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A roving, warlike, and predatory tribe of Shoshone descent, roaming over much of the great prairie country from the Platte to Mexico. Their traditions and early history are vague, but they claim to have come from the west. They call themselves Naüni (live people), but the Spanish called them Comanche or Camanche (Les Serpents), the name adopted by the Americans. Procuring horses from the Spaniards at an early day they became expert riders, which, united with their daring and aggressiveness, made them noted and feared throughout the Southwest. Engaged in long and bloody wars with the Spaniards, but were subdued by them in 1783. Were estimated about that time at 5,000 warriors. In 1816 lost heavily by small pox. Up to 1847 were variously estimated at from 9,000 to 12,000 in all. Were at one time on a reservation in Texas, but were driven out of the State, and since then have been unrelenting enemies of the people of that State. The General Government has set apart a new reservation for them in the western part of the Indian Territory and are gradually drawing them all on to it, though not without much trouble. They now number 1,570 in all, and are divided into eight bands. Have made a commencement in farming, and have been induced to send a few of their children to an industrial school.
W. Blackmore, esq., in an article on the North American Indians, thus describes the Comanche:
“These fierce, untamed savages roam over an immense region, eating the raw flesh of the buffalo, drinking its warm blood, and plundering Mexicans, Indians, and whites with judicial impartiality. Arabs and Tartars of the desert, they remove their villages (pitching their lodges in regular streets and squares) hundreds of miles at the shortest notice. The men are short and stout, with bright copper faces and long hair, which they ornament with glass beads and silver gewgaws.”
Catlin says of them:
“In their movements they are heavy and ungraceful, and on their feet one of the most unattractive and slovenly races I have ever seen; but the moment they mount their horses they seem at once metamorphosed, and surprise the spectator with the ease and grace of their movements. A Comanche on his feet is out of his element, and comparatively almost as awkward as a monkey on the ground without a limb or branch to cling to; but the moment he lays his hand upon his horse his face even becomes handsome, and he gracefully flies away, a different being.”
List of illustrations.
128. Asa Havie. The Milky Way. (Front.) Penetathka.
129. Asa Havie. The Milky Way. (Profile.)
Is one of the head men of his band, dividing the office of chief with Toshoway. (No. 134.) Has been one of the most noted raiders into Texas, leading many bands of the restless young men of his tribe, until about ten years since, when he was badly wounded in an encounter and left for dead upon the field. Is now endeavoring to live in the white man’s ways, having had a comfortable log house built for himself, and a few acres of ground enclosed, which he is successfully cultivating. This portrait of Asa havie was made in 1872, while on a visit to Washington with a delegation of his tribe. Age, about 45; height, 5.9½; head, 23½; chest, 44½; weight, about 200 pounds.
130. Wife Of Asa Havie. (Front.)
131. Wife Of Asa Havie. (Profile.)
Age, about 40; height, 5.4; head, 23; chest, 38; weight, 170 pounds,
132. Timber Bluff. (Front.)
133. Timber Bluff. (Profile.)
134. To Sho-Way. Silver Knife. (Front.) Penetathka
135. To Sho-Way. Silver Knife. (Profile.) Penetathka
One of the chiefs of his baud, sharing the position with Asa havie. Is noted for good sense and fair dealing, and has long been friendly to the whites. In youth, however, was not behind the other adventurous spirits of his tribe in predatory exploits and raids into Texas. Age, about 55; height, 5.6; head, 22J; chest, 41; weight, 168.
136. Wife of Toshoway. (Front.)
137. Wife of Toshoway. (Profile.)
Age. 55; height, 4.10; head, 21; chest, 34; weight, 120.
138-9, 140. Asa-To-Yet. Gray Leggings. (Front.) Penetathka
One of the leading men of his tribe, taking an active interest in their advancement. Lives in a house, cultivates the ground, and has a good lot of stock. Speaks English fluently. Age, 45; height, 5.10; head, 34; chest, 42.
141-2. Cheevers. He Goat. Tamparethka
A prominent and influential man in his tribe, and chief of his band.
143-4. Mother of Cheevers. Tamparethka
One of the three wives of Cheevers. She accompanied him to Washington with the delegation in 1872. None of his wives have any children.
145-6. Mother of Cheevers. Tamparethka
147-8. Quirts-Quip. Chewing Elk. Tamparethka
One of the chiefs of the tribe; a shrewd and able person, with considerable executive and. financial ability. Age, 45; height, 5.6¾; head, 23; chest, 39.
149, 150. Ho-We-Oh. Gap in the Salt. Tamparethka
A chief who is doing his best to lead his tribe in civilized ways, as well as to walk in that way himself. Age, 45; height, 5.11½; head, 23; chest, 43.
151-2. Daughter Of Gap In The Salt. Tamparethka
153-4. Parry-Wah-Sa-Men. Ten Bears. Tamparethka
Formerly head chief of the Tamparethka band of Comanche. He died in November, 1872, just after his return from Washington with a visiting delegation from his tribe. Was friendly to the whites, and a man of influence among his people, maintaining this influence and his chieftainship to the unusual age of 80 years.
155-6. Buffalo Hump. Tamparethka
157-8. Jim. Tamparethka
178-9. Native Drawings.