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Count Coup

Coup was counted to establish position in the tribal honor system. Status mattered, and competition to count the greatest coup was intense. The ultimate act of bravery was to count coup - meaning to get close enough to touch an enemy with a coup stick with out causing him harm.

Killing an enemy at long range counted no coup; winning by overwhelming numbers counted no coup. But the solitary warrior in a headlong battle charge climaxed by harmlessly touching an enemy scored a coup. Indians fashioned wooden sticks for just that purpose.


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