Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2004


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 14, No. 1, 2004. Copyright © 2004 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Telling Stories the Kiowa Way is an enlightening and enjoyable book composed in the easygoing, down-to-earth "voice" of Gus Palmer Jr., an enrolled member of the Kiowa tribe. Written from an insider's perspective, Telling Stories relates how oral traditions are maintained in daily conversations throughout the Kiowa community in southwestern Oklahoma. In the opening pages, readers are immediately immersed in Kiowa culture as Palmer visits with his mother in her kitchen while she stirs a pot of boiling meat. Then he delineates the Kiowa storytelling environment among Kiowas who are related to one another "in one way or another." Since the objective of his research is to engage in "collaborative ethnography" with his friends and relatives, Palmer relates the importance of gift giving and showing respect to his elderly consultants. Supported by his parents, he has successfully worked with several Kiowa elders, including the late Oscar Tsoodle and John Tofpi.