Comanche cultures and traditions are passed down from generation to generation through oral instruction and visual aids. Comanche storytellers would tell stories of Earth’s creation, and of how the wild animals or buffalo were released on earth. They told legends of mythological characters, often animals with human traits or character flaws, whose story supported the …Read More
Indian Marker Trees of Texas
American Indians used trees not only to mark a trail but also to signal the presence of important features, some of which were critical for survival. Indian marker trees are living witnesses to their past way of life and a significant part of this nation’s cultural heritage. Volunteers for the Texas Historic Tree Coalition (TXHTC) are working hard to find, research, verify, recognize and celebrate these priceless cultural treasures.
TXHTC is passionate about its purpose to increase awareness and understanding of Indian marker trees. The coalition promotes wise and responsible stewardship of these trees and views them as cultural assets that must be carefully managed. TXHTC strives to help the public recognize the significance of these trees to the traditions of American Indians.
Several hundred trees have been nominated as Indian marker trees but only a small portion have made it through the difficult process and have been formally recognized. Not only must the shape and age of the tree be able to meet specific criteria, but evidence of a direct relationship between American Indians and the tree (or the tree’s immediate surroundings) must be corroborated by a reliable source, as well as a purpose for the tree.
The coalition has worked with the Comanche Nation in the recognition of marker trees for many years. In December 2021, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) published the ‘Comanche Nation Research Report’, which is part of TxDOT’s Tribal Histories Project. It is a chronological history of the Comanche Nation and its people.
An excerpt from the introduction offers a summary, stating:
The following research report is organized chronologically
and was compiled in consultation with the Comanche Nation’s
Historic Preservation Office from both historic works and
contemporary sources. Works consulted include ethnohistories,
linguistic studies, tribal history compendiums, oral history, and
folklore from both twentieth-century and contemporary contexts.
This research report was designed to facilitate the extraction of
geographic data, along with calendar and event information, to
populate a GIS dataset for use by transportation planners and the
Tribe (Appendix). Information from the narrative and GIS dataset
(to the extent permissible by the Comanche Nation) is also
intended to be readily adapted for use in archeology reports and
for educational outreach materials. (TxDOT Tribal Histories:
Comanche Nation Research Report, pg. 3)
TXHTC recommends reading the report for a better understanding of the Comanche people and their history as seen through their eyes: https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot-info/env/toolkit/415-03-rpt.pdf.
Cedar Ridge Comanche Marker Tree
Eastern Red Cedars were used by the Comanche for a number of important reasons, but this is the only tree of this species recognized as a Comanche Marker Tree. Small for a tree of its age, it proved it was old enough to qualify as a marker tree when tree cookies from its wounds provided …Read More
Irving Escarpment Ridge Comanche Marker Tree
The Cross Timbers ecosystem in Irving was an area of great significance to the Comanche in the mid-eighteen hundreds. This particular area featured scenic views of Red Oaks, Post Oaks, prairie grass, wildflowers, acorns the women ground into a paste for food, native medicinal plants the healers used to make medicines, as well as a …Read More
Gateway Park Comanche Marker Tree
While it was surprising to many historians to find Comanche Marker Trees as far east as the Trinity River, the Comanche were not surprised. The “Lords of the Plains” had not forgotten the importance of “Pih-heet Pah-e-hoona”, the Comanche name for the Trinity River; the term translates as “Three Rivers.” Gateway Park and the Trinity …Read More
Bird’s Fort Trail Comanche Marker Tree
Bird’s Fort Trail is an early Texas trail that was used by settlers in the mid-eighteen hundreds. The Peter’s Colony map below (courtesy of the Irving Heritage Society) shows this historic site as it was known by early travelers, including American Indians. The Comanche Indians and other tribes heavily occupied this land prior to settlement. …Read More
California Crossing Comanche Marker Tree
The California Crossing Comanche Marker Tree is a pecan, which is a native species in the Dallas area. Pecan is the state tree of Texas and it is an important food source for wildlife as well as humans. The California Crossing tree is bent at a severe angle and a significant portion of the trunk …Read More