Part 2: SelectionsDocumentCitations

“Killer-of-Enemies”

The Lipáns roamed the western plains of present-day Oklahoma and Texas until the second half of the 1800s, when American troops and waves of settlers arrived. Already wasted by 150 years of disease and warfare, the Lipáns could not withstand white efforts to take their lands. Some retreated to the Guadalupe Mountains, where they made contact with the southern branch of the Mescaleros.

Others moved south into Mexico, where the Mexican government virtually imprisoned them. At last a Catholic priest named Father Mignon brought them to New Mexico to join their relatives on the Mescalero Reservation. Though the Lipán were scattered, nearly annihilated, and largely assimilated into other tribes, their stories have been sustained by a strong oral tradition and live on. This is one of their stories.

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After Killer-of-Enemies left Big Owl’s place, he went out and fixed up other places too. Killer-of-Enemies also started to make rules for the human beings. He went out on a raid. His home was at the Guadalupe Mountains. From there he went out to the south. He went raiding for horses. He came back with many horses. He turned them out at the Guadalupe Mountains at a place they called “Blue Stem Grass Whitens.” There were many of them. At that place there are many black weeds and bushes. They cover the whole place. Those are the horses of Killer-of-Enemies, which have turned to these bushes.

Killer-of-Enemies is the one who started all the work that the people had to do, but only the work of the Indians. All the arrow-making, the raiding, the war, and the things that were done afterward were begun by Killer-of-Enemies then.

Killer-of-Enemies was the one who told them to take scalps. He was the one who taught the Apache. He is the one who had been killing the monsters. They knew the story. He always brought back something to show his mother, to prove what he had done. He scalped some of the monsters he killed.

Killer-of-Enemies did all that. He went out and gathered horses. He brought them back. Then he made ready to go after his enemy. He started off. Before he started be got all ready. He had a quiver full of arrows, a war club, a spear, and a shield. He met the enemy. He had a big fight with them.

When he had finished the raid and had a good many horses, he finished all the fighting. On the south side of the big bluff he left his hoop and pole. It is still there today, petrified. Also his spear and shield and bow and arrows and war club are still there on that bluff.

“Then Killer-of-Enemies started back to his home. He told his mother what he had done.”

Then Killer-of-Enemies started back to his home. He told his mother what he had done. He told her his work was finished. He told her, “The new generation of people is coming. They must do all that I have done. They must follow my way and my rules.”

Killer-of-Enemies was the one who started all the things that the Lipáns did later. That’s why the Lipáns went out raiding after horses and fought their enemies when they met them.

Now Killer-of-Enemies was ready to leave. He was going back with his mother to the place where they live. We don’t know just where it is.