“Comancheria offer an alternative to Hollywood’s kwitopu [bullshit] archives of Indians, it complicates dated public and anthropological expectations of performing “authentic” Indianness.”
Dustin Tahmahkera – Author and professor at University of Texas at Austin

“Through the peculiar mixture of reality and fiction, the film balances the tension between visual anthropology and art. The audience finally wondered: Who is actually cheating whom?”
Kristina Hinrichsen – Journal-ethnologie

“By blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction, the appearance of a new Comancheria comes forth.”
Ida Kierulf – Curator


A film by Marthe Thorshaug

Year: 2007

Length: 30 minutes

Format: HDV

Patrick Attocknie
Martin Flores
Mame-Neta Attocknie
Joe Elm
Wallace Coffey
Beau (dog)
Marthe Thorshaug
Christian G. Falch
Lans Saupitty
Ronnie Brewer
Mike Mithlo Jr
Roy Anderson
Sandra Yellowfish Gallegos

Marthe Thorshaug

Christian G. Falch

Peyote songs performed by Joe Elm, Martin Flores and Patrick Attocknie

Nerhagen Productions by Marthe Thorshaug

Financial support:
Arts Council Norway
Norwegian Visual Artists Association
Office for Contemporary Art Norway


COMANCHERIA premiered in the solo show COMANCHERIA at Fotogalleriet in Oslo 15.02.2007 – 11.03.2007. The film is part of the collection of the Norwegian National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design.

  • The University of Texas at Austin, 2017
  • Art and Anthropologie, Musée du quai Branly, Paris, 2009
  • Comanche Nation Film Festival, Lawton, Oklahoma, 2007
  • Comancheria, solo exhibition, Fotogalleriet, Oslo, 2007


Comancheria is the historical territory of the Comanche Indians. It was the largest area of land claimed and defended by any Indian tribe in North America. One day in Comancheria, a gang of Comanches is roaming around, preparing for a sweat lodge. Suddenly The Trickster Dog appears, and a journey through contemporary Comancheria begins. But something is in the wind on the prairie. The Comanche Indians are again expanding in the American Heartland…


In year 2002, I was working at a tiny equine center in the middle of nowhere in Texas. This was the time of the year when Texas is really hot and muggy. So I spent most of the time inside my aircon trailer. Luckily, my good texan friend Jim Yanaway, lent me a book titled ”Comanches – The Destruction of a People” written by T.R. Fehrenbach (1974).
My friend also happened to have the business card for Wallace Coffey, the Chairman of Comanche Nation. They had incidentally met at a rodeo in Forth Worth several years earlier. Jim thought the card might come handy some day. Next year, we were off to Lawton in Oklahoma, the headquarter for The Comanche Nation.
In the Comanche Chairman´s office, I was introduced as a documentarist from Norway who was overwhelmingly interested in making a film about the Comanche. At that point I felt like a social anthropologist from hell.

The Chairman took me for a ride in his shiny black Lincoln Town car. He introduced me for an enormous amount of people at the annual Comanche Elder Day. There suddenly, in the midst of the crowd, a person tapped me on my shoulder and asked ”Do you wanna come and sweat tonight?”.

My journey in Comancheria had started, and in that sweat lodge I met several Comanches who a year later would act in the film. The Scouts is more or less acting themselves, preparing for a sweat lodge. The Chief is acted by Wallace Coffey, Chairman of the Comanche Nation. The Medicine Man has real medicine. Myself, I´m also acting in the film, together with my husband, we appear as The Seeking Visitors. The Trickster is played by the crossbreed dog Beau. But the Trickster can take all kinds of shapes, and one never knows what the trickster is up to.

I followed the aesthetics of a trickster with a movie camera, and the slippery questions of what is real, what is scripted, who is speaking, and who is in charge got blurred. Who is cheating whom became an open question.

In this case, Comancheria is the perfect place to be. The Comanche country is a frontier between facts, fiction, propaganda and myth.

Buffalo Bill´s Wild West Show, and later the Western and the Road Movie were invented in this area. All the geographical names are familiar. You can drive through the Wichita Mountains, take a pit stop in Medicine Park as did Bonnie and Clyde. Further down the road you pass Fort Sill where Geronimo is buried, still lacking his skull since George Bush grandfather stole it back in 1917. Going south, you head towards the Red River. And right there, at the river bank, Comanche Red River Casino glooms in the horizon.

In this landscape, reality is just a visual effect. The real is reduced to a shaky handheld camera with bad sound. In the end, it is all about catching a certain spirit.
By blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction, the spirit of a new Comancheria came forth.

Behind the scenes - Comancheria