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October 1, 2015

Tosahwi (White Knife or Silver Knife or Silver Brooch), Penateka Comanche chief

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Tosahwi (White Knife) was a peaceful Penateka Comanche chief during the last decade of the Indian Wars.

 

Born: 1805/1810
Died: 1878/1880 at Anadarko Agency

Tosahwi, also known as White Knife or Silver KnifeTosahwi was one of the signers of the Treaty of Tehuacana Creek in Juanuary 1846, along with Pah-hayoco (“Amorous Man”), Old Owl (Mupitsukupʉ), Buffalo Hump (Potsʉnakwahipʉ), Isa-viah (“Yellow Wolf”), Santa Anna, Ketumse, and Asa-havey (“Wolf’s Road”, “Starry Road” or “Milky Way”).

After 1849, with the death of Old Owl and Santa Anna, the departure of Pah-hayoco (now settled, during his last years, as resident guest among the Kotsoteka band), and Buffalo Hump’s becoming first chief and Isa-viah’s becoming second chief of the Penateka Comanches, he became one of the most important chiefs of the Penateka band.

In 1861, along with the Yamparika head chief Ten Bears (Pawʉʉrasʉmʉnuna), the Nokoni chief Horseback (Tʉhʉyakwahipʉ) and his Penateka comrade Asa-havey, Tosahwi went to Fort Cobb where they met C.S.A. Gen. Albert Pike, and the Comanche chiefs, including the Nokoni head chief Quenah-evah,  (“Eagle Drink”), and the Kotsoteka chief Mow-way, and signed for an allegiance with the Confederation.

As a leader of the Penateka band, Tosahwi engaged in many raids in the American Southwest in the 1860s, but in 1867-1868, he was the first Comanche leader to surrender to the military at Fort Cobb in the Indian Territory, and, on this occasion, he is reported to have had an alleged exchange with Philip Sheridan where Sheridan purportedly stated “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead”, which was sometimes rephrased as “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Sheridan denied ever making either statement.

He signed as head chief of the Penateka at the Medicine Lodge Treaty, and accepted to sit in a reservation, under the control of Fort Cobb, having the Comanche Agency in the Eureka Valley. He managed to keep out the Penateka preventing their involvement in the Red River War in 1873-1874.

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