In his book Empire of the Summer Moon, S. C. Gwynne describes the Comanche’s world on the Great Plains.  They were a no-name tribe until the arrival of the horse.  For some reason, the horse and the Comanche clicked and they became a very powerful military force.  In fact, the US military of that time considered them to be one of the finest light cavalry forces in the world.  They controlled an area, and the other Indian tribes in that area, from Kansas to Texas and west into Colorado and New Mexico.

The Comanche’s obtained their wealth and influence through raids on other Indian tribes and then on the white men who entered their area.  The treatment of the people they captured varied greatly from adopting them into the tribe to torture, gang rape, and killing.  Their actions were shaped by their view of the world.  They had no unified religion and no belief in one God.  Life had no meaning because life was just a set of isolated episodes; there was no ultimate good because life was just a set of actions and their consequences. [1]

The Comanche were not savages, at least not any more than the rest of humanity.  Within their family there was a deep and abiding affection. [3]  As mentioned above, some of their captives were treated like family.  They were also free in a sense that we in this “modern” society long for but cannot obtain.  They had no official chief.  If someone wanted to mount a raid, they had to convince enough warriors to go; there was no majority vote that determined if the entire tribe went on the raid.  There was no one to tell them what to do—no God, no religion, no religious leader, no tribal government.

The Comanche existed for hundreds of years on the Great Plains.  Their belief system and the actions that followed from that system, like ours, had its good points but its problems as well.  What we know for certain is that they knew nothing of Jesus and his death for our sins.  If Jesus is the only way to salvation, why did not God send someone to tell the Comanche of Jesus?  God let the Comanche remain in their beliefs and made no effort to change them.  Why?


[1]   S. C. Gwynee, Empire of the Summer Moon, New York:  Scribner, Kindle edition, p. 45

[2]   Ibid., p. 51.

[3]   Ibid., p. 107.

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