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Penateka Comanche leader
Personal details
Born 1805/1810
Died 1878/1880
Anadarko Agency
Known for
  • 1850–1870 as a peaceful chief, led the Penateka Comanche tribe during the last decade of the "Indian wars"

Tosahwi (White Knife) was a Penateka Comanche chief. He was deemed "cooperative" by William Babcock Hazen.[1]

Young man: warrior and war chief[edit]

In January 1846, along with Pah-hayoco ("Amorous Man"), Old Owl (Mupitsukupʉ), Buffalo Hump (Potsʉnakwahipʉ), Isa-viah ("Yellow Wolf"), Santa Anna, Ketumse, Asa-havey ("Wolf's Road", "Starry Road" or "Milky Way"), he signed the Treaty of Tehuacana Creek. After 1849, with the death of Old Owl and Santa Anna, the departure of Pah-hayoco (now settled, during his last years, as resident guest among the Kotsoteka band), and Buffalo Hump's becoming first chief and Isa-viah's becoming second chief of the Penateka Comanches, he became one among the most important chiefs of the Penateka band.

Councils and treaties[edit]

In 1861, along with the Yamparika head chief Ten Bears (Pawʉʉrasʉmʉnuna), the Nokoni chief Horseback (Tʉhʉyakwahipʉ) and his Penateka comrade Asa-havey ("Wolf's Road" or "Starry Road"), Tosahwi went to Fort Cobb where they met C.S.A. gen. Albert Pike, and the Comanche chiefs (including the Nokoni head chief Quenah-evah, called "Eagle Drink" by the white people, and the Kotsoteka chief Mow-way) signed for an allegiance with the Confederation. As a leader of the Penateka band, Tosahwi engaged in many raids in the American Southwest in the 1860s, but in 1867–1868 he was the first Comanche leader to surrender to the military at Fort Cobb in the Indian Territory, and, on this occasion, he is reported to have had an alleged exchange with Philip Sheridan where Sheridan purportedly stated "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead", which was sometimes rephrased as "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." Sheridan denied ever making either statement.[2]He signed as head chief of the Penateka the Medicine Lodge Treaty, and accepted to sit in a reservation, under the control of Fort Cobb, having the Comanche Agency in the Eureka Valley. He managed to keep out the Penateka preventing their involvement in the Red River War in 1873–1874.


  1. ^ Pratt, Richard Henry (2004). Utley, Robert Marshall, ed. Battlefield and Classroom: Four Decades with the American Indian, 1867-1904 By Richard Henry. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-8061-3603-5. Retrieved December 29, 2009. 
  2. ^ Schedler, George (1998). Racist Symbols and Reparations by George Schedler. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8476-8676-6. Retrieved December 29, 2009.