Published on March 12, 2014 by Amy
With over 20 different tribes, Texas is rich in Native American history. Its many tribes paint a picture full of diverse cultures and backgrounds. These tribes range geographically from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to the border of New Mexico. It is hard to see their imprint in the large cities of Texas today, but you can feel the larger tribe’s impact on the wide-open plains.
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Texas Apaches migrated from Canada to Texas around 1528. As farmers on the south plains, they stayed in place for much of the year. Once the crops were in they would resort to becoming nomads, hunting and gathering their food. When horses arrived in the area, they became buffalo hunters and would travel long distances, following the herds north. They continued to spread until the fierce Comanche warriors chased them into the southern tip of Texas.
Once part of the Shoshone Indians, the Comanche immigrated down from Wyoming in the early 1700s. Often referred to as the raiders of the south plains, Comanches are among the historically most significant tribes. More than just warriors, they were traders. Trading in organized groups who spoke many languages, they attended Spanish trade fairs in New Mexico. Comanche were great horse riders, riding faster and farther than their enemies, a talent that made them fierce enemies to all.
Referred to as a civilized tribe, the Cherokee people learned to make and use metal tools, European-style clothes and houses before European settlers came to the area in the early 1700s. As farmers, Cherokee grew corn, beans, pumpkins and squash. They were adept basket weavers, making intricate patterns and shapes. Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas, was an adopted Cherokee.
Nomadic buffalo hunters, the Kiowa lived in tepees in and around the Texas panhandle and used bows and arrows to hunt. Designed to move quickly, a village could be packed up and on the move in less than an hour. Because they were often moving, trading buffalo hides and meat to other tribes for corn became a necessity. Kiowa tribes are known for counting coup, touching an opponent in battle without harming him, then retreating. The Kiowa people were moved to reservations in Oklahoma, where they currently reside.