Kiowa Indian Tribe History
Kiowa (from Gǎ'-i-gwŭ,
'principal people,' their own name).
A tribe at one time residing about. the upper
Yellowstone and Missouri, but better known as centering about the upper
Arkansas and Canadian in Colorado and Oklahoma, and constituting, so far
as present knowledge goes, a distinctl inguistie stock. They are noticed
in Spanish records as early, at least, as 1732. Their oldest tradition,
which agrees with the concurrent testimony of the
locates them about the junction of Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin forks,
at the extreme head of Missouri river, in the neighborhood of the present
Virginia City, Mont. They afterward moved down from the mountains and
formed an alliance with the Crows, with whom they have since continued on
friendly terms. From here they drifted southward along the base of the
mountains, driven by the Cheyenne
and Arapaho, with whom they
finally made peace about 1840, after which they commonly acted in concert
with the latter tribes. The Sioux claim to have driven them out of the
Black hills, and in 1805 they were reported by Lewis and Clark as living
on the North, Platte.
According to the Kiowa account, when they first,
reached Arkansas river they found their passage opposed by the Comanche,
who claimed all the country to the south. A war followed, but peace was
finally concluded, when the Kiowa crossed over to thes. side of the
Arkansas and formed a confederation with the Comanche, which continues to
the present day.
In connection with the Comanche they carried on a
constant war upon the frontier settlements of Mexico and Texas, extending
their incursions as far south, at least, as Durango. Among all the prairie
tribes they were noted as the most predatory and blood thirsty, and have
probably killed more white men in proportion to their numbers than any of
They made their first treaty with the Government in
1837, and were put on their present reservation jointly with the Conlanche
and Kiowa Apache in 1868. Their last out break was in 1874-75 in
connection with the Cormanche, Kiowa Apache, and Cheyenne. While probably
never very numerous, they have been greatly reduced by war and disease.
Their last terrible blow carne in the spring of 1892, when measles and
fever destroyed more than 300 of the three confederated tribes.
The Kiowa do not have the gentile system, and there is
no restriction as to intermarriage among the divisions, of which they have
six, including the Kiowa Apache associated with their, who form a
component part of the Kiowa camp circle. A seventh division, the Kuato is
The tribal divisions in the order of the camp circle,
from the entrance at the east southward, are:
Semat (i. e., Apache)
Although brave and warlike, the Kiowa are considered
inferior in most respects to the Comanche. In person they are dark and
heavily built, forming a marked contrast to the more slender and brighter
complexioned prairie tribes farther north.
Their language is full of nasal and choking sounds and
is not well adapted to rhythmic composition.
Their present chief is Gui-pägo,
'Lone Wolf,' but his title is disputed by Apiatan. They occupied the same
reservation with the Comanche and Kiowa Apache, between Washita and Red
rivers., in southwest Oklahoma; but in 1901 their lands were allotted in
severalty and the remainder opened to settlement. Pop. 1,165 in 1905.
Consult Mooney, Ghost-dance Religion, 14th Rep. B. A. E.,
pt. r, 1896, and Calendar History of the Kiowa,17th Rep. B. A. E., pt. r,
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of American Indians, 1906
Index of Tribes or Nations
Index of Tribes or Nations