Black Horse [Tu-Ukumah] (unknown–ca. 1900)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: March 6, 2021

Black Horse, or Tu-ukumah, was a Comanche war chief known among his people as Pako-Riah (Colt) or Ta-Peka (Sun Rays). Black Horse was elevated to second chief in the Quahadi band after the death of Bull Bear in 1874. He was among the first of the Quahadis to surrender to the United States Army at Fort Sill at the end of the Red River War in early 1875. Although a relatively obscure leader, he won considerable notoriety among the Whites in 1876–77 when he led 170 renegade warriors in the short-lived Staked Plains War, or Hunters' War, the last Indian foray in the Panhandle.

Weary of meager rations and confinement, Black Horse's party left the Fort Sill reservation with their families on December 15, 1876, to hunt buffalo and make war on any White hunters they saw. Two troops of cavalry went after them but lost their trail in a snowstorm. The band camped in Thompson's Canyon, near the site of present Lubbock, and on February 22 attacked several buffalo-hunting groups operating in the vicinity. Among other depredations, they killed and scalped Marshall Sewell, destroyed hides and supplies, and stole horses belonging to Patrick F. Garrett and Skelton Glenn's hunting party. Black Horse also led the raid on John (Buckskin Bill) Godey's camp, where he stampeded the horses and besieged the hunters for hours before they slipped away in the dark. The hunters' militia from Charles Rath's store reached Black Horse's camp and engaged in the battle of Yellow House Draw, or Pocket Canyon, on March 18, 1877. Black Horse escaped in the fight and later was reported to have been killed, along with his wife, at Lake Quemado by "buffalo soldiers" of the Tenth United States Cavalry under Capt. P. L. Lee on May 4. However, that report proved erroneous; the leader killed at Lake Quemado was Ekawakane (Red Young Man), a fearless and reckless warrior who had resisted reservation life to the end. Black Horse lived on peacefully for several years and died at Cache, Oklahoma, about 1900.

John R. Cook, The Border and the Buffalo: An Untold Story of the Southwest Plains (Topeka, Kansas: Crane, 1907; rpt., New York: Citadel Press, 1967). Wayne Gard, The Great Buffalo Hunt (New York: Knopf, 1959). James L. Haley, The Buffalo War: The History of the Red River Indian Uprising of 1874 (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976). Paul I. Wellman, Death on Horseback: Seventy Years of War for the American West (New York: Lippincott, 1947). Paul I. Wellman, Death on the Prairie: The Thirty Years' Struggle for the Western Plains (New York: Macmillan, 1934).

  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Chiefs and Other Leaders

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

H. Allen Anderson, “Black Horse [Tu-Ukumah],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 6, 2021