The Life of Ten Bears: Comanche Historical Narratives

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

17   The Battle of Adobe Walls
| 1874 |

Quanah. The word means “odor.” And as is usually the case with Comanche names, it is only a small part of the original name of this half-breed. This half-breed warrior was not named for an act in battle but was named by a Comanche for a true instance that involved the naming person. The true instance in this case was an act of love. The namer said he had been caused to hesitate by an offensive odor but was assured by his lady love that “however offensive the odor, it was nevertheless harmless.” He thereby named Quanah for this incident.

Quanah had completed the encircling ceremonies preparing to avenge the death of a relative of his who had been killed in Texas. Even hunting was curtailed. Nobody was to hunt except at given times when the hunt was to be communal.

Quanah had not only asked some Comanches to help him but also some Cheyennes. The Comanches joined up with the Cheyennes. Pekwiohapit was among those warriors who were going with Quanah. The Tedapukunuu society of Comanche warriors were seeing that no warriors reneged on their obligation. Those warriors prodded the stragglers, dealing harshly with any shirkers. Attocknie saw the Tedapukunuu strike down a withdrawer’s tipi. They also confiscated his entire horse herd. The man recognized Attocknie, who was witnessing the exhibition of horse-warrior authority. The man singled out Attocknie and called to him, “I am too old for any more war, I have too many children, but still I am being subjected to this authority.”

Attocknie being not only a member of another band but also another society, the Tuwinuu, was in no position to help Mahseet. These very warlike Tedapukunuu numbered as one of their members the organizer of the expedition, Quanah. Mahseet, whose tipi the Tedapukunuu had pulled down, was also of another band, the Penateka. The futilely protesting Mahseet was left there without tipi or horses.

Word of Mahseet’s treatment at the hands of the Tedapukunuu warriors reached the ears of Isahabit, the chief of the Penateka. This chief immediately followed the expedition, overtaking it, and demanded Mahseet’s horses. The Tedapukunuu rejected the Penateka chief’s demand,

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