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A surprise attack by four hostile tribes on Oct. 25, 1862, cut the number of Tonkawas in half leaving less than 150 still alive and kicking. Half a dozen small groups of native peoples based in Central Texas banded together in the early seventeenth century. Even though this new tribe called themselves Tickanwatick, a tongue-twister meaning “the most human of men,” in time they came to be known as the Tonkawa, Waco for “they all live together.” Maternal clans were the cornerstone of Tonkawa society. Children were born into their mothers’ clan, and men became members of their spouses’ clan. A brother married his dead brother’s widow, a common practice among Anglo-American Texans well into the twentieth century, and a man’s property was inherited not by his children but his nephews and nieces.
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