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What is a Comanche Native American?

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  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2016
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A person is considered a Comanche Native American if he or she is a member of the Comanche Nation, a tribe of American Indians who are among the indigenous peoples of the United States. Tribal membership does not clearly define who a Comanche Native American is except in terms of ethnic heritage and relationship to a once-nomadic people who lived in the territory now known as the United States when the explorer Christopher Columbus arrived. Some knowledge of the history of the U.S. and of the Comanche Nation is needed to get a better idea of who a Comanche Native American is.

The Comanche Nation eventually came to dominate much of the western territory of the southern state of Oklahoma and also Texas, giving rise to the Comanches being loosely called Oklahoma Indians or one of the Oklahoma tribes. A Comanche Native American, although sometimes still referred to as an Indian, is not ethnically related to the indigenous peoples of the Asian country of India and there is disagreement concerning how the term came to be used to refer to such an individual. Many Comanche Native Americans, like those of other tribes or nations, still embrace the religious beliefs, customs and culture of their forefathers. Others, however, have rejected them for various personal reasons, including a desire to abandon the ways of the past to accept those of modern society or because of a conversion to another religion.

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This is precisely why the answer to the question of what is a Comanche Native American can really only be answered in terms of a person's ethnic connection to one of the many peoples living in the Americas when Columbus arrived. The Comanche Native American tribe in history spoke a common language, and members considered themselves one people; however, they were organized into multiple "sub-tribes" or divisions composed of family members who lived, traveled and hunted together. Every division or band was governed by leaders, and these people usually united only to go to war against a common enemy.

Grasslands and deserts that extended from the western parts of Oklahoma through an area known as the Texas Panhandle and into the state of New Mexico were heavily populated by the Comanche Nation and came to be known as the Comancheria. The ancestors of a Comanche Native American, including the women and older children, were skilled at riding horses, and many of the men were very skilled hunters of buffalo. In modern times, celebrations called powwows might be attended by someone who is a Comanche Native American to socialize and to remember the history of the people.

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