The Life of Ten Bears: Comanche Historical Narratives

By Francis Joseph Attocknie; Thomas W. Kavanagh | Go to book overview

2   Peace with the Kiowas
| ca. 1825 |

In 1825 the Comanche Indians were almost completely surrounded by enemy tribes. In the north, the enemies of the Comanches were the Osages, Pawnees, Sioux, Cheyennes, Kiowas, and of course, the whites. Of these northern enemies, the Comanches seemed to consider the Sioux as their most bitter enemy; the Pawnees made more frequent hostile contacts with the Comanches but seemed to be considered more of a nuisance than a mortal enemy. The reason was that the Pawnees, if they did get away with a horse or two, would be overtaken by pursuers as they walked or trotted along or foot driving their stolen horses before them. Not being accustomed to horseback riding, the Pawnees always wore themselves raw in their crotches or wherever else their flesh came into contact with the horse. Another reason for the Comanches’ feeling of contempt for the Pawnees—and the Osages too in this respect—was that their mature warriors, instead of fighting to the death with their Comanche enemies, were known to frequently throw down their arrows or other weapons and surrender, to be taken captive.

The Osages and other gun-fighting tribes who had no stomach for close-in hand-to-hand combat were regarded with the same contempt that the Comanches felt for the American whites, the Texans, and the Mexican peons. The killing of any of these last named peoples could not be counted as coups or heroic war acts by Comanches.

The nape “foot” Kiowas, probably because they had been walled in by enemy tribes, had been completely unable to break out and get to the Spanish settlements in the south, where there was an abundance of horseflesh. That same wall of enemy tribes also kept the Kiowas from raiding on the Comanches and other southern horse-rich tribes and still that same wall was to cave in on its Kiowa prisoners.

This was the situation and the Comanches, being satisfied with it, had no desire to change it; they had no desire to befriend and woo as allies any of the northern tribes, Kiowas included.

And so the early 1800s Horse Comanches fought on sight these ground-

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