Kickapoo Indian Chiefs and Leaders

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Kanakuk. A Kickapoo prophet. When the Kickapoo in 1819 ceded their lands, covering nearly half the state of Illinois, they could not go to the reservation asaigned to them in Missouri because it was still occupied by the hostile Osage. Half the tribe emigrated instead to Spanish territory in Texas, and the rest were ready to follow when the Government agents intervened, endeavoring to induce them to remove to Missouri.
     Kanakuk, inspired with the ideas that had moved Tenskwatawa, exhorted them to remain where they were, promising that if they lived worthily, abandoning their native superstitions, avoiding quarrels among themselves and infractions of the white man’s law, and resisting the seduction of alcohol, they would at last inherit a land of plenty clear of enemies. He was accepted as the chief of the remnant who remained in Illinois, and many of the Potawatomi of Michigan became his disciples. He displayed a chart of the path, leading through fire and water, which the virtuous must pursue to reach the “happy hunting grounds,” and furnished his followers with prayer-sticks graven with religious symbols. When in the end the Kickapoo were removed to Kansas he accompanied them and remained their chief, still keeping drink away from them, until he died of smallpox in 1852.

The books presented are for their historical value only and are not the opinions of the Webmasters of the site.   Handbook of American Indians, 1906

Index of Tribes or Nations

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 30 January 2015. - Last updated on Nov 7th, 2013


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