Comanche Indian IntroductionThe Comanche Indians are a group of Native American Indians who call themselves Numinu, meaning "the people". They originally lived in the Great Plains region and it is a little known fact but, they were actually considered to be a branch of the Northern Shoshone Indian tribe. After 1700, they ended up splitting from the Shoshone and migrating to the Southern Plains, which included Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. They ended up forming about twelve separate groups of Comanche during this period. The below information explains why these Indians migrated, what their lifestyle was like, how their way of life changed with the introduction of horses, and where they live today.
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Comanche Indian General Facts
- Comanche language remains very similar to that of the Northern Shoshone and although it has several dialects, it is understood by most neighboring Indian tribes.
- Like other Plains Indians, buffalo was of the utmost importance to the Comanche. They lived a nomadic lifestyle in constant search of buffalo which provided them with food, shelter, and clothing.
- Aside from buffalo and other meat, their diet consisted of fruits, nuts and wild root vegetables.
- They lived in buffalo hide tipis (teepees). These structures were supported by up to eighteen wooden poles and could be taken down and reassembled easily and quickly.
- There were several factors that influenced the Comanche to move south. A big motivation was that the buffalo were more abundant in the south. The weather was also warmer and it brought them closer to tribes like the Wichita. They were able to barter with them for guns and other goods to trade with the French.
- The Comanche started off as hunters and gatherers, living off the land and following seasonal prey, until horses were introduced to them in the late seventeenth century. This was a turning point for the Comanche Indians and they quickly became known for their horsemanship. Even children became skilled equestrians at an early age. Horses greatly improved their ability to hunt and to fight.
- The tribe was organized in a democratic structure. A head council, comprised of some of the leaders of the tribe, was responsible for all tribal decisions, including when to engage in war and when to hunt. This group of chiefs and leaders took the place of having one main leader.
- Men were the hunters and fighters while women tended to the daily household chores like cooking and childcare.
Comanche Indian Significant Events
- The Treaty of Medicine Lodge was an agreement that the Comanches signed in 1867 along with other tribes. It pushed the Indians onto reservations where the United States promised the tribes protection from white settlers who were increasingly expanding into their territory.
- The Comanche Indians took part in the Battle of Adobe Walls, which was a two-part battle against the U.S. Army initially and bison hunters in the second half. It was one of the largest battles to be fought in the Great Plains and the Indians were faced with defeat.
- The Jerome Agreement paid out the Comanche, Apache, and Kiowa Indians for their land in a sum that was half of their asking price, resulting in very hard feelings on the side of the Indians.