Bio.: Tribal President, Russell Martin, is a graduate of Northwestern Oklahoma State University 1989, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Education and a graduate of Tonkawa High School 1984. He and his wife Kelly of 25 years have four children, Hunter, Gage, Rustin, and Kennedy.
Plácido (ca. 1788–1862) was major Native American Chief of the Tonkawa Indians in Texas during the Spanish and Mexican rule, the Republic of Texas era, and with Texas as part of the United States.
The Tonkawa are a Native American tribe indigenous to present-day Oklahoma. Their Tonkawa language, now extinct, is a linguistic isolate. Today, Tonkawa people are enrolled in the federally recognized Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.
Although the Tonkawa call themselves Títskan wátitch, “the most human people,” the tribal name is derived from the Waco name for these people, Tonkaweya, meaning “they all stay together.” The Comanche and Kiowa, northwestern neighbors and longtime enemies of the Tonkawa, knew them by names which, in translation, meant
Tonkawa, North American Indian tribe of what is now south-central Texas.
The name Tonkawa is a Waco word meaning “they all stay together”. The Tonkawa of this period were also reported as fighting with the Caddo tribes in East Texas over hunting grounds. MissionsFrom 1746 to 1756, the Spanish operated three missions on the San Gabriel (then called San Xavier) river for the Tonkawa.
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.
Some say the Tonkawas practiced ritualistic cannibalism. Some historians believe the tribe is now extinct. Patterson says that Tonkawas did consume human flesh as a part of a ritual. Tonkawas believed in “associative magic,” that tribesmen could gain a dead person’s powers by consuming his flesh.
The Tonkawa had a reputation of Cannibalism, which terrified the other tribes of the plains, leaving them without much in the way of allies, and with many Enemies, namely the Comanche and Kiowa peoples. As the tribe moved north they faced little difficulty, but once they reached Fort Cobb, Oklahoma disaster struck.
The Tonkawa Indians lived in large buffalo-hide tents called tipis (or teepees). Tipis were carefully designed to set up and break down quickly. An entire Tonkawa village could be packed up and ready to move within an hour.
They planted a few crops, but were well known as great hunters of buffalo and deer, using bows and arrows and spears for weapons, as well as some firearms secured from early Spanish traders. They became skilled riders and owned many good horses in the eighteenth century.
I acknowledge that I work at an institution, the University of Texas at Austin, that sits on indigenous land. The Tonkawa lived in central Texas and the Comanche and Apache moved through this area. Today, various indigenous peoples from all over the globe visit Austin and/or call it home.
The earliest residents of the Round Rock area were the two hundred tribes that were the ancestors of the Tonkawa Indians (Scarbrough 25). As early as 8000 B.C., groups of hunter-gatherers roamed the plains from the Guadalupe River north to the headwaters of the Neches (Jones, Map 1).
From what I’ve been able to learn from Internet sources, tonka means “great” in the language of the Dakotas—as in Wakan-Tonka, “Great Spirit” (the adjective great follows the verb Wakan/spirit). This is in the Dakota language.