What’s on the menu tonight for the Tonkawas? Human.

Tuesday we played a game with the guest who joined us in class. I was a Soldier, unfortunately, meaning I was not important enough to eat everyday. In the middle of the game our food supply started running low so we decided to eat our Indian captives. We laughed at the idea of us eating our classmates and then the Guest told us cannibalism was a very real thing in the New World. Of course it got me thinking and since I like to connect my blogs to what we talk about in class, I decided to look up Indian tribes in Texas who practiced cannibalism.

“Human flesh tastes like bear meat,” a Tonkwa informant tells Albert S. Gatschet. In most cases cannibalism was a practice done after a battle or war. The heart of the enemy was consumed this was done to prove superiority and to insult the soul of the enemy. Tonkawas did not reserve cannibalism just for their enemies.

cool facts
Some facts about the Tonkawa Tribe. Taken from a power point online.

The Tonkawas claimed parts of south-east Texas as their home. The Tonkawas and some other small tribes were gathered up and moved to the Wichita Reservation near Fort Cobb in Indian territory which is now in Oklahoma. The word Tonkawa comes from a Waco name, “Tonkaweya,” meaning stays together. The tribe called themselves tickanwatic which roughly translates to, “the most human of people”.



Tonkawas were found eating Comanches on multiple occasions. When researching and reading multiple articles online I have came to the conclusion that the Comanches and the Tonkawas have had a bad relationship with one another. One article I read claimed that the main part of a Tonkawa stew was a member of the Comanche tribe. It was a very strange yet an interesting article. The Tonkawas, on the other hand, relished a hearty Comanche stew…Comanche being the main ingredient and not the origin of the recipe. Noah Smithwick, who witnessed its preparation and consumption, called it, “the most revolting mess my eyes ever rested on.” http://www.texasreader.com/the-cannibals-tea.html This was taken from that article and if you’re interested I did put that link there for you to check it out!


Main course, Comanche.



 “They erected a pole, to which they attached the scalp, hands, and feet of the Waco, and then with horrible yells and gestures, all danced around it, while the squaws constantly danced up to the pole and took bites from the hands and feet and then would go back and dance again. They would prolong these dances three, five, and sometimes ten days.” This was taken from another article I read online. This just was another piece of evidence that I found that the Tonkawas practiced cannibalism. http://lisawallerrogers.com/2010/03/01/texas-tonkawas-ate-their-enemies/

Whenever I was trying to find research that supported the accusations that the Tonkawas were cannibals, everything seemed to be scattered. There was multiple witnesses that confessed they watched Tonkawas eat other humans but I did not want my blog to be nothing but “copy and paste”. I hope you guys learned a little about the Tonkawa tribe!

All the text in red are pieces of articles I have found interesting. The links to them are also available for you all!





2 thoughts on “What’s on the menu tonight for the Tonkawas? Human.

  1. That was very interesting! The topic of cannibalism is not brought up a lot, because it is a taboo but I believe that is what makes it so interesting to many people. The fact that we know so little about it and how it dejects so many of our morals. Thank you for the interesting blog, because I was also wondering about which tribes were actually thought to practice cannibalism.


  2. Thank you for picking a subject that was so intriguing. I like that fact that they called themselves “Tonkawega” which translates to the most human people. Which most would find that to be contradicting. Me on the other hand see people as animals. It is our instinct to survive. I would not think twice about eating someone if I had to.


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