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What Is the Comanche Tribe?

The Comanche Tribe relied on bison for food, as well as clothing and shelter, and so they frequently moved to follow herds.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
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The Comanche tribe is a tribe of Native Americans that was originally part of the Eastern Shoshone tribe of Wyoming. The Comanche eventually migrated to New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Today, many of the members of the Comanche tribe call Oklahoma their home and some live in places such as Texas, New Mexico, and California. The modern Comanche nation includes more than 14,000 members.

The Comanche Indians refer to themselves as Numinu, which can be translated to mean the people. The Comanche name is said to come from a Ute translation that means enemy or those who are against us. The Comanche Indians also had their own unique native language, which some of its members still speak today. Most of today's Comanche Indians speak English, however.

Historically, these Indians were nomads, which means they moved around quite a bit rather than settling down and staying put in one place. They relied on buffalo for food as well as to provide hides that could be used for clothing and for making their tepees. Tepees were good homes for members of this tribe, as they could be assembled and disassembled quickly. This was an important feature since these Native Americans moved about frequently to follow buffalo herds. Today's Comanche Indians usually live in houses or apartments, however.

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The Comanche Indians had a reputation as skilled horsemen back in the 1800s. They used horses for a variety of purposes. For example, they typically used horses in following herds of buffalo and in hunting. They also used horses in battle.

Though the Comanche became well known for their skills with horses, this wasn't always the case. Before European colonists made their way to North America, these Native Americans used other means of getting around. For example, they would walk and use dogs to pull a travois that held the things they wished to transport. Eventually, Europeans transported horses to North America, and the Comanche began to use them to get around quickly.

While many people may think of the Comanche of long ago as one big tribe, that wasn't the case. Instead, these Indians were divided into smaller bands or sub-nations, and each of these sub nations had its own leader. This division is said to have made the Comanche governing system less organized than that of some other Native American tribes. Today, however, the Comanche tribe is unified and has its own government system, including laws and individuals who are charged with law enforcement. Comanche tribe members elect leaders who are referred to as tribal council members as well as a tribal chair person.

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