Coup feathers are a very important component of my July 2015 release, Running Wolf. These decorative feathers carried great meaning to the wearer and all who saw him. These feathers were worn tied in the hair, affixed to shields, lances and horse’s manes. When enough feathers were collected, they might be sewn into a war bonnet, sometimes with a now iconic train of feathers. Most feathers were from an eagle, though hawk and gull feathers might also be worn.
The actual meaning was derived by how they were worn, how they were cut and how they were marked. The meaning of these variances varied from tribe to tribe, so the following list is a general accounting as recorded in the book, The Mystic Warriors of the Plains by Thomas E. Mails, 1972.
First Coup Feather – is worn straight up (Omaha)
Second Coup Feather – is worn horizontally to the side (Omaha)
Third Coup Feather – is worn upright and marked with two red bars (Sioux)
Fourth Coup Feather – is worn upright and feather has a serrated edge (Sioux)
Fifth Coup Feather – is worn upright and the sides of the feather are removed leaving only the tip intact
Wounding a Man – Feather is dyed red
Wounding a Warrior who had killed an enemy – feather decorated with bands of quillwork
Split Feather – Indicates the warrior sustained many wounds
Black Feather torn down the middle – given to successful scouts
Diagonally Cut Feather – indicated a warrior either cut the enemies throat or took his scalp.
For more on Coup Feathers, visit by STORY BEHIND THE STORY page at www.jennakernan.com
This is a super day because I just got my hands on the cover for my July Historical release, RUNNING WOLF. I love this cover for two reasons. First, and most importantly, the characters look Native American, which is great, because they are Native American! He’s Sioux and she is Crow. Second, it’s a clinch cover, which is so great. I love them. Please notice the coup feathers in his hair and the wonderful beaded breast plate which I described to the art department and which they delivered beautifully.
Here is the back cover information and a link for pre orders. I’ll have advanced reading copies soon and will be running giveaways on GoodReads, here on my website and in my newsletter.
by Jenna Kernan
Running Wolf is a valiant Sioux warrior. During his first raid as war chief, he captures a surprising Crow enemy–a woman! This spirited fighter is unlink any he’s ever met. Her beauty and audacity are entrancing, but threaten his iron resolve…
Snow Raven must focus on freeing herself, not on the man who keeps her captive. But as she falls deeper under Running Wolf’s spell, she realizes he is her warrior–and she’ll risk everything for him!
“Fans of Karen Kay and Cassie Edwards will savor Kernan’s Indian romances.” __RT Book Review on His Dakota Captive
July 15, 2015