Tonkawas Tribe

By: Brielle Khubchandani

Food & Obtaining:

The Tonkawas were nomadic hunters who hunted bison, deer, turkey, and rabbits for various reasons. They were hunter-gatherers and collected nut and fruits. They traded agricultural products for meat too! The Tonkwawas occasionally fished also.

Traditions & Religion

The Tonkawas emphasized death. If one of their members was dying, the rest of the tribe would circle around them and place their hands on the body. They would also chant around the dying person until the person was gone. The rest of the tribe would cut pff the corpses hair, bury it which some of the tribe's possessions, and wouldn't be able to sing for day after the death because they would mourn. This tribe cut coyotes and wolves from their diet for religious reasons and painted themselves for their religion.

Region & Dwelling

The Tonkawas lived throughout the Southern Plains in tepees made of wooden poles and stretched buffalo skin.

Weapons & Tools

The Tonkawas used bows and arrows to hunt, hide shields, and clubs. They also used lances which is a handheld weapon and is thrown like a spear.


The Tonkawas had a Tribal Committee and each position had a different job. There was a president, vice president, and secretary or treasurer. Each committee members served two year period until the next election.
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New Location & Cause:

The Tonkawas now live in present day Oklahoma. The population of them was once 5000, but now is only about 700. This is due to the fact that the Tonkawas were the first tribe in contact with the Europeans. The Europeans brought over a lot of diseases from Europe which spread to the indians an killed the majority of them. Also, warring with the other tribes decreased the population of Tonkawa members.

Interesting Fact:

Tonkawa means "The People of the Wolf." They believed they were decedents from the mythical wolf. That is why they never killed wolf.