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In the mythology of most native North American tribes, the meaning of life is to be understood in the acts of life. In the hunting cultures these included war acts, the counting of coup, the capture of horses, and hunting the primary game animal, as well as sacrifices to the animal deities and other nature powers. The greatness of a warrior was measured in the number and power of his enemies. In going forth to capture an enemy’s horses, count coup and conquer him in hand to hand combat was a measure of personal courage and an enactment of the myth.

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