Stories from Saddle Mountain


Stories from Saddle Mountain

Autobiographies of a Kiowa Family

Henrietta Tongkeamha and Raymond Tongkeamha
Edited by Benjamin R. Kracht
With Lisa LaBrada

American Indian Lives Series

222 pages
9 photographs, 1 map, index


November 2021


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2021


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2021


$40.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

2023 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Stories from Saddle Mountain recounts family stories that connected the Tongkeamhas, a Kiowa family, to the Saddle Mountain community for more than a century. Henrietta Apayyat (1912–93) grew up and married near Saddle Mountain, where she and her husband raised five sons and five daughters. She began penning her memoirs in 1968, including accounts about a Peyote meeting, revivals and Christmas encampments at Saddle Mountain Church, subsistence activities, and attending boarding schools and public schools.

When not in school, Henrietta spent much of her childhood and adolescence close to home, working and occasionally traveling to neighboring towns with her grandparents, whereas her son Raymond Tongkeamha left frequently and wandered farther. Both experienced the transformation from having no indoor plumbing or electricity to having radios, televisions, and JCPenney. Together, their autobiographies illuminate dynamic changes and steadfast traditions in twentieth-century Kiowa life in the Saddle Mountain countryside.

Author Bio

Henrietta Tongkeamha (1912–93) lived and documented her experiences raising a family in southwestern Oklahoma. Raymond Tongkeamha left home in the 1960s and encountered the world beyond southwestern Oklahoma through military service and jobs in Oklahoma City, Dallas, and elsewhere before returning to the homestead. Benjamin R. Kracht is a professor of anthropology at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He is the author of Religious Revitalization among the Kiowas: The Ghost Dance, Peyote, and Christianity (Nebraska, 2018), among other books.


"These stories present strong people resolved to maintain their connections to one another, their community, and the land that shaped them."—M. F. McClure, Choice

“Taking the reader to the heart of Kiowa country in southwestern Oklahoma, Benjamin Kracht shares the life stories of a Kiowa mother and her son with sensitivity, grace, and great respect for the old ways. These intergenerational stories recall the warmth of a grandmother’s kitchen, beadwork, boarding school days, hunting, fishing, and baseball.”—Patricia Loughlin, author of Hidden Treasures of the American West

“Benjamin Kracht delivers a duo of rich memoirs written by mother and son Henrietta Apayyat and Raymond Tongkeamha. Placed together with Kracht’s own notes and historic contextualization, the memoirs provide resonant details about Kiowa culture and history that shine through recollections about place, kinship, friendship, hardship, and fun. The memoirs also reveal much about education, medicine, religion, technological change, and ethnic interactions in twentieth-century Kiowa country. Kracht clearly has a genuine respect and love for the Tongkeamhas, a family who has shared much with him and, in return, whose voices he has diligently worked to share.”—J. Justin Castro, author of Radio in Revolution: Wireless Technology and State Power in Mexico, 1897–1938

“Editor Benjamin R. Kracht provides a rich resource for anyone interested in Kiowa or, more generally, Southern Plains American Indian culture and history. Through the stories of Henrietta Tongkeamha and Raymond Tongkeamha, and with help from Lisa LaBrada, this personal, community-based history delivers as an important primary source and a superb addition not only to the scholarly record but also to Native American oral histories.”—David C. Posthumus, author of All My Relatives: Exploring Lakota Ontology, Belief, and Ritual

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Henrietta Tongkeamha’s Memoirs
“This Is the Story of My Life”
2. Raymond Tongkeamha’s Memoirs
May 2018 Narrative
June 2019 Narrative
November 2019 Narrative
December 2019 Narrative



2023 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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