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First the women skinned the bison; this had to be done before the animal’s body cooled, as skinning a newly dead animal was much easier than skinning one that had been killed several hours previously. The tools for skinning and preparing the bison were simple and few. The main tool was a scraper, which was flat and made of stone. It was smooth, so a woman could use her hands to scrape the hide from the flesh without tearing her own skin. Tools made of bone were also used to abrade the hide to make it easier to tan.

One major lesson taught to young girls regarded the butchering and preparing of buffalo. Their lesson began at the time of the kill, right after the buffalo hunt. First the women skinned the bison; this had to be done before the animal’s body cooled, as skinning a newly dead animal was much easier than skinning one that had been killed several hours previously. The tools for skinning and preparing the bison were simple and few. The main tool was a scraper, which was flat and made of stone. It was smooth, so a woman could use her hands to scrape the hide from the flesh without tearing her own skin.

After moving to a new location, she had her tipi reerected and ready to refurbish in about the same amount of time. Before being forced to take up reservation life and its radically different lifestyle, many children—boys and girls—were sometimes taken from their Native tribes by raiders. The Comanche warriors were adept at sneaking up on an enemy camp or a settlers’ outpost and quietly spiriting away horses, women, and children. Sometimes these captives were traded back to the original tribe in exchange for goods such as weapons or horses; other times, though, the captives embraced the new life of the camp and became one of the Comanche.

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