Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma
Tonkawa, OK 74653
The Tonkawa belong to the Tonkawan linguistic family that once comprised a number of small tribes indigenous to south-central Texas. 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. The Tonkawa people had a distinct language, unique to them and were nomadic in their early historic period, moving their teepee villages according to the wishes of the chiefs of the different bands.
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 18th century. From about 1800 the Tonkawa were allied with the Lipan Apache and were friendly to the Texans and other southern divisions. By 1837 they had for the most part drifted toward the southwestern frontier of Texas and were among the tribes identified in Mexican territory.