A few months ago, my dad started using ancestry.com to further his genealogical knowledge. Initially, I did not think that it would lead him anywhere, seeing as he knows nothing about his family; but sure enough, he found a plethora of information. He found information about his mother’s side and information about his father’s, including the biography of Quanah Parker, the last chief of the free Comanche people. When my dad started telling me the story of Quanah Parker, I suddenly got very interested in my Native American background. How often does someone come across such a puzzling and unusual aspect of his/her background? I always thought that I was just half-Korean and half-White, but learning that I am also Native American really got my gears turning as far as learning more about my ancestral background. My dad told me about how Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah’s mother, was captured as a hostage at age nine. At first she was treated horribly; she was beaten and starved on a daily basis, but after marrying Peta Nacona, the chief, she became an integrated part of the Comanche and adopted their ways. She denied all requests from her White family to return to them because she had fallen in love with the land, the community, and the lifestyle of the Comanche (Williams, “Cynthia Ann Parker”). I found this fact very interesting because the basis of all the stories between Whites and Indians that I have heard always included hatred between the two races.
Having just a brief introduction into my Native background, I now have the opportunity to write a research paper and really analyze my ancestry. The only thing that I knew about the Comanche prior to this research paper was that they were known as the most violent and brutal of all Indians and that they were the finest horsemen of all other tribes (Moore, “The Texas Comanches”). I found that there was so much more to the Comanche than my initial stereotypes. My goal in writing this research paper is to further understand the violent and mysterious history of the Comanche people and to try and seek out a softer and more traditional side of this otherwise savage tribe. II. Background Information
To be able to understand the Comanche Indians completely, one must learn their history. It is important to learn about the wars they fought, the foods they ate, and the land they thrived on. In this section of my essay, I will assess the Comanche’s lifestyle from their separation from the Shoshone to their surrender to the U.S. However, before I go into the more gruesome details, I have to explain the origin of the Comanche. When I heard the word “Comanche”, I quickly wanted to know what it meant. Although the origin of the word is uncertain, the most likely explanation is that it was a Spanish corruption of their Ute name, Kohmahts, which means “those who are against us” (Sultzman, “Comanche History”). In their own language, Numic, the Comanche referred to themselves as “Nemene” or ‘the people’, but to surrounding tribes, the Comanche had various names, such as Bodalk Inago (snake men) from the Kiowa, Catha (having many horses) from the Arapaho, Shishinowutz-hitaneo (snake) from the Cheyenne, and Gyaiko (enemy) from the Kiowa (Sultzman, “Comanche History”). The Comanche name has been interpreted in many ways, and each individual tribe from all around the Plains had a different name to call the Comanche, many referring to them as ‘the enemy’. But the Comanche had more to their lives and culture than their name entails. The Comanche came from what is now northeastern Wyoming, and they were originally part of the Shoshone Indians, but after stealing horses from Spanish settlements in 1640, bands of Comanche separated from the Shoshone and moved toward the Southern Plains to see if they could prosper as a separate tribe. When the Comanche first separated from the Shoshone, their population was estimated to be around 10,000, but throughout their...
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