Who are the Comanche Indians?

J.L. Drede

The Comanche Indians are a large tribe of American Indians, and were one of the strongest and most dominant Native American tribes in American history. During the tribe's peak they controlled much of the southern plains in America, and fiercely opposed the settlement of the territory by Europeans and other Native American tribes. Today they reside mostly in Oklahoma.

The Comanche Nation is primarily concentrated in the western parts of Oklahoma, through the Texas Panhandle, and into New Mexico.
The Comanche Nation is primarily concentrated in the western parts of Oklahoma, through the Texas Panhandle, and into New Mexico.

Originally part of the Shosana tribe, it is thought that the Comanche Indians broke off from Shosana in the late 1600s or early 1700s to form their own tribe. The tribe's numbers and the amount of land they controlled were both small at first, but with the introduction of the horse to the Americas by Europeans, Comanche territory quickly spread. By 1750, the Comanche Nation controlled much of The Great Plains, ruling over the entirety of what is now Oklahoma as well as parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Arizona. Between its scope of territory and population, which some place at more than 45,000, the Comanche were one of the most dominant and powerful of Native American tribes.

During its period of expansion the Comanche often feuded with, and defeated, other Native American tribes such as the Apache and Ute. The tribe would also occasionally fight alongside Europeans if the common enemies were other tribes.

Its massive size was in fact part of the Comanche downfall, as the tribe, which included large armies of horses, required too many natural resources to remain sustainable. With food and shelter running low, the Comanche could no longer defend against American settlers looking to move into the land as well as Spanish buffalo hunters and rival Indian nations such as the Fox tribe. Add to that the decimating effects of Western-brought diseases such as smallpox and measles, and the Comanche Indians began to see a rapid population decline.

By 1850, there were less than 10,000 Comanche Indians remaining, and the tribe's territory was shrinking more and more ever day. The American Civil War brought a temporary respite, but after the conflict ended the Comanche were soon engaged in a war against the entire U.S. army. When the Comanche surrendered to the U.S. forces in the 1870s its total population was 1,500.

The Comanche Indians now reside in and around a Lawton, Oklahoma, reservation. The modern-day Comanche Nation of Oklahoma is responsible for determining who can rightfully claim membership to the Comanche tribe, and works to preserve the cultural heritage of the Comanche people.

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Discussion Comments


I loved studying the Comanche in school. They were very resourceful and fascinating. I thought I would add a little bit to the article.

The Comanche used to walk everywhere they went before the Europeans brought horses to North America. They would even use dogs to help them transport large items. Once they got horses, they became very skilled riders.

As the other post stated, the Comanche were dependent on the buffalo. They would pack up their camp and move to follow the buffalo herds. They made their teepees so that they were easy to relocate. A whole village could pack up in less than an hour.

The Comanche are very talented, as well. They made very detailed beadwork and jewelry. The Comanche very rarely cut their hair. The men wore braids and the women let theirs hang loose. Normally, they would only cut their hair if they were mourning someone.


The Comanche were not at all wasteful people. Buffalo was essential in their lives and they used every single part of it. The buffalo hides were used for clothing or to make their teepees. The horns were used to make cups, toys, or spoons. The tail was used for a whip. They used the organs as food or other things that could be useful to them.

Buffalo meat did not stay fresh for long to they often dried it and made jerky. The Comanche also hunted rabbits, black bears, and elk. They ate seeds, nuts, wild fruit, and berries. They ate vegetables such as corn, onions, radishes, wild potatoes, and cactus.

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