Mow-way (c. 1825–1886) (usually referred by European settlers as "Shaking Hand" or "Hand Shaker", but more correctly as "Pushing-aside", "Pushing-in-the-middle" or "Breaking-in-the-middle"), was the principal leader and war chief of the Kotsoteka band of the Comanche during the 1860s and 1870s, following the deaths of Kuhtsu-tiesuat (known as 'Little Buffalo') in 1864 and Tasacowadi (known as "Big Cougar" or "Big Spotted Cat") in 1872.

Kotsoteka Comanche leader
Personal details
Bornc. 1825
Cause of deathPneumonia
Known for

Fighting the Long Knives

Mow-way was a Kotsoteka warrior and war leader who signed the Fort Cobb treaty in 1861 (along with the Yamparika head chief Ten Bears, the Nokoni head chief Quenah-evah, called "Eagle Drink" by the white people, and second-ranking chief Horseback, and the Penateka chiefs Tosahwi and Asa-havey), when several Comanche leaders met General Albert Pike (C.S.A.), and they signed an allegiance with the Confederation; later he signed the Medicine Lodge Treaty in October 1867.[1]

On November 27, 1868, General Philip H. Sheridan's winter campaign lead the Washita Massacre. Lt. Col. George A. Custer's 7th Cavalry attacked and destroyed Motavato ("Black Kettle") a Southern Cheyenne pacific encampment on the Washita River in Oklahoma. The Kotsoteka and Piaru-ekaruhkapu's Nokoni band immediately intervened to help the Cheyenne. They fought and wiped out Major Joel Elliott's 7th U.S. Cavalry troop of 20 men. Andrew W. Evans' Canadian River [2] campaigns between November - December 1868 against Kwahadi, Kotsoteka and Nokoni Comanche villages, forced Piaru-ekaruhkapu ("Big Red Meat") and Tahka ("Arrowpoint")'s Nokoni, Mow-way's Kotsoteka, Parra-ocoom ("Bull Bear")'s Kwahadi to surrender. In January 1869, Mow-way surrendered to Colonel Benjamin Grierson. Grierson turned Mow-way over to Lawrie Tatum, the new Quaker agent at Fort Sill. Mow-way and the Kotsoteka soon left Fort Sill to rejoin their Kwahadi allies on the Staked Plains.

After May 1871, Mow-way and his band were associated with the hostile Kwahadi band, perhaps due to his associations among the Nokoni with old Kiyou, as well as Peta-nocona ("Lone Wanderer"), Parra-ocoom ("Bull Bear"), Kobay-o-burra ("Wild Horse"), Kobay-o-toho ("Black Horse") and Peta-nocona's son, Quanah Parker.

Red River Attack

Mackenzie's troops attacked Mow-way's village near the North Fork of the Red River[3] on September 28, 1872. Near McClellan Creek, in Gray County, Texas, the 4th U.S. Cavalry under Colonel Ranald Mackenzie, attacked Mow-way's village,[4] the Kotsoteka, while under subchief Kai-Wotche's leadership. The "battle" was really an unexpected storm on the village with the easy killing of 23 men, women, and children and the capture of between 120 -130 (124) women and children and more than 1.000 horses. The Army had managed to catch the camp by surprise, and most of the village's inhabitants were captured. The Kwahadi warriors led by Parra-ocoom ("Bull Bear"), Kobay-oburra ("Wild Horse") and Quanah induced the soldiers to quickly retreat.

On the day after the attack, on September 29, 1872, the Kotsoteka and Kwahadi warriors attacked the military encampment and retrieved the horses but not the women and children. The Comanche prisoners, the 120-130 women and children, were kept under guard and were transferred to Fort Concho, where they were kept prisoner through the winter.

Mackenzie used the captives as a bargaining tool to force the off-reservation Indians back to the reservation and to force the Indians to free white captives.

After the Red River battle. Mow-way and Parra-ocoom moved their bands to the vicinity of the Wichita Agency. The Nokoni peaceful chief, Tʉhʉyakwahipʉ aka Kiyou ("Horseback"), who himself had family members among the Indian prisoners, persuaded the Comanches to trade stolen livestock and white captives in exchange for the captured women and children. Mow-way placed his camp near the agency and remained there until the release of the captives.

Adobe Walls Attack against Buffalo Hunters or the "Long Knives"

Together with Quanah ("Smell", son to Peta-nocona), Kobay-oburra ("Wild Horse") as Kwahadi war chiefs (being dying of pneumonia the paramount chief Parra-ocoom "Bull Bear"), Isa-rosa ("White Wolf"), Tabananika ("Sunrise's Voice"), Tuwikaa-tiesuat and Isananica (both of them sons to Parra-wa-samen "Ten Bears", by now set aside) as Yamparika leaders, Piaru-ekaruhkapu ("Big Red-meat") as the Nokoni militant chief, also Mow-way and his Kotsoteka band took part in the attack against the buffalo hunters at Adobe Walls on June 27, 1874[5] The Indians were overpowered due to the technical advantages of high power rifles and skilled marksmen who were used to hunting buffalo. After the attack, Mow-way hid in the Palo Duro Canyon, with their Kwahadi and Nokoni kinsmen and their Kiowa and Southern Cheyenne allies. Mackenzie's scouts discovered the hostile Comanche, Kiowa and Southern Cheyenne encampments in Palo Duro Canyon and attacked them on September 27, 1874. The Red River War ensued, It ended in 1875 with the surrender of Mow-way and his fellow warriors at Fort Sill on April 28, 1875.

Death of Mow-way

Mow-way died of pneumonia in 1886.

A portrait of Mow-way is included in the J. Paul Getty Museum.[6]


  • Wallace, Ernest & Hoebel, E. Adamson. The Comanche: Lords of the Southern Plains, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1952
  • Schilz, Jodye Lynn Dickson andThomas F.Schilz. Buffalo Hump and the Penateka Comanches, Texas Western Press, El Paso, 1989
  • Nye, Wilbur Sturtevant. Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1983
  • Leckie, William H. The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Negro Cavalry in the West, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1967
  • Fowler, Arlen L. The Black Infantry in the West, 1869-1891, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1996
  • Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1970


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