Chester Tieyah, Jr. performs a Kiowa-Comanche hoop dance to singing and drumming by Tom Mauchahty-Ware. Photo by Stephen Winick, Library of Congress, September 10, 2009.
The Comanche are a tribe of the southern plains related to the Shoshone. They were among the first American Indians introduced to the horse, brought to North America by the Spanish, and became renowned for their horsemanship. They were originally a hunter-gatherer people whose culture and survival centered around the bison, so that they migrated north and south as they followed the bison herds. They also were formidable warriors, raiding other tribes both north and south of the Mexican border. In the 1800s they suffered from epidemics of diseases brought by Europeans, including smallpox, which reduced their numbers. During the early to mid 1800s, the Comanche traded with European American pioneers and some acted as scouts for the United States Army, but also raided Spanish and United States settlements. Amid the developing political conflict between Mexico and the United States, the Comanche conducted a series of battles against the Republic of Texas in an attempt to retain their hunting grounds and stop the slaughter of the bison that threatened their way of life. The United States began efforts to confine the Comanche to reservations in Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) in 1867. Today the Comanche Nation is in Oklahoma where they share some of their lands with the Kiowa.
The Kiowa were also a people of the southern plains who migrated with the bison. At various times the Kiowa conflicted with the Comanche as the Comanche moved southward into Kiowa hunting grounds. But in the 1790s the two tribes became allies and agreed to share hunting grounds in the south central plains. This later impacted the Indian Wars between the United States and the Plains Indians as the Comanche and Kiowa combined to create a strong resistance to attempts to subdue them. Like the Comanche, the Kiowa are located in Oklahoma today.
In this presentation Tom Mauchahty-Ware with Thomas Ware, III and Chester Tieyah, Jr. perform Comanche and Kiowa songs and dances at the Library of Congress, September 11, 2009. Tom Mauchahty-Ware is a Kiowa-Comanche flute player and singer. He is a descendent of Belo Cozad, a well-known Kiowa flute player. He is also the son of Wilson Ware, a fancy-dance champion and powwow singer who died in 1961. Mauchahty-Ware has recorded several albums of flute music which reveal a skilled musician with extraordinary command of his instrument and the various techniques of creating sound. Since the 1980s, he has also been involved in recordings of powwow music and other Native American genres involving singing and drumming. He has performed in a duo with Millard Clark, and with the blues band Blues Nation. He is also a skilled traditional artist in several media: painting, sculpting, flute making, bead working, and feather working.
- "American Indian and Native Alaskan Song" (Songs of America)
- The Comanche Nation of Oklahoma
- The Kiowa Tribe
- Legends and Legacies: An American Folklife Center Celebration of Public Folklore. This symposium concert is the event that included the Kiowa-Comanche performance.
- See articles about Ethnic Song in America