What Did the Comanche Indians Eat?

Nana B Agyei/CC-BY 2.0

Buffalo was the Comanches’ staple meat, supplemented by small game and fish. On a day-to-day basis, the majority of the food they ate was plants, nuts and berries gathered by the women.

Comanches were nomadic hunter-gatherers. The women gathered plants and other foods they ate, including: several types of berries, prickly pear cactus, wild potatoes, onions, radishes, persimmons and pecans. Honey added flavor to the Comanche diet. The gathered food comprised more of the food they ate than the meat hunted by the men. They moved their villages often, following the buffalo migrations, which the men hunted in communal hunts. Before they were introduced to horses in 1680, the Comanches hunted on foot. Some methods included: driving buffalo off cliffs, stalking rabbit and elk with bow and arrow, and fishing in lakes and rivers.

There were at least 12 bands of Comanches. Some of these bands were united by common interests in hunting or gathering. Several bands’ names indicate a shared interest in a particular food. The most famous band was known as the Penatekas, which means “honey eaters” in the Comanche language. Another band was the Quahadies, which means “antelopes.” One band was known as the “Buffalo-eaters,” and another was known as the “(Yap)Root-eaters.”