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Native American Tribes of the Great Plains

by Liz Olson

The Great Plains is an area of the United States stretching east to west from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and north to south from Canada to Mexico. Native Americans of the Plains endured hot summers and long cold winters, settling along the rivers, hunting, fishing, and farming to survive. Tribes of the Plains shared some similarities in culture and tradition, but each had distinctive qualities that made them unique. Follow this slideshow to learn about some of the Native American tribes that inhabited the Great Plains during the 19th century.

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Comanche


The Comanche tribe first appeared in New Mexico around 1705 after separating from the Shoshoneans who lived further north. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the Comanche lived in the Great Plains that includes present day Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The Comanche were excellent horsemen, often raiding south into Mexico. They were extremely warlike and effectively prevented white settlers from passing safely through their territory for more than a century. The Comanche considered themselves superior to other Plains tribes, and their language served as the trade language for the area.

Featured Fact: In their own language, the Comanche call themselves Numinu, which means "the people".

Photo source: Library of Congress

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