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In this unprecedented effort to gather and share knowledge of the Native American practice of creating, designating, and making use of marker trees, an arborist, an anthropologist, and a Comanche tribal officer have merged their wisdom, research, and years of personal experience to create Comanche Marker Trees of Texas.
A genuine marker tree is a rare find – only six of these natural and cultural treasures have been officially documented in Texas and recognized by the Comanche Nation. The latter third of Comanche Marker Trees of Texas highlights the characteristics of these six marker trees and gives an up-to-date history of each, displaying beautiful photographs of these long-standing, misshapen, controversial symbols that have withstood the tests of time and human activity.
Thoroughly researched and richly illustrated with maps, drawings, and photographs of trees, Comanche Marker Trees of Texas offers a close look at the unique cultural significance of these living witnesses to our history and provides detailed guidelines on how to recognize, research, and report potential marker tree candidates.
Steve Houser owns Arborilogical Services, Inc. in Dallas. Linda Pelon is professor of anthropology at McLennan Community College in Waco. Jimmy W. Arterberry is Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Comanche Nation.
"There are times and places on the southern Plains where a tree offers a welcome respite from the sun or serves as a beacon to water, food, or a place of significance. The authors of this book write of the importance of such trees to Native American people, past and present, but focus on Comanche uses of marker trees. While noting that not all bent or misshapen trees are marker trees, they point out the ways that trees were purposefully modified by the Comanche to serve as markers. After reading this book, I will not look at sentinels in the forest in the same way ever again."
– Joe Watkins, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, University of Maryland
"In documenting the historical roots of Comanche marker trees in Texas, this book aptly illustrates the potential of finding common ground between often estranged humanistic and scientific sources of knowledge about the past, present, and future. Family, tribal, arborist, and anthropological perspectives collectively attest to multicultural roles of stewardship and respect for ancient trees in preserving significant aspects of cultural heritage through the centuries and beyond."
– Alston V. Thoms, professor of anthropology at Texas A&M University
"Steve Houser's enthusiasm for Comanche Marker Trees spreads like birds through the forest in this new book. I have never known a person more totally in love with trees. Steve and his partners have been working on this much-needed project for years. Reading this book will convince you to become a part of the Houser Tree Team!"
– Neil Sperry, horticulturist