The Comanches were the first Native people to adopt the classic horse-mounted lifestyle of the Plains. Shoshone speakers, including proto-Comanches, probably moved to the Northern Plains in the sixteenth century.
Alternate Names/Alternate Spellings: Camanche
English Name: The ethnonym Comanche probably derives from the Ute word komantsia, meaning “anyone who wants to fight me all the time.”
Traditional Name: Their name for themselves is Nemene, meaning “Our People.”
In the late seventeenth century the proto-Comanches began a southward movement, and by the early eighteenth century, if not before, they were in contact with the Spaniards of New Mexico. The earliest mention of Comanches in Texas came in the 1740s. By the 1840s Comanches were regularly crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico on horse raids.
In pre-reservation times, there were four levels of sociopolitical organization: simple family, extended family, local band, and division. The simple family consisted of a man, his wife or wives, and various dependents— children, parents, or parents-in-law.
The basic social unit was the bilaterally extended family, or nemenakane, “people who live together in a house(hold).”
Local bands were composed of one or more extended families, as well as attached simple families and individuals, and were called rancherías by the Spaniards.
The highest level of Comanche political organization was the division, the tribally organized group of local bands linked by ties of kinship and men’s societies. The names and numbers of these groups have changed greatly over the course of Comanche history.
The Comanches were assigned a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma following the Treaty of Medicine Lodge Creek in 1867, but not all the bands were on the reservation until 1876. The reservation was allotted after the General Allotment Act of 1887. Most Comanches now live in the vicinity of Lawton, Oklahoma.
1835 Treaty With The Comanche, Etc.
1846 Treaty With The Comanche, Aionai, Anadarko, Caddo, Etc.
1853 Treaty With The Comanche, Kiowa, And Apache
1865 Treaty With The Comanche And Kiowa
1867 Treaty With The Kiowa And Comanche
1867 Treaty of Medicine Lodge Creek (With The Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache)