Texas Indians: Pueblo and Plains Cultures

Jumanoes and Tiguas

The Jumanoes and Tiguas lived near El Paso. Little is known about the Jumanoes today.

The Tiguas lived in pueblo buildings made of adobe bricks. They used irrigation to grow food in small farms. They served as scouts for the Texas Rangers and the U.S. Army against the Comanche and Apache. The tribe lost most of its land to English settlers and disappeared a hundred years ago. Tiguas mostly converted to Catholicism.


The Tonkawas lived in Central Texas and were known as good soldiers and skilled hunters. They traded for horses with the Spanish and used them to hunt for buffalo. When driven away from their hunting grounds, they had to live off whatever food they could find.

The Tonkawa chose a chief to lead them. They wore leather shorts or skirts in summer, and fur clothes in winter. The Tonkawa were enemies of the Apache tribes.

They served as scouts for the Texas Rangers against the Comanche and for the Confederates during the Civil War


The Apache were known for attacking other tribes for food and goods. They were nomadic hunters and gatherers. They became the best horsemen in North America. Apaches were good basket makers.

Each group in the tribe had a chief. They followed their own religion, and dressed up in special costumes during religious festivals.

The Apaches attacked the Spanish settlers again and again. They became a problem for the United States as well. They were eventually defeated and forced to move into reservations.


The Comanches were skilled and cruel warriors, and other Indians could not beat them.

They kept many horses and were excellent riders. On horseback they could travel far looking for buffalo to hunt.

After Texas joined the United States, the government offered the Comanche peace and life on a reservation, but they refused. Only after the Civil War were the Comanches defeated, and they moved into a reservation in Oklahoma.


The Kiowas bought horses and began riding them on hunting trips for buffalo herds.

Men and women wore animal skin clothes in summer and furs in winter. They were nomads, always ready to move. They recorded their tribal history and worshiped a stone idol.

The Kiowa were excellent fighters who fought against the American settlers. They refused to live in reservations until they were defeated.

Source: Texas Indians: Pueblo and Plains Cultures
Courtesy of The Portal of Texas History, UNT Libraries

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