Return to Bibliography
Comer, Douglas C. Ritual Ground: Bent's Old Fort, World Formation, and the Annexation of the Southwest. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
In Ritual Ground, Douglas Comer focuses on the use of Bent's Old Fort, a trading post constructed around 1831 along the northern edge of Spanish territory, as a middle ground where Anglo-Americans, New Mexicans and Plains Indians built a world together through ritualized transactions. He contends that construction of Bent's Fort was instrumental in tipping the balance of power in the southwestern plains toward the Americans, as it led to the infiltration of capitalistic values into the traditional New Mexican and Plains Indian cultures. Furthermore, the fort and its surrounding landscape ritually conveyed both the new social order and the legitimation of that order as embodied in the seemingly "naturalness" of the massive and imposing structure. [S. Trail]