American Indian Heritage Day in Texas

Today is American Indian Heritage Day in Texas. There’s also an National American Indian Heritage Day, the Friday after Thanksgiving, or sometimes Native American Heritage Month throughout November.

painting of Comanche warriors on horseback

Comanche Feats of Horsemanship by George Catlin via Wkipedia Commons

Comancheria

There was a great article on Yahoo today about an exhibit  honoring Comanche code talkers during World War II. The Navajo code talkers are much more famous, but others did exist.  Choctaw, Cherokee and Meskawaki code talkers also contributed to the war effort. The Comanche article is nice to have today, since the Comancheria covered a large swatch of upper Texas.

The Comanche were hunter-gatherers who adopted the horse quite early.  They lived in self-governing bands, had no chiefs, and only casually acknowledged other bands as kin.

They were known as fierce warriors who had regular clashes with Anglo settlers, though at other times bands were happy to trade with their new neighbors. Eventually, Spanish and Anglo settlement, disease, and the decline of the bison herds led to the Comanche being relocated onto their current reservation in Oklahoma.

According to the Yahoo article, thirteen Comanche code talkers landed at Utah Beach on D-Day. Their participation was classified as secret for many years. I’m glad they are finally being recognized, all these years later. Comanche are relatives of my father’s people, the Eastern Shoshone, who also had a very fierce reputation.

My Weird Western Story “One Tree”, coming out later this year, features a Comanche woman caught between love and extremity.  Set in the beginning of the end of the Comancheria, it’s my hope that in it I do justice to these cousins of my father’s people. I respect them very deeply, both for their bravery during the settlement era and their willingness to help the US in WWII.

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2 thoughts on “American Indian Heritage Day in Texas

  1. Well, Comanche were also able to stop for many years the expansion of a couple of big guys like French, Spain and US… Pretty amazing for a so small group of people. The difference? Not only being fierce warriors, but being the best possible horsemen.

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