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Transcript of Comanche Indians
The Comanche tribe has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country. The Comanches are also US citizens and must obey American law. In the past, the Comanche tribe was made up of many different bands, and each band had its own chief who was chosen by a council of important men. Today, the Comanche council members and tribal chairperson are popularly elected.
They do the same things all children do--play, go to school and help around the house. Many Comanche children like to go hunting and fishing with their fathers. In the past, Indian kids had more chores and less time to play in their daily lives, just like colonial children, but they did have dolls, toys, and games to play. Once the Comanches acquired horses, girls and boys as young as five years old learned how to ride. A young Comanche child was traditionally carried by his/her mother in a cradleboard on her back--a custom which many American parents have adopted now.
Comanche women were in charge of the home. Besides cooking and cleaning, a Comanche woman built her family's house and dragged the heavy posts with her whenever the tribe moved. Houses belonged to the women in the Comanche tribe. Comanche men were hunters and sometimes went to war to defend their families. Nearly all Comanche chiefs and warriors were men. Both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.
The Comanches lived in buffalo-hide houses called tipis (or teepees). Since the Comanches moved frequently to follow the buffalo herds, a tipi was carefully designed to set up and break down quickly, like a modern tent. An entire Comanche village could be packed up and ready to move within an hour! What was Comanche clothing like? Did the Comanches wear feather headdresses and face paint?
Comanche women wore long deerskin dresses, and the men wore buckskin war shirts and breechcloths with leather leggings. The Comanches wore moccasins on their feet, and in cold weather, they wore long buffalo-hide robes. A Comanche lady's dress or warrior's shirt was fringed and painted with tribal designs. Later, Comanche people adapted European costume such as cloth vests and colorful blanket robes. Here is a site about the symbolism of Plains Indian war shirts, and some photos and links about Indian clothing in general.
Comanche women wore long deerskin dresses, and the Comanche lady's dress or warrior's shirt was fringed and painted with tribal designs. Men wore buckskin war shirts and breechcloths with leather leggings. The Comanches wore moccasins on their feet, and in cold weather, they wore long buffalo-hide robes. Later, Comanche people adapted European costume such as cloth vests and colorful blanket robes.
Today, some Comanche people still have moccasins or a buckskin dress, but they wear modern clothes like jeans instead of breechcloths... and they onlyear traditional regalia on special occasions like a wedding or a dance.
The Comanche Indians weren't coastal people, and rarely traveled by river. Originally they just walked. There were no horses in North America until colonists brought them over from Europe, so the Comanches used dogs pulling travois (a kind of drag sled) to help them carry their belongings. Once Europeans brought horses to America, the Comanches quickly became known as expert riders and could travel much more quickly than before.
The most common Comanche food was buffalo. Comanche men usually hunted the buffalo by driving them off cliffs or stalking them with bow and arrow. As they acquired horses, the Comanche tribe began to follow the buffalo herds for communal hunts, moving their villages often as the buffalo migrated. In addition to buffalo meat, the Comanche Indians ate small game like rabbits, fished in the lakes and rivers, and gathered nuts, berries, and wild potatoes.
Comanche hunters used bows and arrows. In war, Comanche men fired their bows or fought with long spears and buffalo-hide shields.
Comanche artists are famous for their silver and copper jewelry and fine beadwork. Here is the website of a modern Comanche artist with photographs of his art.
Storytelling is very important to the Comanche Indian culture. There are lots of traditional Comanche legends and fairy tales. Language organization Children's lives Men and Women's Roles Weapons and Tools Food Transportation Clothing The traditional style of Comanche headdress was a cap with eagle feathers and ermine tails trailing behind it. In the 1800's, some Comanche Indian men preferred to wear the long feather head dress of the northern Plains tribes. Traditionally, Comanche people only cut their hair when they were in mourning. Comanche men usually wore their hair in two braids, which they sometimes wrapped in fur. Comanche women usually wore their hair loose, and sometimes painted the center parts red. The Comanches also painted their faces for special occasions. They used different patterns for war paint, religious ceremonies, and festive decoration. Both men and women sometimes wore tribal tattoos on their chests.
Headdress Stories Arts and Crafts Location Homes Some Comanches (mostly elders) still speak their native language, but most Comanche People speak English. If you'd like to know a few easy Comanche words, "maruawe" (pronounced mah-ruh-ah-way) is a friendly greeting, and "ura" (pronounced ur-ah) means "thank you."