Kiowa (/ˈkaɪəwə, -wɑː, -weɪ/) people are a Native
American tribe and an indigenous people of the Great Plains. They
migrated southward from western
Montana into the Rocky Mountains in
Colorado in the 17th and 18th centuries, and finally into the
Southern Plains by the early 19th century. In 1867, the
moved to a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma.
Today, they are federally recognized as
Kiowa Tribe of
headquarters in Carnegie, Oklahoma. As of 2011[update], there were
12,000 members. The
Kiowa language (Cáuijògà), part of the
Tanoan language family, is still spoken today.
4 Economic development
5 Traditional culture
5.2 Transportation and habitation
5.3 Socio-political organization
5.4 Enemies and warrior culture
6.1 Early history and migration south
6.2 Indian wars
6.3 Transition period
6.4 Reservation period
6.5 Modern period
6.6 Longhorn Mountain controversy
Ledger art and hide painting
7.3 Painters and sculptors
7.4 Bead artists
7.6 Musicians and composers
7.8 Image gallery
8 Notable Kiowas
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Kiowa call themselves Ka'igwu, Cáuigù or Gaigwu, most given with
the meaning "Principal People". The first part of the name is the
element Kae-, Cáui- or Gai- which means the
Kiowa themselves – it
may derive from the word ka' (mother) or from ka-a (a type of spear
with feathers along its length). The true origin is lost. Kae-kia
Kiowa man; Kae-ma is a
Kiowa woman. The second element -gua
refers to "men or people", so the meaning of the two elements is
Kiowa people"; to express "Principal People" (sometimes "Chief
People") or "genuine, real or true People" in
Kiowa is to add the
Ancient names were Kútjàu or Kwu-da ("emerging" or "coming out
rapidly") and Tep-da, relating to the tribal origin myth of a creator
pulling people out of a hollow log until a pregnant woman got stuck.
Later, they called themselves Kom-pa-bianta for "people with large
tipi flaps", before they met Southern Plains tribes or before they met
white men. Another explanation of their name "Kiowa" originated after
their migration through what the
Kiowa refer to as "The Mountains of
the Kiowa" (Kaui-kope) in the present eastern edge of Glacier National
Park, Montana, just south of the border with Canada.
The mountain pass they came through was populated heavily by grizzly
bear Kgyi-yo and
Blackfoot people. Other tribes who encountered the
Kiowa used sign language to describe them by holding two straight
fingers near the lower outside edge of the eye and moving these
fingers back past the ear. This corresponded to the ancient Kiowa
hairstyle cut horizontally from the lower outside edge of the eyes to
the back of their ears. This was a functional practice to keep their
hair from getting tangled as an arrow was let loose from a bow string.
George Catlin painted
Kiowa warriors with this hairstyle.
For a time, the
Kiowa are thought to have shared land, mostly in
present-day eastern Colorado, with the Arapaho. An
Arapaho name for
Kiowa is "creek people", and the
Arapaho word for "creek" is
koh'owu', which when pronounced carefully has some resemblance to the
current name "Kiowa". For example, the
Kiowa are referred to as "creek
people" in an oral narrative recited in 1993 by native
Paul Moss. Thus, it is possible "Kiowa" may have come from a name
by which the tribe was known among the Arapaho.
Kiowa language is a member of the
Kiowa-Tanoan language family.
The relationship was first proposed by Smithsonian linguist John P.
Harrington in 1910, and was definitively established in 1967.
Parker McKenzie, born 1897, was a noted authority on the Kiowa
language, learning English only when he began school. He worked with
John P. Harrington
John P. Harrington on the
Kiowa language. He went on to discuss the
etymology of words and insights of how the
Kiowa language changed to
incorporate new items of material culture. McKenzie's letters are in
the National Anthropological Archives on pronunciation and grammar of
Kiowa /ˈkaɪ.əwə/ or Cáuijògà / Cáuijò:gyà (″language of
the Cáuigù (Kiowa)″) is a Tanoan language spoken by the Kiowa
Oklahoma in primarily Caddo, Kiowa, and
Kiowa were one of the numerous nations across the US,
Canada and Mexico that spoke Plains Sign Talk. Originally a trade
language, it became a language within its own right that remained in
use across North America.
J.T. Goombi, former
Kiowa tribal chairman and first vice-president of
the National Congress of American Indians
Kiowa Tribe of
Oklahoma is headquartered in Carnegie, Oklahoma.
Their tribal jurisdictional area includes Caddo, Comanche, Cotton,
Grady, Kiowa, Tillman, and Washita Counties. Enrollment in the tribe
requires a minimum blood quantum of ¼
As of 2011[update], their business committee is:
Chairman: Matthew M.Komalty
Vice-chairman: Charles Domebo Eisenberger
Secretary: Rhonda J. Ahhaity
Treasurer: Renee M. Plata
Committeeman: Dave Geimausaddle
Committeeman: Anita L. Onco Johnson
Committeeman: Thomas Kaulaity
Committeeman: Ronald Poolaw Sr.
Kiowa Tribe issues its own vehicle tags. As of 2011[update], the
tribe owns one smoke shop, two casinos, the
Kiowa Red River Casino,
Morningstar Steakhouse and Grill, Morningstar Buffet, The Winner's
Circle restaurant in Devol, Oklahoma, and
Kiowa Bingo near
Kiowa were patrilineal with a chiefdom living in semi-sedentary
structures. They were hunters and gatherers, meaning they did not live
in one area long enough to grow plants or crops, but did trade with
sedentary tribes that grew crops. The Kiowas migrated with the
American bison because it was their main food source along with an
abundant supply of antelope, deer, wild berries, wild fruit, turkeys
and other wild game. Dogs dragged travois and rawhide parfleche that
contained camping goods for short moves that were for long periods of
time. With the introduction of the horse, the
their economy and when they arrived on the Plains they were a fully
mounted warrior nation. The horses were acquired from Spanish
rancherias south of the Rio Grande. The new
Kiowa and Plains Apache
homeland lay in the southwestern plains adjacent to the Arkansas River
Colorado and western Kansas and the Red River drainage
Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma.
Elk and Buffalo Grazing among Prairie Flowers 1846–48, painted by
George Catlin in Texas.
Ledger drawing of mounted
Kiowa hunters hunting pronghorn antelope
with bows and lance.
Kiowa hunting elk on horseback.
Kiowa were a nomadic hunter-gatherer society which mostly relied
directly upon food available from the surrounding wilderness. The food
hunted and gathered by the
Kiowa was largely identical to that of
other plains Indians such as the Comanche. The most important food
source for the
Kiowa and all other great plains nations is the
American bison or buffalo. Before the introduction of horses bison
were hunted on foot and required the hunter to get as close as
possible to their target before rushing quickly in and shooting it
with arrows or lancing it. Occasionally the skins of wolves or coyotes
were worn to hide their approach towards the bison herds. Hunting
bison became far easier after the
Kiowa acquired horses. Bison were
hunted on horseback with bows and arrows, as well as long lances used
to pierce the heart of the animals. Bison meat was eaten roasted,
boiled, and dried. Dried meat was prepared into pemmican which was
eaten while the people were on the move.
Pemmican is made by grinding
dried lean meat into a powder, then mixing a near equal weight of
melted fat or tallow and sometimes berries; the pemmican was then
shaped into bars and kept in pouches until ready to eat. Certain parts
of the bison were sometimes eaten raw. Other animals hunted to
supplement their main diet of bison included deer, elk, pronghorn,
wild mustang, wild turkey, and bears. During times of scarce game, the
Kiowa would eat small animals such as lizards, waterfowl, skunks,
snakes, armadillos, and other animals that could be found and eaten.
The Kiowa's horses, mules, and camp dogs were eaten during desperate
situations when no other sources of food were available. Longhorn
cattle and horses from American and Mexican ranches were also eaten
during hard times.
Most of the hunting was done by men in
Kiowa society. Women were
responsible for gathering wild edibles such as berries, tubers, seeds,
nuts, vegetables, and wild fruit but could choose to hunt if they
wanted to. Important specific food gathered by the
pecans, prickly pear, mulberries, persimmons, acorns, plums, and wild
onions. Domesticated crops such as squash, maize, and pumpkin were
acquired by means of trading with and raiding various Indian peoples
living on the eastern edge of the great plains such as the Pawnee that
grew crops in addition to hunting and gathering. Before the use of
metal pots acquired through trade and raid meat and vegetables were
boiled in a hole dug in the ground, filed with water, and lined with a
thick layer of animal hides. Heated rocks kept under a fire were added
and removed to the boiling hole until the water came to a boil.
Transportation and habitation
Kiowa tipis with designs. From top left to right: design
featuring bison herd and pipe-smoking deer, porcupine design, design
featuring arms and legs with pipes and lizard, and design featuring
mythical water monsters.
The main form of shelter used by the
Kiowa was the tipi or skin lodge.
Tipis were made from bison hides shaped and sewn together in a conical
shape. Wooden poles called lodge poles from 12–25 feet
(3.7–7.6 m) in length are used as support for the lodge. Lodge
poles are harvested from red juniper and the lodgepole pine. Tipis
have at least one entrance flap as well as smoke flaps at the top,
allowing the construction of a fire pit within. The floor of the tipi
is lined with animal pelts and skins for warmth and comfort. The tipi
is designed to be warm inside during the cold winter months and cool
inside during the warm summer. Tipis are easily collapsed and can be
raised in only minutes, making it an optimal structure for a nomadic
people like the
Kiowa and other great plains Indian nations. The poles
of the tipi were used to construct a travois during times of travel.
Hide paintings often adorn the outside and inside of the tipis, with
special meanings attached to certain designs.
Ledger drawing of Kiowas engaging in horse mounted warfare with
traditional enemy forces.
Before the introduction of the horse to North America, the
other plains peoples used domestic dogs to carry and pull their
belongings. Tipis and belongings as well as small children were
carried with the use of travois, a frame structure utilizing the tipi
poles and pulled by dogs and later horses. The introduction of the
Kiowa society revolutionized their way of life. Horses were
acquired by raiding rancheros south of the
Rio Grande into Mexico as
well as from raiding other Indian peoples who already had horses such
as the Navajo and the various Pueblo people. The horse allowed them to
pull larger loads, hunt more game, hunt game easier, and travel longer
and farther. The horse also transformed the
Kiowa into powerful and
skilled mounted warriors who performed long distance raids on their
Kiowa were considered among the finest horsemen in
history along with other plains Indians such as the
Cheyenne. Horses became a vital part of the
Kiowa economy and a man's
wealth was measured primarily by size of his horse herd with
particularly wealthy individuals having herds numbering in the
hundreds. Horses became a much targeted object during raids, capturing
and stealing horses from enemies was considered a great honor to Kiowa
warriors and often served as a rite of passage for young warriors.
Horses were adorned with body paint from the medicine man for ritual
and spiritual purposes such as good fortune and protection during
Kiowa horses were often decorated with beaded masks (sometimes
with bison horns attached to the sides) and feathers in their manes.
In addition to horses, mules and donkeys were also used as means of
transportation and wealth however they were not as esteemed.
The Kiowas had a well structured tribal government like most tribes on
the Northern Plains. They had a yearly
Sun Dance gathering and an
elected head-chief who was considered to be a symbolic leader of the
entire nation. There were warrior societies and religious societies
that made up the
Kiowa government was democratic with
the election of chiefs based on bravery and courage in battle as well
as intelligence, generosity, experience, communication skills, and
kindness to others. The ideal personality of the Kiowas was that of
the young fearless warrior. The entire tribe was structured around
this individual. The warrior was the ideal to which young men aspired.
Because of these factors, the
Kiowa was of utmost importance in the
history of the Southern Plains.
The women gain prestige through the achievements of their husbands,
sons, and fathers or through their own achievements in the arts. Kiowa
women tanned, skin-sewed, quilled, painted geometric designs on
parfleche and later beaded hides. The
Kiowa women took care of the
camp while the men were away. They gathered and prepared food for
winter months and participated in events.
Kiowa men lived in the
families of their wives extended families in residence local groups
(jōfàujōgáu or jōdáu) led by the jōfàujōqì, which merged to
become a band (topadoga). These bands were led by a chief, the
Topadok'i (′main chief′). The
Kiowa had two political subdivisions
(particularly with regard to their relationship with the Comanche):
To-kinah-yup or Thóqàhyòp /Thóqàhyòi (″Northerners″, lit.
‘Men of the Cold’ or ′Cold People′, ‘northern Kiowa’,
lived along the
Arkansas River and the Kansas border, comprising the
more numerous northern bands)
Sálqáhyóp or Sálqáhyói (″Southerners″, lit. ′Hot
People′, ‘southern Kiowa’, lived in the
Llano Estacado (Staked
Oklahoma Panhandle and Texas Panhandle, allies of the
As the pressure on
Kiowa lands increased in the 1850s the regional
divisions changed and a new regional grouping emerged:
the Gwa-kelega or Gúhàlēcáuigú (‘Wild Mustang Kiowa’ or
′Gúhàlē Kiowa′, they were named for the large mustang herds in
the territory of the Kwahadi (Quohada) Band of the Comanche, this
Comanche Band was known to them as Gúhàlēgáu – ′Wild Mustang
People′′, with which they were living in close proximity during
the last resistance to white settlement on the Southern Plains).
After the death of the high chief
Dohäsan in 1866 the
politically in a peace fraction and a war fraction, the distinction
between war-bands and peace-bands depended on their proximity to Fort
Sill (Xóqáudáuhága – ′At Medicine Bluff′, lit. ′Rock Cliff
Medicine At Soldiers Collective They Are′) and their degree of
Kiowa bands within the tipi ring during the annual
Sun Dance (called
Kâtá or Qáutjáu (‘Biters’, lit. Arikara, because they had a
strong trading history with the
Arikara people and some families have
Arikara kins, most powerful and largest
Kogui or Qógûi (‘Elks Band’)
Kaigwa or Cáuigú (‘
Kinep / Kí̱bi̱dau / Kíbìdàu (′Big Shields′) or Khe-ate /
Kí̱ːet / Kíèt (‘Big Shield’), also known as Káugyabî̱dau /
Kāugàbîdāu (′Big Hides / Robes′)
Semat / Sémhát (‘Stealers’ or ′Thieves′,
Kiowa name for
their allies, the
Kiowa Apache, during the
Sun Dance also called
Taugûi – ′Sitting (at the) Outside′)
Soy-hay-talpupé / Sáuhédau-talyóp (‘Blue Boys’) or
Pahy-dome-gaw / Pái-dome-gú (‘Under-the-Sun-Men’) (smallest
During the Sun Dance, some bands had a special obligation which was
The Kâtá had the traditional right (duty or task) to supply the
Kiowa during the
Sun Dance with enough bison meat and other means.
This band was particularly wealthy in horses, tipis and other goods.
The famous Principal
Dohäsan (Little Mountain) and
Guipago (Lone Wolf) were members of this band.
The Kogui were responsible for conducting the war ceremonies during
the Sun Dance. Many famous families and leaders because of their
military exploits and bravery, like Ad-da-te (‘Islandman’),
Satanta (White Bear),
Kicking Bird and the war chiefs Big Bow
(Zepko-ete) and Stumbling Bear (Set-imkia), and others belonged to
The Kaigwu were the guardians of the Sacred or Medicine bundle
(Tai-mé, Taimay) and the holy lance. Therefore, they were very
respected by the other groups and enjoyed a special prestige.
The Kinep or Khe-ate were often called ‘
Sun Dance Shields’ because
during the dance, they observed police duties and ensured security.
The chief Woman's Heart (Manyi-ten) belonged to this band.
The Semat were allowed to participate equally, but had no specific
duties and obligations during the Sun Dance.
The Soy-hay-talpupé were often called Montalyui or Kó̱tályop /
Kṓtályóp / Kṓtályôi (‘Black Boys’, Black Boy Band); they
were also named after the
Kiowa cultural hero Séndè / Sindi and
therefore called Séndèiyòi (Séndè / Sainday's Children). To this
band belonged the medicine man Maman-ti. Like the Semat, they had no
specific duties or responsibilities.
Enemies and warrior culture
See also: Koitsenko
Ledger drawings featuring a collection of
Kiowa shield designs by
Typical of all plains Indian people, the
Kiowa were a warrior people
who fought frequently with enemies both neighboring and far beyond
their territory. The
Kiowa were notable even among plains Indians for
their long-distance raids, including raids far south into Mexico and
north onto the northern plains. Almost all warfare took place while
mounted on horses after the introduction of horses into
Enemies of the
Kiowa include the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Navajo, Ute, and
occasionally Lakota to the north and west of
Kiowa territory. East of
Kiowa territory they fought with the Pawnee, Osage, Kickapoo, Kaw,
Caddo, Wichita, and Sac and Fox. To the south they fought with the
Mescalero Apache, and Tonkawa. The
Kiowa also came into
conflict with Indian nations from the American south and east
displaced to Indian Territory during the Indian Removal period
including the Cherokee, Choctaw, Muskogee, and Chickasaw. Eastern
tribes found that Indian Territory, the place they were sent, was
already occupied by plains Indians, most notably the
Arapaho would later make peace with the
Kiowa and form a powerful alliance with them, the Comanche, and the
Plains Apache to fight invading settlers and U.S soldiers as well as
Mexicans and the Mexican Army.
Ledger drawing depicting a meeting between a Kiowa-
Comanche war party
and a Pawnee war party (right side).
Like other plains Indians, the
Kiowa had specific warrior societies.
Young men who proved their bravery, skill, or displayed their worth in
battle were often invited to one of the warrior societies. In addition
to warfare, the societies worked to keep peace within the camps and
tribe as a whole. There were six warrior societies among the
Kiowa. The Po-Lanh-Yope (Little Rabbits) was for boys; all young
Kiowa boys were enrolled and the group served mostly social and
education purposes involving no violence or combat. The Adle-Tdow-Yope
(Young Sheep), Tsain-Tanmo (Horse Headdresses), Tdien-Pei-Gah (Gourd
Society), and Ton-Kon-Gah (Black Legs or Leggings), were adult warrior
societies, as was the
Koitsenko (Qkoie-Tsain-Gah, Principle
Dogs or Real Dogs), which consisted of the ten most elite warriors
of all the
Kiowa and were democratically elected by the members of the
other four adult warrior societies.
Kiowa warriors used a combination of traditional and nontraditional
weapons, including long lances, bows and arrows, tomahawks, knives,
and war-clubs as well as rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and cavalry
swords. Shields were made from tough bison hide stretched over a
wooden frame or made from the skull of bison which made a small but
strong shield. Shields and weapons were adorned with feathers, furs,
and animal parts such as eagle claws for ceremonial purposes.
Calendar of 37 months, 1889–92, kept on a skin by Anko, ca. 1895
Further information: Winter count
Kiowa people told
James Mooney that the first calendar keeper in
their tribe was Little Bluff, or Tohausan, who was the principal chief
of the tribe from 1833 to 1866. Mooney also worked with two other
calendar keepers, Settan, or Little Bear, and Ankopaingyadete, In the
Middle of Many Tracks, commonly known as Anko. Other Plains tribes
kept pictorial records, known as "winter counts", however the Kiowa
calendar system is unique, recording two events for each year,
offering a finer-grained record of the passage of time and twice as
many entries for any given period.
Silver Horn (1860–1940), or
Haungooah, was the most highly esteemed artist of the
Kiowa tribe in
the 19th and 20th century and a respected religious leader in his
As members of the
Kiowa-Tanoan language family, the
clearly, at some time in their prehistory, have had a close
relationship with – and probably shared an ethnic origin with –
Amerindian nations of this small language family (Tiwa,
Tewa, Towa and others). However, the traditional lifestyle of these
peoples – agricultural, settled in permanent villages ('pueblos')
– was radically unlike that of the hunter-gatherer economy of the
Kiowa in historic times, though the
Kiowa did retain certain
'advanced' characteristics – their complex ceremonial life and
probably the nearest approach to writing among any Plains tribe in
their 'Winter counts'. Nonetheless, the relationship between the
'Puebloan' and 'Plains' branches of this linguistic family has faded
from the memory of both branches, and the earliest memories of the
Kiowa remember them as living, not near the Arizona/New Mexico
homeland of their linguistic 'brethren', but far to the north near the
Missouri River, and the Black Hills, whence they were driven south by
pressure from the Sioux.
For the earliest recorded – and remembered – history of the
Kiowas, see further below.
Following A'date, famous
Kiowa leaders were
Over-Hanging Butte, alias Little Mountain, alias Little Bluff); Satank
(Set-ankea, Sitting Bear),
Guipago (Gui-pah-gho, Lone Wolf The Elder,
alias Guibayhawgu, Rescued From Wolves), Satanta (Set-tainte, White
Tene-angopte (Kicking Bird),
Zepko-ete (Big Bow), Set-imkia
(Stumbling Bear), Manyi-ten (Woman's Heart), Napawat (No Mocassin),
Tsen-tainte (White Horse),
Dohasan, who is also known as Touhason, is considered by many to
be the greatest
Kiowa Chief (1805–1866), who unified and ruled the
Kiowa for 30 years. He signed several treaties, including the Fort
Atkinson Treaty of July 27, 1852, and the
Little Arkansas Treaty of
Guipago became the head chief of the
Kiowa when Dohosan
(Little Bluff) named him as his successor to become the Principal
Chief of the
Guipago and Satanta, along with old Satank,
led the warring faction of the
Kiowa nation, while
the peaceful party.
In 1871 Satank, Satanta and Big Tree (translated in some documents as
Addo-etta) helped lead the Warren Wagon Train Raid. They were
United States soldiers and transported to Jacksboro,
Texas. En route, near Fort Sill, Indian Territory,
Satank killed a
soldier with a knife and was shot by cavalry troops while trying to
escape. Satanta and Big Tree were later convicted of murder by a
In September 1872,
Guipago met with Satanta and Ado-ete, the visit
being one of Guipago's conditions for accepting a request to travel to
Washington and meet President Grant for peace talks. Guipago
eventually got the two captives released in September 1873. Guipago,
Satanta, Set-imkia, Zepko-ete, Manyi-ten, Mamanti,
Kiowa warriors during the "Buffalo war" along the Red
River, together with the
Comanche allies, in the summer
(June–September) 1874, and surrendered after the Palo Duro Canyon
Tene-angopte had to select 26
Kiowa chiefs and warriors to be
deported to Fort Marion, Florida; Satanta was sent back to Huntsville,
while Guipago, Manyi-ten,
Tsen-tainte were chosen to be
deported to Fort Marion. Tene-angopte, damned by the
"medicine-man" Mamanti, died in May 1875; Satanta committed suicide at
Huntsville in October 1878; Guipago, having fallen sick with malaria,
was jailed in Fort Sill, where he died in 1879.
The sculptor of the Indian Head nickel, James Earle Fraser, is
reported to have said that Chief Big Tree (Adoeette) was one of his
models for the U.S. coin that was minted from 1913 through 1938.
Big Tree, a
Kiowa chief and warrior
Early history and migration south
The original Southern Plains territory of the
Red sandstone cliffs in the
Black Hills Wyoming, former Kiowa
territory which remains a sacred area to them in modern times.
Southern plains of the
Llano Estacado in the Texas Panhandle.
Kiowa emerged as a distinct people in their original homeland of
Missouri River Basin. Searching for more lands of their
Kiowa traveled southeast to the
Black Hills in present-day
South Dakota and
Wyoming around 1650. In the
Black Hills region, the
Kiowa lived peacefully alongside the Crow Indians, with whom they long
maintained a close friendship, organized themselves into 10 bands, and
numbered around 3000. Pressure from the
Ojibwe in the north woods and
edge of the great plains in Minnesota forced the Cheyenne, Arapaho,
and later the
Sioux westward into
Kiowa territory around the Black
Kiowa were pushed south by the invading
Cheyenne who were
then pushed westward out of the
Black Hills by the Sioux. Eventually
Kiowa obtained a vast territory on the central and southern great
plains in western Kansas, eastern Colorado, most of
the panhandle, and the
Llano Estacado in the
Texas Panhandle and
eastern New Mexico. In their early history, the
with dogs pulling their belongings until horses were obtained through
trade and raid with the Spanish and other Indian nations in the
In the early spring of 1790 at the place that would become Las Vegas,
New Mexico, a
Kiowa party led by war leader Guikate, made an offer of
peace to a
Comanche party while both were visiting the home of a
mutual friend of both tribes. This led to a later meeting between
Guikate and the head chief of the Nokoni Comanche. The two groups made
an alliance to share the same hunting grounds and entered into a
mutual defense pact and became the dominant inhabitants of the
Southern Plains. From that time on, the
traveled, and made war together. In addition to the Comanche, the
Kiowa formed a very close alliance with the Plains Apache
(Kiowa-Apache), with the two nations sharing much of the same culture
and participating in each other's annual council meetings and events.
The strong alliance of southern plains nations kept the invading
Spanish from gaining a strong colonial hold on the southern plains and
eventually forced them completely out of the area, pushing them
eastward and south past the
Rio Grande into present day Mexico.
In closing years of the 18th century and in the first quarter of the
19th century, the
Kiowa feared little from European neighbors. Kiowa
ranged north of the Wichita Mountains. The
Kiowa and Comanche
controlled a vast expanse of territory from the
Arkansas River to the
Brazos River. The enemies of the
Kiowa were usually the enemies of the
Comanche. To the east there was warfare with the Osage and Pawnee.
In the early 18th[dubious – discuss] century , the
Arapaho began camping on the
Arkansas River and new warfare broke out.
In the south of the
Comanche were Caddoan speakers, but the
Comanche were friendly toward these bands. The
at war with the
Apache of the
Rio Grande region.
Cut-Throat Massacre, 1833. A picture from the Dohasan winter count.
They warred with the
Cheyenne and Arapaho, Pawnee, Sac & Fox and
In summer 1833, the Osage attacked an exposed
Kiowa camp near Head
Mountain, Oklahoma. The
Kiowa lost many aged people, children and
women. The heads were cut off and placed in kettles. During this
"Cut-Throat Massacre", the Osage captured the sacred Tai-may doll (the
Sun Dance figure of the Kiowa) as well. The
Kiowa were unable to
Sun Dance until the return of the Tai-may in 1835.:33
Dohasan replaced the old
Kiowa chief, since he had failed to
Kiowa traded with the Wichita south along Red River and with
Apache and New Mexicans to the southwest. After 1840 they
and their former enemies the Cheyenne, as well as their allies the
Comanche and the Apache, fought and raided the Eastern natives moving
into the Indian Territory.
The years from 1873 to 1878 marked a drastic change in Kiowa
lifestyle. In June 1874, the Kiowa, along with a group of
Cheyenne warriors, made their last protest against the invasion of
white men at the Battle of Adobe Walls in Texas, which proved futile.
In 1877, the first homes were constructed for the Indian chiefs and a
plan was initiated to employ Indians at the Agency. Thirty Indians
were hired to form the first police force on the Reservation.
Kiowa agreed to settle on a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma.
Some bands of Kiowas remained at large until 1875. Some of the Lipan
Apache bands with some
Comanche in their company
held out in northern Mexico until the early 1880s, when Mexican and
U.S. Army forces drove them onto reservations or into extinction. By
the Treaty of Medicine Lodge in 1867, the Kiowas settled in Western
Oklahoma and Kansas.
They were forced to move south of the Washita River to the Red River
Oklahoma with the Comanches and the
Kiowa Apache Tribe.
The transition from the free life of Plains people to a restricted
life of the reservation was more difficult for some families than
The reservation period lasted from 1868 to 1906. In 1873, the first
school among the
Kiowa was established by Quaker Thomas C. Battey. In
1877, the federal government built the first homes for the Indian
chiefs and initiated a plan to employ Indians. 30 Indians were hired
to form the first police force on the reservation. In 1879, the agency
was moved from Ft. Sill to Anadarko. The 1890 Census showed 1,598
Comanche at the
Fort Sill reservation, which they shared with 1,140
Kiowa and 326
An agreement made with the
Cherokee Commission signed by 456 adult
male Kiowa, Comanche, and Kiowa-
Apache on Sept. 28, 1892, cleared the
way for the opening of the country to white settlers. The agreement
provided for an allotment of 160 acres (65 ha) to every
individual in the tribes and for the sale of the reservation lands
(2,488,893 acres or 1,007,219 ha) to the
United States – was to
go into effect immediately upon ratification by Congress, even though
the Medicine Lodge treaty of 1867 had guaranteed Indian possession of
the reservation until 1898. The Indian signers wanted their names
stricken but it was too late. A'piatan, as the leader, went to
Washington to protest. Chief Lone Wolf (the Younger) immediately file
proceedings against the act in the Supreme Court, but the Court
decided against him on June 26, 1901.
Agents were assigned to the
Since 1968, the
Kiowa have been governed by the
Kiowa Tribal Council,
which presides over business related to health, education, and
economic and industrial development programs.
On March 13, 1970, the Constitution and Bylaws of the
Kiowa Tribe of
Oklahoma was drafted. On May 23, 1970, it was ratified by voters of
Kiowa Tribe and remains in force.
In 1998, a significant legal development occurred with a landmark
Kiowa Tribe of
Oklahoma v Manufacturing Technologies, the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Indian tribes retain their sovereign
immunity from suit without their consent even in off-reservation
transactions where they do not waive that immunity.
As of 2000[update], over 4,000 of 12,500
Kiowa lived near the towns of
Anadarko, Fort Cobb, and Carnegie, in
Oklahoma. Kiowas also reside in urban and suburban communities
throughout the United States. World War II rekindled the
spirit and urbanization and modernization occurred in the war's
aftermath. Each year
Kiowa veterans commemorate the warlike spirit of
the 19th century leaders with dances performed by the
Kiowa Gourd Clan
Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society.
Kiowa cultural identity and
pride is apparent in their expressive culture and strong influence on
Gourd Dance and southern plains art.
Longhorn Mountain controversy
Longhorn Mountain near Carnegie, Oklahoma, a sacred site and source of
cedar for the Kiowa, was leased to rock-crushing company Stewart
Stone, Inc., of Cushing, Oklahoma, which announced intentions to begin
to mine gravel in 2013.
Donna Standing Steinberg, Kiowa-Wichita and Josephine Parker, Kiowa,
with their beadwork
Documentation of the history and development of contemporary
formulates one of the most unusual records in Native American culture.
As early as 1891,
Kiowa artists were being commissioned to produce
works for display at international expositions. The "
Kiowa Six" were
some of the earliest Native Americans to receive international
recognition for their work in the fine art world. They influenced
generations of Indian artists among the Kiowa, and other Plains
tribes. Traditional craft skills are not lost among the
today and the talented fine arts and crafts produced by
Oklahoma Indian Arts and Crafts Cooperative flourish over
its 20-year existence.
Ledger art and hide painting
Ledger art and Plains hide painting
Kiowa ledger artists were those held in captivity by the U.S.
Fort Marion in
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida (1875–1878), at the
conclusion of the Red River War, which also is known as the Southern
Plains Indian War.
Ledger art emerges from the Plains hide
painting tradition. These
Fort Marion artists include Kiowas Etadleuh
Doanmoe and Zotom, who was a prolific artist who chronicled his
experiences before and after becoming a captive at the fort. After his
release from Fort Marion, Paul Zom-tiam (Zonetime, Koba) studied
theology from 1878 until 1881, when he was ordained as a deacon in the
Kiowa ledger drawing possibly depicting the Buffalo Wallow battle in
1874, a fight between Southern Plains Indians and the U.S. Army during
the Red River War.
Following in Silver Horn's footsteps were the
Kiowa Six, or, as
they have been known in the past, the
Kiowa Five. They are Spencer
Asah, James Auchiah, Jack Hokeah, Stephen Mopope, Lois Bougetah Smoky,
and Monroe Tsatoke Coming from the area around Anadarko, Oklahoma,
these artists studied at the University of Oklahoma.
Lois Smoky left
the group in 1927, but
James Auchiah took her place in the group. The
Kiowa Six gained international recognition as fine artists by
exhibiting their work in the 1928 International Art Congress in
Czechoslovakia and then participated in the
Venice Biennale in
Painters and sculptors
Kiowa Five and Silver Horn,
Kiowa painters active in the
20th and 21st centuries include Sharron Ahtone Harjo; Homer Buffalo;
Charley Oheltoint; Michael C. Satoe Brown; T. C. Cannon; Wilson
Daingkau; George Geionty; Bobby Hill (1933–1984); Harding Bigbow
(1921–1997); Jim Tartsah;
Mirac Creepingbear (1947–1990); Herman
Toppah; Ernie Keahbone; C.E. Rowell; Dixon Palmer; Roland Whitehorse;
Blackbear Bosin; Woody Big Bow (1914–1988); Parker Boyiddle, Jr.
(1947–2007); Dennis Belindo (1938–2009); Clifford Doyeto
(1942–2010); Al Momaday; George Keahbone; Joe Lucero (Hobay);
Ladonna Tsatoke Silverhorn; R.G. Geionty; Huzo Paddelty; Keri Ataumbi,
David E. Williams; Micah Wesley; Thomas Poolaw,; Tennyson Reid;
Sherman Chaddlesone (1947–2013; Cruz McDaniels; Robert Redbird (b.
1939); Gus Hawziptaw; Gerald Darby; Lee Tsatoke Jr., N. Scott Momaday;
and Barthell Little Chief.
Kiowa beadwork artists include Donna Jean Tsatoke, Alice
Littleman, Nettie Standing, Marilyn Yeahquo, Edna Hokeah Pauahty,
Leona Geimasaddle, Barry D. Belindo, Kathy Littlechief, Katherine
Dickerson, Charlie Silverhorn, Paul McDaniels, Jr.,
Kiowa J. Taryole,
Grace Tsontekoy, Richard Aitson, Judy Beaver, Vanessa Paukeigope
Jennings, Leatrice Geimasaddle, and Teri Greeves.
N. Scott Momaday
N. Scott Momaday won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for
his novel House Made of Dawn.
Richard Aitson (Kiowa-
Kiowa Apache) is a
published poet. Other
Kiowa authors include playwright Hanay
Geiogamah, poet and filmmaker Gus Palmer, Jr., Alyce Sadongei, Marian
Kaulaity Hansson, Tocakut and Tristan Ahtone.
Musicians and composers
Kiowa music often is noted for its hymns that traditionally were
accompanied by dance or played on the flute. Noted
Kiowa composers of
contemporary music include James Anquoe, noted for his contributions
to Native American culture. Contemporary
Kiowa musicians include
Cornel Pewewardy, Tom Mauchahty-Ware, and Terry Tsotigh.
Horace Poolaw (1906–1984) was one of the most
prolific Native American photographers of his generation. He
Kiowa people living near his community in Mountain
View, Oklahoma, beginning the 1920s. His legacy is continued today by
his grandson, Thomas Poolaw, a prominent
Kiowa photographer and
Kiowa parfleche, ca. 1890,
Oklahoma History Center
Kiowa beaded moccasins, ca. 1920, OHS
Detail of painting by
Silver Horn (Kiowa), ca. 1880
Kiowa ledger art, ca. 1874
Kiowa chief, ca. 1907
Micah Wesley, enrolled
Kiowa artist and DJ
Ahpeahtone (1856–1931), chief
Richard Aitson (b. 1953), bead artist and poet
Russell Bates (b. 1941) writer and actor
Spencer Asah, painter, one of the
James Auchiah, painter, one of the
Big Bow, (1833–ca. 1900) war chief
Blackbear Bosin (1921–1980), painter and sculptor
T. C. Cannon, painter and printmaker
Cozad Singers, drum group and NAMMY winners
Jesse Ed Davis (1944–1988), Kiowa-
Dohäsan (ca. 1785–1866), chief of Kata band and Principal Chief of
the Kiowas, artist, calendar keeper
Teri Greeves (b. 1970), bead artist
Sharron Ahtone Harjo
Sharron Ahtone Harjo (b. 1945), painter, ledger artist
Jack Hokeah, painter, one of the
Vanessa Paukeigope Jennings
Vanessa Paukeigope Jennings (b. 1952), bead artist, clothing and
Kicking Bird (1835–1875), war chief
Lone Wolf (Kiowa), Gui-pah-gho, The Elder and Principal Chief
Tom Mauchahty-Ware, musician and dancer
Parker McKenzie (1897–1999), traditionalist and linguist
Arvo Mikkanen, attorney
N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize Winner, author, painter, and activist
Stephen Mopope, painter, one of the
Horace Poolaw (1906–1984), photographer
Pascal Poolaw (1922–1967), Native American war hero
Red Warbonnet (d. 1849), traditionalist
Satanta (Set'tainte) (ca. 1820–1878), war chief
Silver Horn (1860–1940), artist and calendar keeper
Sitting Bear (Set-Tank, Set-Angia, called Satank) (ca. 1800—1871),
warrior and medicine man
Lois Smoky, bead artist and painter, one of the
Monroe Tsatoke, painter, one of the
White Horse (Tsen-tainte) (d. 1892), chief
Chris Wondolowski, US professional soccer player
Indigenous peoples of North America portal
Kiowa warrior society
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Oklahoma Indian Nations Pocket Pictorial Directory.
Archived May 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
Oklahoma Indian Affairs
Commission. 2011: 20. Retrieved 4 Jan 2012.
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^ a b Pritzker 326
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Oklahoma History Society's
Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
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^ LIVING KIOWA SURVIVAL DICTIONARY
^ Andrew Cowell and Alonzo Moss, Sr., eds. and trans.: "Arapaho
Historical Traditions", (Winnipeg, 2003: University of Manitoba
Press), pp. 194–195. The stories in this volume are bilingual in
Arapaho and English.
^ Mithun, Marianne (2001). The Languages of Native North America
(First paperback ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University
Press. p. 441. ISBN 0-521-23228-7.
^ A Guide to the
Kiowa Collections at the Smithsonian Institution by
Merrill, Hansson, Greene and Reuss, Smithsonian Institution Press,
Washington D.C., 1997.
^ Davis, Jeffrey. 2006. “A historical linguistic account of sign
language among North American Indian groups.” In Multilingualism and
Sign Languages: From the Great Plains to Australia; Sociolinguistics
of the Deaf community, C. Lucas (ed.), Vol. 12, pp. 3–35.
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^ Rollings 2004, p. 22-28.
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Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. 89.
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Introduction to the Study of North American Indians by Dick Swift,
Carnegie Public Schools, 1972
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^ William C. Meadows:
Kiowa Ethnogeography, University of Texas Press
2008, ISBN 978-0-292-71878-4,
Kiowa Homeland, pages 122 – 123
Kiowa Ethnohistory and Historical Ethnography Archived March 30,
2013, at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Kiowas". Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Retrieved
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Retrieved 1 August 2017.
^ Attocknie, Dana (November 11, 2010). "
Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior
Oklahoma Native Times Magazine. Retrieved 1 August
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^ Mayhall, Mildred P. "
Kiowa Indians". The Handbook of Texas Online.
'^ Greene, Candace S. One Hundred Summers: A
Kiowa Calendar Record.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008.
^ a b c d WARREN WAGONTRAIN RAID The Handbook of Texas Online Texas
State Historical Association (TSHA)
^ a b Tanner, Beccy (2013-02-05). "Betty Nixon dies; helped found
Mid-America All-Indian Center". Wichita Eagle. Retrieved
^ "Which Indian Really Modeled?" by Robert R. Van Ryzin, Numismatic
Kiowa Indians". Retrieved 2013-06-23.
^ Boyd, Maurice (1981):
Kiowa Voices. Ceremonial Dance, Ritual and
Song. Part I. Fort Worth.
^ Mooney, James (1898): Calendar History of the
Smithsonian Institution. 17th Annual Report of the Bureau of American
Ethnology. Part I. Washington.
Kiowa History by Evans R. Satepauhoodle, TU, 2004
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Board, Southern Plains Indian Museum and Crafts Center
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^ a b The
Kiowa by U.S. Department of the Interior, Southern Plains
Indian Museum, 1994.
^ Texas Beyond History – The Passing of the Indian Era
^ Anadarko Daily News, Aug. 3 & 4, 1996
^ a b B.R.Kracht by
Oklahoma Historical Society
Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Constitution and Bylaws of the
Tribe by the
Kiowa Tribe, 1970.
^ Walter Echo-Hawk, NARF Annual Report, 1998
^ Southern Plains Indian war Archived 2006-08-30 at the Wayback
^ Viola 16
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Kiowa Six". Jacobson House. Retrieved 8 January
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Kiowa Five" Archived March 7, 2009, at the Wayback
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at the Wayback Machine.. University of
New Mexico Today. 8 November
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Worth: Texas Christian University, 1981. ISBN 978-0-912646-67-1.
Dunn, Dorothy. American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains
Areas. Albuquerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 1968. ASIN
Greene, Candace S. Silver Horn: Master Illustrator of the Kiowas.
Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8061-3307-4.
Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture,
and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Rollings, William H; Deer, Ada E (2004). The Comanche. Chelsea House
Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7910-8349-9.
Viola, Herman (1998). Warrior Artists: Historic
Cheyenne and Kiowa
Indian Ledger Art Drawn By Making Medicine and Zotom. National
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Library resources about
Resources in your library
Resources in other libraries
Boyd, Maurice (1983).
Kiowa Voices: Myths, Legends and Folktales.
Texas Christian University Press. ISBN 0-912646-76-4.
Corwin, Hugh (1958). The
Kiowa Indians, their history and life
Hoig, Stan (2000). The Kiowas and the Legend of Kicking Bird. Boulder:
The University Press of Colorado. ISBN 0-87081-564-4.
Meadows, William C. (1999) "Kiowa, Apache, and
Societies." University of Texas Press, Austin.
____ (2006) “Black Goose’s Map of the Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche
Oklahoma Territory.” Great Plains Quarterly
____ (2008) "
Kiowa Ethnogeography." University of Texas Press, Austin.
____ (2010) "
Kiowa Military Societies: Ethnohistory and Ritual."
Oklahoma Press, Norman.
Kiowa Ethnonymy of Other Populations. Plains
Meadows, William C. and Kenny Harragarra (2007 )“The
of Gotebo (1847–1927): A Self Portrait of Cultural and Religious
Transition.” Plains Anthropologist 52(202):229–244.
Mishkin, Bernard (1988). Rank and Warfare Among The Plains Indians.
AMS Press. ISBN 0-404-62903-2.
Nye, Colonel W.S. (1983). Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort
Sill. Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-1856-3.
Momaday, N. Scott (1977). The Way to Rainy Mountain. University of New
Mexico Press. ISBN 0-8263-0436-2.
Richardson, Jane (1988). Law & Status Among the
(American Ethnological Society Monographs; No 1). AMS Press.
US Department of the Interior (1974). "The Kiowa". Southern Plains
Indian Museum and Crafts Center.
Walter Echo-Hawk, In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian
Law Cases Ever Decided (2010).
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