DressThe Tonkawa were notable warriors who used bows, spears and firearms. The warriors wore protective leather jackets and caps decorated with horn and brilliant plumage. They traded tallow, deerskins and buffalo robes to the Spanish to obtain their first firearms in the late 18th century.
The Tonkawas had a plains Indian culture, subsisting on the buffalo and small game. When the Apaches began to push them from their hunting grounds, they became a destitute culture, living off what little food they could scavenge. Unlike other plains tribes, the Tonkawas ate fish and oysters.
They were a matrilineal society of extended family clans forming two moieties, whose leaders where eventually replaced by a single chief. Their religion was a mixture of beliefs, but they resisted Christianity. Because of their horsemanship and fighting spirit, Tonkawa warriors served as U.S. Army scouts.
Tonkawa Indian Casino is owned and operated by the Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, which also owns the Native Lights Casino in Kirkland, OK.
Social organization was simple. They had no clan system. Kiowas and Kiowa Apaches belonged to the same type of kinship system as the Cheyennes, known as the generation or classification type, where collateral and lineal relations are classed together.
According to some sources, the Karankawa practiced ritual cannibalism, in common with other Gulf coastal tribes of present-day Texas and Louisiana. The Karankawa people were shocked at the Spanish cannibalism, which they found to be repugnant.
What language do the Tonkawa Indians speak? The Tonkawa people speak English today. In the past, they spoke their native Tonkawa language. Although there are no native speakers of Tonkawa any more, some young people are working to learn their ancient language again.
1: a member of a group of American Indian peoples of the southwestern U.S. 2: any of the Athabascan languages of the Apache people. 3 not capitalized [French, from Apache Apache Indian] a: a member of a gang of criminals especially in Paris.
Bison, deer, and fish, were staples of the Karankawa diet, but a wide variety of animals and plants contributed to their sustenance.
The Jicarilla Apache were just one of six southern Athapascan groups that migrated out of Canada sometime around 1300 to 1500 A.D. Moving their way south, they settled in the southwest where their traditional homeland covered more than 50 million acres across north New Mexico, southern Colorado and western Oklahoma.
The Tonkawa wore little clothing, except as protection against the cold. Men frequently wore long loincloths or leggings and skin shirts. Men also wore bone, shell and feather earrings and necklaces. The women wore short shirts made of deer or bison skin and little else.
The Tonkawa had a distinct language, and their name, as that of the leading tribe, was applied to their linguistic family. They were one of the most warlike tribes during nearly two centuries of conflict with their enemy tribes on the Western plains and with the Spanish and, later, American settlers in the Southwest.
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