Comanche


Comanche
/keuh man"chee, koh-/, n., pl. Comanches, (esp. collectively) Comanche for 1.
1. a member of a Shoshonean tribe, the only tribe of the group living entirely on the Plains, formerly ranging from Wyoming to Texas, now in Oklahoma.
2. the dialect of Shoshone spoken by the Comanche.
[1800-10, Amer.; < AmerSp < Southern Paiute kimmanci-, as in kimmancinwt strangers, Shoshones; or < a related word in another Numic language]

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Nomadic North American Indian group of southwest Oklahoma, Texas, California, and New Mexico, U.S. The name Comanche is derived from a Ute word meaning "anyone who wants to fight me all the time"; the people call themselves Numunuh (meaning "The People").

Their language is of Uto-Aztecan stock. An offshoot of the Shoshone, they were organized into about 12 autonomous bands, local groups that lacked the lineages, clans, military societies, and tribal government of most other Plains Indians. They roamed the southern Great Plains in the 18th and 19th century. Their staple food was buffalo meat. Their highly skilled horsemen set the pattern of equestrian nomadism on the Plains. In 1864 Col. Kit Carson led U.S. forces in an unsuccessful campaign against them. Treaties were signed in 1865 and 1867, but the federal government failed to keep whites off the land promised to them, which led to violent conflicts. In later years Comanche Code-Talkers, like other Native American Code-Talkers, played a notable role during both world wars. Some 10,000 people claimed sole Comanche descent in the 2000 U.S. census.

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people
also called  Padouca 
 North American Indian tribe of equestrian nomads whose 18th- and 19th-century territory comprised the southern Great Plains. The name Comanche is derived from a Ute word meaning “anyone who wants to fight me all the time.”

      The Comanche had previously been part of the Wyoming Shoshone. They moved south in successive stages, attacking and displacing other tribes, notably the Apache, whom they drove from the southern Plains. By the early 1800s the Comanche were very powerful, with a population estimated at 7,000 to 10,000 individuals. Their language, of the Shoshonean branch of the Uto-Aztecan (Uto-Aztecan languages) linguistic stock, became a lingua franca for much of the area.

      Like most other tribes of Plains Indians (Plains Indian), the Comanche were organized into autonomous bands, local groups formed on the basis of kinship and other social relationships. Buffalo products formed the core of the Comanche economy and included robes, tepee covers, sinew thread, water carriers made of the animal's stomach, and a wide variety of other goods.

      The Comanche were one of the first tribes to acquire horses (horse) from the Spanish and one of the few to breed them to any extent. Highly skilled Comanche horsemen set the pattern of nomadic equestrian life that became characteristic of the Plains tribes in the 18th and 19th centuries. Comanche raids for material goods, horses, and captives carried them as far south as Durango in present-day Mexico.

      In the mid-19th century the Penateka, or southern branch of the Comanche, were settled on a reservation in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). The northern segment of the tribe, however, continued the struggle to protect their realm from settlers. In 1864 Col. Christopher (“Kit”) Carson (Carson, Kit) led U.S. forces in an unsuccessful campaign against the Comanche. In 1865 the Comanche and their allies the Kiowa signed a treaty with the United States, which granted them what is now western Oklahoma, from the Red River north to the Cimarron. Upon the failure of the United States to abide by the terms of the treaty, hostilities resumed until 1867, when, in agreements made at Medicine Lodge Creek in Kansas, the Comanche, Kiowa, and Kiowa Apache undertook to settle on a reservation in Oklahoma. The government was unable to keep squatters off the land promised to the tribes, and it was after this date that some of the most violent encounters between U.S. forces and the Comanche took place.

      Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 20,000 individuals of Comanche descent.

Additional Reading
T.R. Fehrenbach, Comanches: The Destruction of a People (1974, reissued 1986), details their history and way of life.

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Universalium. 2010.

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