Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma

Mailing Address

1 Rush Buffalo Road
Tonkawa, OK 74653

Contact Information




Cultural History

The Tonkawa Tribe, is a group of small tribes located in the Texas and Oklahoma region. The Tonkawa Tribal History dates back to the early 1800s. When the white settlers first started to inhabit the United States, the tribe was forced to move frequently.  

In the 1800s, the Tonkawa tribe was well known for their ability to ride and tame horses Their skill in this field was unrivaled. That is also a reason why they were great hunters, they were usually on horses so they had a better chance of reaching their prey.  

The Tonkawa Tribe was started in the state of Texas, only to find out they they would move a lot while they were in Texas. In 1884 however, they were forced to move 100 miles to the state of Oklahoma, this is where they have been for the past 120 years. 

To this day, they are located in Northern Oklahoma by the Chikaskia River. Their first reserve that they had was about 91,000 acres, and this was located on Ft. Oakland. They maintained this land for a short period of time however, only from 1878 - 1885. That is when the white settlers came in and forced the Tonkawa tribe to move again. Now their reservation is about 1000 acres, and is on a peace of land that was given to them by the Federal Government.

The population in the Tribe is not very large however, only about 550 members are still part of the tribe, with well over half being adults.  

The tribe runs their own government, and have a council which consists of a president - Don L. Patterson, vice president - James E. Schreen and secretary treasurer - Dawena L. Pappan. There government is organized under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, which has been ran by a constitution since April 21, 1938. 

Just like most indian tribes, the Tonkawa Tribe makes most of their income by operating their very own gaming facility. They also get their income by health care, transportation, childcare and education.  

Since the tribe does not make a lot of money as of right now, they are trying to increase their economy by opening more facilities, like their gaming facility and as well as a gas station, smoke shop, and a convenience store. 

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