comanche waist shawl

I would like some info on how to make a comanche waist shawl for a man.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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i hope youre not just planning to strap one on
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:50 PM   #3
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This has been covered a few times, like in this thread: "Black shawl wraps" http://www.powwows.com/gathering/showthread.php?t=11708

My response in that thread has been quoted by a couple of other folks when responding to your same question, so I'll just paste my response below:
-----------------------------------

Don't wear one if you don't have permission to do so.

Basically, I've only seen Kiowas wear them if they were members of TonKonGat - the Black Legs/Leggins Society. This is a highly respected veterans society and their symbols - the waist shawl, Ghoulayee's red cape, the bonnets, the Tipi with Battle Paintings - are guarded and cared for very deeply.

For Comanche folks, that waist shawl is called a Pitskwinawi (closest I could get to the Comanche pronunciation!). From what I've been told by Comanche folks, these were origianlly a society emblem of the Tuuwii or Black Knife society, which has been revived in the past couple of decades, primarily under the Sovo family's leadership. In a battle long ago, these warriors went up against Mexican soldiers protecting a town. They took the dark steel swords of the soldiers, and the black shawls of the women, and used them as society emblems. The name Tuuwii refers to these swords, but also has multiple other meanings, especially in reference to the beaks of ravens - a patron animal of the society's warriors - and to the wings of the red-wing blackbird - which look like blood-stained black knives. The Battle Dresses worn by the female assistants in the Tuuwii are black w/ red sleeves and gussetts and also make reference to the red-winged black bird (Kiowa Battle Dresses are dark blue and red). In that battle where these Comanche warriors claimed these trophies, their Kiowa allies, including Ghoulayee, also got black shawls and Ghoulayee ripped the red cape from an officers neck while pushing his face away with his bloodied bare hand. Therefore, people will ask if you have the right to wear one.

However, and this is where this issue becomes tricky, the pitskwinawi has become a kind of symbol of "Comancheness" and is worn by many Comanches who aren't in Tuuwii. Some Comanche families who have dressed other NDNs and even some non-NDNs in Comanche clothes have given those people permission to wear the shawl. Jerry Harjo and Justin Yerby are two Straight Dancers who come to mind in this regard - both are NDNs, but from southeastern tribes - but both have been given permission to wear that shawl by particular Comanche families.

Interestingly, a handful of Ponca folks who I've talked to, especially those involved with Helushka, tend to view that shawl as an emblem of the Comanch War Dance Society. In theory, that's not the case, but in practice, there's a lot of overlap as men can be in more than one society if they can manage all those responsibilities. The current head man for the Comanche War Dance Society has served as the camp crier for the Tuuwii, so the origin of this confusion is understandable.

As for children wearing those shawls - I've seen it before, but wearing one is a responsibility, and one that many kids - or adults for that matter - don't understand.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Str8Dancer49 View Post
This has been covered a few times, like in this thread: "Black shawl wraps" http://www.powwows.com/gathering/showthread.php?t=11708

My response in that thread has been quoted by a couple of other folks when responding to your same question, so I'll just paste my response below:
-----------------------------------

Don't wear one if you don't have permission to do so.

Basically, I've only seen Kiowas wear them if they were members of TonKonGat - the Black Legs/Leggins Society. This is a highly respected veterans society and their symbols - the waist shawl, Ghoulayee's red cape, the bonnets, the Tipi with Battle Paintings - are guarded and cared for very deeply.

For Comanche folks, that waist shawl is called a Pitskwinawi (closest I could get to the Comanche pronunciation!). From what I've been told by Comanche folks, these were origianlly a society emblem of the Tuuwii or Black Knife society, which has been revived in the past couple of decades, primarily under the Sovo family's leadership. In a battle long ago, these warriors went up against Mexican soldiers protecting a town. They took the dark steel swords of the soldiers, and the black shawls of the women, and used them as society emblems. The name Tuuwii refers to these swords, but also has multiple other meanings, especially in reference to the beaks of ravens - a patron animal of the society's warriors - and to the wings of the red-wing blackbird - which look like blood-stained black knives. The Battle Dresses worn by the female assistants in the Tuuwii are black w/ red sleeves and gussetts and also make reference to the red-winged black bird (Kiowa Battle Dresses are dark blue and red). In that battle where these Comanche warriors claimed these trophies, their Kiowa allies, including Ghoulayee, also got black shawls and Ghoulayee ripped the red cape from an officers neck while pushing his face away with his bloodied bare hand. Therefore, people will ask if you have the right to wear one.

However, and this is where this issue becomes tricky, the pitskwinawi has become a kind of symbol of "Comancheness" and is worn by many Comanches who aren't in Tuuwii. Some Comanche families who have dressed other NDNs and even some non-NDNs in Comanche clothes have given those people permission to wear the shawl. Jerry Harjo and Justin Yerby are two Straight Dancers who come to mind in this regard - both are NDNs, but from southeastern tribes - but both have been given permission to wear that shawl by particular Comanche families.

Interestingly, a handful of Ponca folks who I've talked to, especially those involved with Helushka, tend to view that shawl as an emblem of the Comanch War Dance Society. In theory, that's not the case, but in practice, there's a lot of overlap as men can be in more than one society if they can manage all those responsibilities. The current head man for the Comanche War Dance Society has served as the camp crier for the Tuuwii, so the origin of this confusion is understandable.

As for children wearing those shawls - I've seen it before, but wearing one is a responsibility, and one that many kids - or adults for that matter - don't understand.
Anyone interested in this topic should click on the link to the thread that Str8Dancer49 posted. There are 3 pages of interesting comments. However, one must keep in mind that the comments are directed towards the topic of a 'Black' Shawl wrapped around the waist by certain Comanche men or worn by certain Kiowa men. However, I was told by a Comanche elder in the late 1970s that many Comanche men in the early 1900s used to wear Shawls wrapped around their waist, in dark colors such as Forest Green or Dark Maroon, and those colored shawls in his description, were just a Comanche man's way of being dressed well. It was only the 'Black' Shawl wrapped around the man's waist that had certain rights associated with it. I'd be interested if anyone else has heard of traditions relating to men's Waist Shawls in other dark solid colors besides Black.
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