The History Channel released this interesting documentary, Comanche Warriors, several years ago and you may be able to borrow a copy from your local library.
For more than 150 years the Comanche of the Southwest were ferocious raiders who struck terror into the hearts of the plains tribes Mexican villagers and frontier settlers. Once a ragtag band of scavengers the Comanche transformed themselves into superior warriors by becoming the first Native American tribe to tame wild mustangs. In less than a generation the Comanche became the world's greatest horsemen and with their calculated attacks on wagon trains and a penchant for decorating their lances with the scalps of those who fought back they also became the most feared and powerful tribe in the American heartland. Featuring incisive expert interviews and fascinating archival photos find out how these great warriors rose to power and chart the course of their tragic demise. COMANCHE WARRIORS is a revealing look at the motivation tactics weapons and legends of the nomadic Native Americans known as the "Lords of the Southern Plains."
- Before Westward Expansion, the Comanche tribes lived throughout the Central Plains region (stretching from Kansas to Central Texas), an area roughly 20,000 square miles.
- They were nomadic hunters and had a reputation for being fine horse breeders/riders
- Neighbors included the Apache, Kiowa, and Ute
- The name "Comanche" may have come from the Ute tribe's word "Kohmaht" ("Those who are against us")
- The Comanche tribe actually consists of many sub-bands, including the Quahadas, Nokoni, Penatukas, Yaparuhkas, Lacotsarutas
- Each band had a leader who was chosen for his valor and skills
- By the end of the 18th century, the hunting grounds was known as "Comancheria" as they had driven off most of the other tribes
- A warrior's status in the tribe was based on courage, stealth and ruthlessness
- Children were trained early to use bow and arrow (made of ash or hickory wood)
- In the late 1700's, Comanches came into contact with French fur traders and traded furs for flintlock rifles, but the single-shot muskets were worse than bow and arrows
- Starting in 1834, US troops move into the Comanche territory
- February 1840, Comanche leaders go to San Antonio for a peace treaty but it ends up a blood bath
- 1859, Federal Reservation (eventually becomes Oklahoma)
- 1861, less than 5000 Comanches are left after wars, disease and removal to reservations kill many off
- 1874, Red River War, was the end of the Comanche defiance against moving to the reservations completely.