Customs of the Comanche

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The Comanche tribe was a relatively new tribe. They broke off from the Shoshone tribe in Wyoming in the 1600s, and moved down to populate the Southern Plains between Nebraska and North Texas. Although the Comanche were one tribe, they split off into smaller groups, known as bands, of which there were around 12. Some Comanche people still exist today, although they live differently from their ancestors.

1 War

The Comanche were a warrior tribe, and had several customs associated with war. One custom was known as counting coup. This custom consisted of making contact with an opponent without actually hurting him. Comanche also tended to steal their opponents weapons and then force their enemies to surrender or retreat. These customs were based on the need to show bravery during fighting, rather than to destroy or conquer.

2 Spirits

The Comanche tribe believed that everything in the world around them, from the wolf to the trees, had a spirit. They viewed these spirits as sacred and believed the spirits could protect, heal and bring success in all aspects of life. Therefore, there were many customs and ceremonies designed to honor the spirits. The Comanche had a custom of offering a portion of what they were about to eat to the spirits. For this custom they would cut off a portion of the food, hold it up in offering to the spirits and then bury the offering in the earth.

3 Names

Names were important and meaningful to the Comanche people. Names often had a magical or mystical meaning, or were descriptive or allusive in nature, so it was important to get them right. It was customary for a shaman, or a relative on the paternal side, to name a baby soon after its birth. Woman normally kept the same name throughout their life. However, men sometimes took a new name to commemorate an act of bravery.

4 Pipes

For people of the Comanche tribe, it was a custom to smoke a pipe. The pipe was seen as a method of communicating with the spirit world, and when they exhaled smoke it was considered to be a prayer to the spirits. The Comanche people spent considerable time carefully crafting ceremonial pipes out of stone. Red was the most desired color for the bowl of the pipe, which is the part of a part in which you put the tobacco.