Kwasinaboo Puha (Snake Medicine)

Juanita Pahdopony


This article is part historical narrative and part personal memoir. The author begins by explaining the Comanche tribal history of kwasinaboo puha (snake medicine). She then discusses the knowledge of kwasinaboo puha that is passed down to Comanche children through an intergenerational process that combines empirical knowledge of snake taxonomy with cultural knowledge of the kwasinaboo puha story. The author then turns to her own initiation into Comanche tribal life by listening to her grandfather’s oral performance of the kwasinaboo puha story. Finally, the author reveals her adult memories of crossing paths with snakes and how kwasinaboo puha presents itself in her poetry. As a result, this article provides readers with an insight into the empirical and metaphorical practices necessary for the continuance of Comanche communal identity and survival in the Lawton area of Oklahoma.


Comanche; kwasinaboo puha; snake medicine; knowledge; intergenerational storytelling; oral performance; poetry; Lawton, Oklahoma


Clay, Cynthia. Snake Medicine. Oil on Canvas. Pahdopony Collection. Lawton, OK. 2012.

“Pitoyah.” Taa Numu Tekwapu?ha Tuboopu: Our Comanche Dictionary. Comanche Language and Cultural Preservation Committee. Elgin, OK. 2010. Print.

“Comanche Seal.” The Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. n.p. 2011. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.

Pahdopony, Juanita. “Kwasinaboo Puha.” n.p. Lawton, OK. 2010.

Pahdopony, Oliver. “Kwasinaboo Story.” n.p. Lawton, OK. 19 June 1964.

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