Comanche People

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Comanche People

In the western part of Oklahoma, ranging south on the Plains, a courageous people, known as the Comanches, roamed. They were a nomadic people who lived in skin teepees, which were easily moved from place to place. They had strong friends among Indians, such as the Kiowas and Apaches, as well as many enemies. This is only a minute view into the Comanche tribe, however. Before learning about the tribe's history, one must learn first, who the Comanche people were, and then who they are now. Where did the name Comanche originate? What are characteristics of these people? How is the tribal system organized? These are questions that must be answered in order to learn more about the tribe. In order to fully comprehend their past, one must look to their background and then to their present history. So, put on your anthropological hat, and explore the lives of the Comanche.

It has been said that the origin of the name Comanche is a contradiction of the Spanish tern camion ancho, meaning literally, the broad trail. This term refers to the broad range traveled by the warriors of this tribe on their trading and war expeditions.

First applied to the tribe soon after 1700, the name Comanche is spelled mjany different ways, such as Camanche, Commanche, or Cumanche. The Comanche Indians call themselves Nerm, meaning, people of people.

The Comanche are from the Shoshonean linguistic family. This linguistic family developed in the Shoshoni and Snake River regions of Wyoming and Idaho. The linguistic stock is also said to have been of Nahuatl origin in Mexico and remotely related to the Aztec. They are the only division of the Shoshonean family who left their haunts in the Rock Mountains and established themselves on the Plains as one of the great tribes of the region.

They later became divided in as many as twelve different bands. The most prominent band in the history of Oklahoma are the Penateka, meaning honey eaters, and the Quahadi, meaning antelopes.

In Oklahoma, as early as 1869, the total population of Comanche was estimated at 2,538. During other periods the Comanche numbered 1,399 is 1880, 1,553 in 1898, 1,476 in 1910, 1,718 is 1924, and 2,700 is 1950. Texas, on the other hand, reported that in 1851, the Comanche population totaled 20,000.

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