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Kichai Tribe

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Kichai Indians (from K’itsäsh, their own name). A Caddoan tribe whose language is more closely allied to the Pawnee than to the other Caddoan groups. In 1701 they were met by the French on the upper waters of the Red river of Louisiana and had spread southward to upper Trinity river in Texas. In 1712 a portion of them were at war with the Hainai, who dwelt lower down the Trinity. They were already in possession of horses, as all the Kichai warriors were mounted. They seem to have been allies of the northern and western tribes of the Caddoan confederacy and to have intermarried with the Kadohadacho. In 1719 La Harpe met some of the Kichai on Canadian river, in company with other Caddoan tribes, on their way toward New Mexico to wage war against the Apache. At that time they pledged friendship to the French to whom they seem to have remained faithful. In common with all the other tribes they suffered from the introduction of new diseases and from the conflicts incident to the contention of the Spaniards, French, and English for control of the country, and became greatly reduced in numbers. In 1772 the main Kichai village was south of Trinity river, not far front Palestine, perhaps a little north east. At that time it was composed of 30 houses, occupied by 80 warriors, “for the most part young.” In 1778 there was another village, “separated from the main body of the tribe,” farther south and in nearly a direct line from San Pedro to the Tawakoni villages, probably on the site of the present Salt city. The junta de guerra held in the same rear estimated the strength of the Kichai at 100 fighting men1. With several other small Texas tribes they were assigned by the United States Government to a reservation on Brazos river in 1855, but on the dispersal of the Indians by the Texans three years later they fled north and joined the Wichita, with whom they have since been associated, and whom they resemble in their agriculture, house-building, and general customs. About 50 souls still keep the tribal name and language.

Footnotes

  1. Bolton, inf’n, 1906 


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