Tonkawa Government


The Tonkawa Indians chose a chief to lead them. Only a man could be a chief and sometimes they chose a separate chief for war decisions. The Tribe broke into small clans which was considered the basic family unit. Even though the men were the protectors of the clans, they were maternal meaning that the mothers ran them. The Tonkawa Tribe was accually seven different groups of Native Americans functioning together as one, the main group being the Mayeyes. The Tonkawas also opened trade with many other tribes including the Caddoes, the Coahiltecans, and the Karankawas. Today, the Tonkawas have a small government of their own on their reservation in Oklahoma even though they still have to obey the U.S. law as well. They elect a President now who can serve a term up to three years.





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