The primary purpose of Karankawas.com is threefold: (1) to be an accurate and authoritative source of information on the Karankawas; (2) to provide an outlet where I can write about interesting topics relating to the Karankawas that do not quite fit into my thesis; (3) a location to host my thesis on historical overcorrection and the Karankawas anthropophagy.
ABOUT TIM SEITER
Howdy, I am Tim Seiter, a History student at the University of Houston currently in the process of wooing graduate programs. My research interests are that of borderlands, colonialism, Native American Studies, and the North American West. My honors thesis on Karankawa Indian cannibalism incorporates all of these fields and highlights the significance of viewing History through a multi-faceted lens. On the surface level, the Karankawas anthropophagy appears to be another piece of conquest-driven propaganda. The abundance of grisly accounts made by Spanish priests and bellicose Texans certainly reinforces that notion. But books like William Arens’s The Man Eating Myth, which denies “the actual existence of [cannibalism] as an accepted practice for any time or place,” have turned rightful skeptics into overzealous cynics who discount all reports of cannibalism, despite their validity.
In my thesis, I definitively show that the Karankawas practiced a rare, ritualistic, post-mortem, and community-oriented cannibalism that colonizers embellished and used as a mechanism to destroy the Karankawas as a People. Although some historians believe the label of “cannibal” to be too tainted by colonial myth to hold any semblance of truth, to outright deny or overlook this cultural facet of not just the Karankawas, but of many Texas Native American groups, washes away history and agency. Treating First People as humans means that historians must recognize that Indians, like Europeans, had cultural practices that are today considered stomach-churning. For more about my thesis, check out my prospectus.
After sufficiently clanking on the computer, I go about clanking on rock. My sights are set on multi-pitching Enchanted Rock, a nasty, Elvis-leg inducing slab jutting out of the Texas Hill Country. Another hobby of mine is kayaking. Recently three friends and I kayaked from Port O’Connor to Matagorda Island to take pictures of the Karankawas’ environment and the location of La Salle’s Grand Camp. Check out Excursion Five on the Photography page for more about the adventure. When I am not kayaking, rock climbing, reading, writing, or working on my thesis, I’m probably enjoying a film. Some of my favorite movies include Barry Lyndon, In Bruges, and Fargo — reflecting on the list, I suppose I am a fan of dark comedies.
I’d love to hear from you about any questions about the Karankawas or if you can help in my research. Please drop a line below.