Comanche Tribe

Comanche Native American Indian Tribe

Comanche Native American Indian Tribe

This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Comanche Native American Indian Tribe of the Great Plains.

The Comanche Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Comanche tribe were a formidable people located in the southern areas of the Great Plains. The Comanche tribe were renown as excellent horsemen. They fiercely fought against enemy tribes of Native Indians and resisted the white encroachment of the Great Plains. The names of the most famous chiefs of the Comanche tribe included Chief El Sordo, Chief Buffalo Hump, Quanah Parker and Chief White Eagle.

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Facts about the Comanche Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Comanche Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Comanche tribe live, what clothes did they wear, what did they eat and who were the names of their most famous leaders? Discover what happened to the Comanche tribe with facts about their wars and history.

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Comanche tribe?
The Comanche were a Uto-Aztecan tribe who moved into Texas from the north in the 1700's and displaced Lipan Apaches. A warlike tribe, akin to the Shoshone, they were involved in conflicts with neighboring tribes, the Spanish, the Mexicans and the Americans. They were, however, closely allied with Kiowa tribe and later with southern bands of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. Scalps of their enemies were taken as trophies.  Battlefield atrocities and torture were used to intimidate and humiliate enemies. Their name for themselves was 'Nermurnuh' meaning the "true humans." They were great hunters and with the acquisition of the horse adopted the nomadic lifestyle, living in tepees, on the Great Plains.

The Great Horsemen
They were accomplished horsemen and possessed by far the greatest herds. Mustangs were captured and broken, using a variety of ingenious methods. By the 1800's the Comanche tribe were major distributors of horses other tribes and settlers. Their horses, like the Comanche warriors was often decorated with war paint. Following a battle, a triumphant Comanche warrior would apply paint to his horse so that the tribe could see at a glance the outcome of the battle from a distance. When a Comanche died his ponies were also killed at his death. His favorite horse, decked out in all his regalia, was killed at the grave, so that warrior could go to the afterlife properly mounted.

The Comanche Bands
The Comanche Confederacy consisted of five major bands:

  • Yamparika meaning "Root] Eaters"

  • Kotsoteka meaning Buffalo Eaters"

  • Penateka meaning Honey Eaters"

  • Nokoni meaning "Those Who Turn Back

  • Quahadis meaning "Antelopes


Where did the Comanche tribe live?
The Comanche are people of the Great Plains Native American cultural group. The location of their tribal homelands are shown on the map.  The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Comanche tribe.

  • The American Great Plains region mainly extended across states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota

  • Tribal Territories: Southwest Oklahoma, Texas, California, and New Mexico

  • Land: Grass covered prairies with some streams and rivers

  • Climate: Hot summers and cold winters

  • Animals: The  animals included the Bison (Buffalo), deer, cougars, elk, bear, beaver, porcupine, antelope, prairie dogs, eagles and wolves

Map showing Native American Indians Cultural Groups

Map showing location of the
Great Plains Native American Cultural Group


comanche warrior

Clothes worn by Comanche men
The clothes worn by the Comanche men consisted of breechcloths, fringed buckskin tunics or shirts and leggings. Warm buffalo robes or cloaks were also worn to protect against the rain and the cold. The Comanche warrior also wore beaded, feathered war bonnets decorated with eagle feathers, and beadwork as a symbol of courage and accomplishment. Their traditional headdresses were caps with straight-up eagle feathers and ermine tails trailing behind them. The men wore their hair in two long braids.

Comanche Clothing
The women of the Comanche tribe were responsible for making the articles of clothing worn by the people. Most items were sewn from soft, tanned skins of deer (buckskin) and buffalo. Clothing was often decorated with paint, porcupine quills or beadwork. Comanche clothing for both men and women were adorned with paintings and decked ornaments, especially necklaces and earrings.


What clothes did the Comanche women wear?
The type of clothes worn by the women of the Comanche tribe were knee-length dresses and leggings. The women also wore the buffalo robes to keep dry and warm. Comanche women wore their hair in two, thick braids decorated with beads. The dresses of the Comanche women that were used for special occasions were elaborately decorated with beads and painted with signs and symbols that reflected family values celebrating acts of bravery by their men or sacrifices made for the well being of the family and tribe. The Comanche developed the Hair pipe breastplates and the fashion was adopted by many other tribes who inhabited the Great Plains.

What did the Comanche tribe live in?
The Comanche tribe lived in tent-like homes called tepees. The
Tepee was constructed from long wooden poles that were covered with weather-proof animal skins such as buffalo hides. The tent was pyramid shaped, with flaps and openings. The tepee was rounded at the base and tapered to an open smoke hole at the top. Most tepees were approximately 12 to 16 feet in diameter at the base. Buffalo hides were used for seating, bedding, and covers. A hearth was built in the center of the tepee for cooking and heating. The tepee suited the nomadic lifestyle of the Comanche tribe as it was quick to erect and easy to dismantle. The Comanche villages were well planned and highly organised. Their lodges were pitched in regular streets and squares which allowed for easy movement of their horses. 

What language did the Comanche tribe speak?
The Comanche tribe spoke in the Shoshonean or a Uto-Aztecan language. The Plains tribes spoke in many different languages and used sign language to communicate with each other. The name for the Pawnee consisted of a representation of the crawling motion of the snake.

What food did the Comanche tribe eat?
The food that the Comanche tribe ate included the meat from all the animals that were available in their vicinity: Buffalo, deer, elk, bear and wild turkey. These high protein foods were supplemented with roots and wild vegetables such as spinach, prairie turnips and potatoes and flavored with wild herbs. Wild berries and fruits were also added to the food available to the Comanche. When animals for food was scarce the tribe ate dried buffalo meat, called pemmican.

What weapons did the Comanche use?
The weapons used by the Comanche tribe included bows and arrows, stone ball clubs, jaw bone clubs, hatchet axe, spears, lances and knives. War Shields were used on horseback as a means of defence. The rifle was added to their weapons with the advent of the white invaders. The Comanche created maps to instruct war parties of the location of their enemies. The Comanche tribe were well known for attacking on nights with a full moon and for their skills of fighting while on horseback.

What was the religion and beliefs of the Comanche tribe?
The religion and beliefs of the Comanche tribe was based on Animism that encompassed the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects animals, plants, trees, rivers, mountains rocks etc have souls or spirits. The Great Plains tribes such as the Comanche believed in Manitou, the Great Spirit.

What were the rituals and ceremonies of the Comanche tribe?
The rituals and ceremonies of the Comanche tribe and many other Great Plains Native Indians, included the Sweat Lodge ceremony, the Vision Quest and the Sun Dance Ceremony. The sacred, ceremonial pipe (called a Calumet), was ritually filled with tobacco was passed among participants at all sacred ceremonies of the Comanche. The Calumet, was often used to seal a peace treaty, hence the term 'Peace Pipe', but it was also used to offer prayers in religious ceremonies and in war councils. 

Who were the most famous leaders and chiefs of the Comanche tribe?
The most famous leaders and chiefs of the Comanche tribe included Chief White Eagle, Chief El Sordo, Buffalo Hump and Quanah Parker. The Comanche tribe mounted many raids along the Santa Fe Trail over which the wagon trains, stage coaches and the settlers traveled from the Missouri River through southern and central Kansas, up along the Arkansas River and then southwest across the desert for Santa Fe in New Mexico, and the surrounding areas.

Comanche History Timeline
The following history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks and battles fought by the Comanche Nation. The Comanche tribe fought on the British side in the War of Independence and in the War of 1812.

Comanche History Timeline

  • 1500's: The Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado made first white contact with the tribe

  • 1598: Spain builds colony in New Mexico and starts enslaving Native Indians

  • 1680: It was about this time the Comanche obtained horses

  • 1700: Comanche tribe trade at Taos, New Mexico and become allies of the Ute tribe

  • 1716: Spanish attack Comanche Village north of Santa Fe, prisoners were taken and sold as slaves

  • 1700's: The Comanche fight wars against the Apache. They separate from Shoshone Native Indians in Wyoming

  • 1730: The Comanche - Ute alliance collapses starting a 50-year between the tribes

  • 1781: Smallpox epidemic decimates the Comanche Tribe killing many people

  • 1791: Comanche and Osage War - victory for the Comanches

  • 1800's: With the wide spread use of the horse the Comanche tribe roamed the Southern area of the Great Plains living a nomadic way of life

  • 1801: The Comanche suffered a terrible attack of smallpox, and many of them died

  • 1818: The Comanche suffered another smallpox epidemic and this time they were also struck by cholera

  • 1821: Spanish rule is replaced by Mexico

  • 1821: Santa Fe trail opens

  • 1829: Comanches and Kiowa come into conflicts with settlers and U. S. troops on the Santa Fe Trail

  • 1830: The Comanche tribe war with the Cheyenne and Arapaho alliance

  • 1835: US Treaty made at Camp Holmes

  • 1840 Chief Buffalo Hump leads warriors against Texas on a thousand mile raid. Homes are burned and hundreds of Texans are killed

  • 1840: The Texas Rangers are formed to fight the Comanche tribe

  • 1848: Outbreak of another cholera and smallpox epidemic

  • 1851: Fort Laramie Treaty with Plains Indian Tribes

  • 1851: Comanche population drops from 20,000 to 12,000 due to the smallpox and cholera epidemics

  • 1861: Santa Fe trail closed down by the Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne and Arapaho

  • 1863: Full scale war in the Great Plains by an alliance for Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa and Comanche

  • 1864: The First Battle of Adobe Walls - Kit Carson led a group of cavalry but was overwhelmed by the Comanche and forced to retreat

  • 1864: Sand Creek Massacre

  • 1867: Treaty of Medicine Lodge providing 4,000 square miles land reservations to many tribes of Plains Native Indians who, in return, had to surrender some 60,000 square miles of their own land

  • 1868: Treaty is broken and Comanche raids target Texas and Kansas, all tribes are then ordered to Oklahoma

  • 1869: Comanche-Kiowa Agency was relocated to Ft. Sill, and the Cheyenne-Arapaho agency to Darlington

  • 1870: Comanche tribe population estimated at around 8,000

  • 1874: Second Battle of Adobe Walls in the Texas Panhandle led by Chief White Eagle

  • 1874: The Red River Wars (1874 - 1875) force the Kiowa and Comanche onto reservations

  • 1874: Conflicts erupt at Wichita and Darlington Agencies and put down by US troops.

  • 1875: Quanah Parker led the last free band of Comanche Indians, who surrendered and were moved to Fort Sill

  • 1876: The Buffalo War - Buffalo are wantonly slaughtered all over the Great Plains (over 65 million were destroyed by white hunters) depriving the Native Indians of their means to live

  • 1887: The Dawes General Allotment Act led to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands, including Comanche lands to white settlers.

  • 1892: Jerome Agreement was a treaty negotiated between Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache tribes reducing the reservation to roughly 600-700 square miles of land

  • 1892: Measles killed more than 300 of the Kiowa and Comanche people

  • 1901 The Comanche reservation is broken up due to Government pressure to open the land for settlement

Comanche History Timeline

The Story of Comanche
For additional facts and information refer to the legend and the Story of the Battle of Adobe Walls.


  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the people lived
  • The clothes worn by men and women
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Comanche would eat
  • Fast Facts and info about the Comanche
  • Names of famous chiefs and leaders
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Comanche Native American Indians

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
The Comanche Tribe was one of the most famous tribes of the Great Plains Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Comanche nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Comanche tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .


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