People of the Plains

Haa maruawe... u que ka nada thuu moi tui tan ~ Welcome... let us sit down and tell stories.



                                  The Story of Ethan & Red Sky

                 Excerpts from a letter by Kelley Keaton to her Aunt Edith in 1883


'When was the last time I told you the legends surrounding Ethan? ... his wife... was Eka Tomoobi, Comanche meaning Red Sky, so named because she was born at sunset...  In the period after Ethan and Morgan returned from the War and before they migrated north to Wyoming, Red Sky was a young woman and the daughter of a chief of a Comanche band whom the Texas Rangers confused with another raiding band.

     The Rangers' attack on her people, therefore, caught them by surprise. They were wiped out. Red Sky was not in the camp at the time of the attack and escaped the slaughter. She spent many days wandering alone, hiding from the rangers, cold, dazed and unwell, her family slaughtered, unable to locate any survivors of her band. Ethan found her while he was checking on stock in a remote corner of the ranch and gave her much needed assistance and protection. He concealed her  when rangers came looking for survivors.

     Red Sky saw that he was a good and brave man, and gave him her trust. By the time it was safe enough to go looking for survivors, Ethan and Red Sky had fallen in love. They were married. She said Ethan had strayed onto her path just when she thought it had ended, but it was a change of direction, she realized, not an ending. 


     In spite of what happened to her, she was a woman of peace. And it was well known that, although she did not seek revenge, she prayed that honor would one day be restored to her people, the band of Tuhu Piaisa, Chief Black Wolf, of the Nakoni, people who return. Their only child, Tip... His Comanche name is Waha sia Sumu tosa, which means Two-feathers-One-white. That's what the 'T' in Tip stands for. The 'i' stands for Isaiah. The 'p' for peace, not a word or name exactly, but a sign, of peace between two bitter enemies, the Texans and the Comanche...'




Horses helped the Native American people conquer the Great Plains, none more so than the Comanche, who were renowned for their unsurpassed horsemanship and horse- trading acumen across the Plains and among all the peoples who lived and travelled there. They were called 'Lords of the Plains'.


'When I got home Red Sky fessed up that she had a dream about me. I was a Comanche 'crazy' warrior in battle, rolling out my sash and fixing it to the ground with my lance, making a stand, with bow and rattle, singing songs until victory or death.' Luke Taylor recounting Red Sky's vision of him in HEARTLAND On the Side of Angels.

On their migration north from Texas to Wyoming, the Taylor/Benchley party encountered Kiowa-Apache with a disastrous outcome – the loss of daughter Katrine. In HEARTLAND On the Side of Angels, the pilgrimage of Sara Taylor, Kelley and Aunt Edith to the Cimarron gives testimony to what happened and why, and the far-reaching consequences.


In HEARTLAND On the Side of Angels, Luke (who speaks fluent Comanche) and Shoshone wife and mother Grace Smith are able to converse with one another in Comanche and Shoshone. As Luke puts it, "long ago the Shoshone and the Comanche were once brothers." Grace gives Jennifer the name kettaa pihyen, Shoshone for 'strong heart'.


          Conversing in Comanche...
          unha haki nuusukahow are you?

          tsaatu, untse?fine, and you?


For loads of information about Native American peoples start with a visit to:

Native American - Indian Genealogy