The now wiped out Karankawa Indians were a combined group of Native Americans who occupied the Gulf Coast of Texas from Galveston Bay to Corpus Christi Bay.
They were roaming individuals who moved regularly between the barrier islands and the mainland of Texas. Their developments were directed principally by the accessibility of food and weather conditions. Continuously moving from place to place, these Indians hardly remained at one place for a long period of time. Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca recorded the first gathering of Europeans and Texas American Indians in 1528. Cabeza de Vaca appeared on a Galveston shoreline in 1528 when a doomed expedition landed the survivors on an island named Malhado. Upon their arrival, these remaining survivors, which included Cabeza de Vaca, were found by these Karankawa Indians and lived amongst them for years.
During this time, Cabeza de Vaca analyzed the characteristics and relationships of these natives and provided indispensable written accounts on what he came across. For many years the Spanish tried to move the Karankawas into missions, but they weren’t successful. By the end of Spanish rule in Texas, this Native tribe’s population was enormously diminished by disease and war. By 1836, when Texas became independent there were only a few of these natives left, scattered along the Texas coast. On the other hand, the Comanche Indians are a Native American nation who dominated the Southern Plains.
They were at first a Great Plains seeker gatherer group. However, subsequent to securing a few horses their history changed. In turn, they rapidly evolved into well-equipped and powerful people and were feared by many other Indian tribes and settlers. The Comanche became remarkable horse men and moved into Texas to hunt bison, the utmost importance to them, and capture horses that roamed the land. Much like the Karankawa they were nomadic people and soon claimed vast areas of north, central, and west Texas. The year 1734, was the primary reference to the Comanche in Texas. An exploring band showed up in San Antonio searching for the Lipan Apache, the Comanche’s foes. The Comanche believed that the Spanish and Apaches were working together, but no harm occurred at that point.
However, in 1758 the Spanish built a mission for the Apaches and many Comanche tribe members gathered and attacked the mission and arose victorious. From then on, the Comanche became famous for their war exploits in Texas on the Spanish, Americans, and other tribes. They detested when others tried to take over their land and went into battle many times. Because of war and disease from settlers, their population decreased and people began taking over their land. Eventually, the Comanche moved onto Indian reservation set up by the United States.
Soon that came to end and their population continued to dwindle. They are still around today and are scattered around the United States. Food: The Karankawa acquired food by hunting, fishing, and gathering. Because of their location along the coast, fish, shellfish, and turtles were main elements of the Karankawa diet. In spite of the fact, that this was their essential food source, a wide assortment of creatures and plants likewise added to their nourishment.
The Comanche lived amongst an abundant amount of buffalo. Unlike the Karankawa who’s primary diet came from the water, the main diet of the Comanche came from the land. It mostly consisted of buffalo meat added with wild roots, fruits, and nuts, or with produce that was acquired by trade from neighboring agricultural tribes, chiefly the Wichita and Caddo groups towards the east and the Pueblo tribes towards the west. Transportation: The transportation methods used by both tribes varied extremely. Unlike the Comanche the Karankawa didn’t have horses to depend on for travel. As stated before these natives lived near the coast so water was their main method of transportation.
To travel by water these people would take the trunk of large trees and hollow out the middle to make canoes. These dugout canoes were used to travel in shallow waters between the islands and the mainland and were big enough to fit a family and their possessions. When traveling on land they would travel by foot and were portrayed as powerful runners. The Comanches were not costal people and rarely traveled by water. The horse unmistakably characterized the Comanche method for movement. It gave them versatility to travel after the buffalo and gave them an advantage at hunting. From the time they were children they would train on a horse and develop exceptional horseback skills.
Housing: For the reason that the Karankawa tribe were nomadic people they needed housing that was easy to move from place to place. Hence, they created a portable wigwam, or ba-ak that could suit this purpose. This type of housing provided shelter for the coastal people and was sufficiently vast enough to fit up to eight people. It was built using a willow pole frame that curved and was covered with animal skins and contained a floor of rush mats. This curved structure allowed the shelter to withstand various weather conditions.