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Ecueracapa's paternity of his sons was based on his sexual relationship with his wife. Humans use descent (or family, ancestral, or clan) names to facilitate. The Comanche language is in the Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan family in the Aztec-Tanoan . Comanches reckon descent bilaterally and do not recognize clans. Kin ties generally reach horizontally though two marriage relationships from ego. .. This provides a date for their movement onto the northwestern Plains. Pawnee Family. No date. Native American Children, Native American History, Native . Last great chief of the North American Comanche indian tribe Quanah.
Comanche Trails Across Texas into Mexico. The Comanches, exceptional horsemen who dominated the Southern Plains, played a prominent role in Texas frontier history throughout much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Anthropological evidence indicates that they were originally a mountain tribe, a branch of the Northern Shoshones, who roamed the Great Basin region of the western United States as crudely equipped hunters and gatherers.
Both cultural and linguistic similarities confirm the Comanches' Shoshone origins. The Comanche language is derived from the Uto-Aztecan linguistic family and is virtually identical to the language of the Northern Shoshones.
Sometime during the late seventeenth century, the Comanches acquired horses, and that acquisition drastically altered their culture. The life of the pedestrian tribe was revolutionized as they rapidly evolved into a mounted, well-equipped, and powerful people. Their new mobility allowed them to leave their mountain home and their Shoshone neighbors and move onto the plains of eastern Colorado and western Kansas, where game was plentiful.
Comanche Warriors on Mustangs.
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Courtesy of George Catlin. After their arrival on the Great Plains, the Comanches began a southern migration that was encouraged by a combination of factors. By moving south, they had greater access to the mustangs of the Southwest. The warm climate and abundant buffalo were additional incentives for the southern migration.
The move also facilitated the acquisition of French trade goods, including firearms, through barter with the Wichita Indians on the Red River. Pressure from more powerful and better-armed tribes to their north and east, principally the Blackfoot and Crow Indians, also encouraged their migration. Although the tribe came to be known historically as Comanches, they called themselves Nermernuh, or "the People. Courtesy of the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Comanches did not arrive on the South Plains as a unified body but rather in numerous family groups or bands.
An Ancestry of African-Native Americans
The band structure of Comanche society was not rigid, and bands coalesced and broke apart, depending on the needs and goals of their members. As many as thirteen different Comanche bands were identified during the historic period, and most probably there were others that were never identified. However, five major bands played important roles in recorded Comanche history.
The southernmost band was called Penateka, or "Honey Eaters. Because of their location, the Penatekas played the most prominent role in Texas history. These three divisions are sometimes referred to collectively as Middle Comanches. Still farther north was the range of the Kotsotekas, or "Buffalo-Eaters.
The northernmost band was known as the Yamparikas, or "Yap-Eaters," a name derived from that of an edible root.
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Their range extended north to the Arkansas River. The fifth major band, known as Quahadis "Antelopes"roamed the high plains of the Llano Estacado. Native American Uses of the Buffalo. Painting, Comanche Village by George Catlin.
The Comanches remained a nomadic people throughout their free existence. Buffalo, their lifeblood, provided food, clothing, and shelter. Their predominantly meat diet was supplemented with wild roots, fruits, and nuts, or with produce obtained by trade with neighboring agricultural tribes, principally the Wichita and Caddo groups to the east and the Pueblo tribes to the west. Because of their skills as traders, the Comanches controlled much of the commerce of the Southern Plains.
They bartered buffalo products, horses, and captives for manufactured items and foodstuffs. The familiar Plains-type tepee constructed of tanned buffalo hide stretched over sixteen to eighteen lodge poles provided portable shelter for the Comanches. Their clothing, made of bison hide or buckskin, consisted of breechclout, leggings, and moccasins for men, and fringed skirt, poncho-style blouse, leggings, and moccasins for women.
Buffalo robes provided protection from cold weather. But it was the horse that most clearly defined the Comanche way of life. It gave them mobility to follow the buffalo herds and the advantage of hunting and conducting warfare from horseback. Horses also became a measure of Comanche wealth and a valuable trade commodity. In horsemanship the Comanches had no equal. Children learned to ride at an early age, and both men and women developed exceptional equestrian skills.
Democratic principle was strongly implanted in Comanche political organization. Each tribal division had both civil or peace chiefs and war chiefs, but traditionally the head civil chief was most influential. Leaders gained their positions through special abilities or prowess, and retained their power only so long as they maintained the confidence of band members, who chose their leaders by common consent.
Tribal decisions were made by a council of chiefs presided over by the head civil chief, but individuals were not bound to accept council decisions. Comanche society permitted great individual freedom, and that autonomy greatly complicated relations with European cultures.
By the early eighteenth century, Comanche bands had migrated into what is now North Texas. In Spanish officials in New Mexico documented the presence of numerous Comanches on the northeastern frontier of that province. As the Comanches moved south, they came into conflict with tribes already living on the South Plains, particularly the Apaches, who had dominated the region before the arrival of the Comanches.
The Apaches were forced south by the Comanche onslaught and became their mortal enemies. The first documented evidence of Comanches in Texas occurred inwhen a small band, probably a scouting party, appeared at the Spanish settlement of San Antonio seeking their enemies, the Lipan Apaches. No hostilities occurred, but it was obvious that the Comanches believed that the Spanish and Apaches were allies.
However, fifteen years passed before the Spanish learned the true strength of Comanche presence in Texas. In a force of some 2, Comanches and allied tribes attacked a Spanish mission built for the Apaches on the San Saba River near present Menard. A year later, a Spanish punitive expedition led by Col. Marriage to Peta Nocona[ edit ] Main article: Peta Nocona Cynthia was soon integrated into the tribe.
She was adopted by a Tenowish Comanche couple, who raised her as their own daughter. She forgot her original ways and became Comanche in every sense.
She married Peta Nocona, a chieftain. They enjoyed a happy marriage, and as a tribute to his great affection to her, he never took another wife, although it was traditional for chieftains to have several wives. Return to white relatives[ edit ] Texas historical marker in Crowell, Texas In Decemberafter years of searching at the behest of Cynthia's father and various scouts, Texas Rangers led by Lawrence Sullivan Ross discovered a band of Comanche, deep in the heart of Comancheriathat was rumored to hold American captives.
In a surprise raid, the small band of Rangers attacked a group of Comanches in the Battle of Pease River. After limited fighting, the Comanches realized they were losing and attempted to flee.
Ranger Ross and several of his men pursued the man whom they had seen giving orders. The chief was fleeing alongside a woman rider. As Ross and his men neared, she held a child over her head. The men did not shoot, but instead surrounded and stopped her. Ross continued to follow the chief, eventually shooting him three times. Although he fell off his horse, he was still alive and refused to surrender. Ross's cook, Antonio Martinez, who had been taken captive and tortured in Mexico, as was the Comanche tradition, after Nocona killed his family, identified him as Nocona.
With Ross's permission, Martinez killed Nocona. When Ross arrived back at the campground, he discovered that she had blue eyes. He assured her that no young boys had been killed in the battle, so her sons, Quanah and Pecos, were safe. Tipis are easily collapsed and can be raised in only minutes, making it an optimal structure for a nomadic people like the Kiowa and other great plains Indian nations.
The poles of the tipi were used to construct a travois during times of travel. Hide paintings often adorn the outside and inside of the tipis, with special meanings attached to certain designs.
Ledger drawing of Kiowas engaging in horse mounted warfare with traditional enemy forces. Before the introduction of the horse to North America, the Kiowa and other plains peoples used domestic dogs to carry and pull their belongings. Tipis and belongings as well as small children were carried with the use of travoisa frame structure utilizing the tipi poles and pulled by dogs and later horses.
The introduction of the horse to Kiowa society revolutionized their way of life. Horses were acquired by raiding rancheros south of the Rio Grande into Mexico as well as from raiding other Indian peoples who already had horses such as the Navajo and the various Pueblo people. The horse allowed them to pull larger loads, hunt more game, hunt game easier, and travel longer and farther.
The horse also transformed the Kiowa into powerful and skilled mounted warriors who performed long distance raids on their enemies. The Kiowa were considered among the finest horsemen in history along with other plains Indians such as the Comanche and Cheyenne. Horses became a vital part of the Kiowa economy and a man's wealth was measured primarily by size of his horse herd with particularly wealthy individuals having herds numbering in the hundreds. Horses became a much targeted object during raids, capturing and stealing horses from enemies was considered a great honor to Kiowa warriors and often served as a rite of passage for young warriors.
Horses were adorned with body paint from the medicine man for ritual and spiritual purposes such as good fortune and protection during battle. Kiowa horses were often decorated with beaded masks sometimes with bison horns attached to the sides and feathers in their manes. In addition to horses, mules and donkeys were also used as means of transportation and wealth however they were not as esteemed.
Socio-political organization[ edit ] The Kiowas had a well structured tribal government like most tribes on the Northern Plains. They had a yearly Sun Dance gathering and an elected head-chief who was considered to be a symbolic leader of the entire nation. There were warrior societies and religious societies that made up the Kiowa society. Kiowa government was democratic with the election of chiefs based on bravery and courage in battle as well as intelligence, generosity, experience, communication skills, and kindness to others.
The ideal personality of the Kiowas was that of the young fearless warrior. The entire tribe was structured around this individual. The warrior was the ideal to which young men aspired. Because of these factors, the Kiowa was of utmost importance in the history of the Southern Plains.
Kiowa women tanned, skin-sewed, quilled, painted geometric designs on parfleche and later beaded hides. They gathered and prepared food for winter months and participated in events. The Kiowa had two political subdivisions particularly with regard to their relationship with the Comanche: As the pressure on Kiowa lands increased in the s the regional divisions changed and a new regional grouping emerged: This band was particularly wealthy in horses, tipis and other goods.
The Kogui were responsible for conducting the war ceremonies during the Sun Dance.