It was Kiowa Land
Back in the car after our inspection of the Babbs Switch memorial site, my family would have continued on our drive south from Sentinel on Highway 183. Looking east over the vast expanse of flat prairie and farm lands, our eyes would have been drawn to the low rise from the earth's surface of Rainy Mountain. With an elevation of just 1,540 feet it is hardly a "mountain" as compared to those in other regions of the western U.S., but it is, nevertheless, a distinct landform for this area of southwestern Oklahoma.
Rainy Mountain has been significant in the lives of many Native Americans, particularly recent generations of the Kiowa nation. According to redriverhistorian.com, "Rainy Mountain is a powerful symbol to the Kiowa. It symbolizes their sacred homeland, their final destination." Kiowa ancestors migrated from their original home in western Montana to adopt a plains existence of hunting bison on horseback in the Dakota territory. They later moved south to the central plains of the Kansas area. Wars and treaties eventually relocated them to reservation lands near Rainy Mountain in Oklahoma Territory. M. Scott Momaday, a Kiowa, has brought awareness of the mountain's significance to the rest of us in his much praised poetic book about the Kiowas, The Way to Rainy Mountain.
Writing about his trek to the top of Rainy Mountain, Tom Isern wrote :