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The Original Kiowas: The Kiowa Indians

Location: The Kiowa are a Native American tribe of the southern plains. Historically, they are known to have lived in the Kootenay Region of British Columbia, Canada, to have migrated to Western Montana, and then continued to move until they inhabited present day Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Raids were carried out into parts of Mexico.

Language: The Kiowa (Pronounced Kai-o-wa) language seems to be related to the Tanoan-speaking Pueblos of the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico. Kiowa means 'principal people' in the tribe's language.

History: The Kiowa were part of the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867 and were assigned a reservation in Oklahoma in 1868. They never really confined their activities to the reservation, however, and in 1874 resumed warfare with the white settlers in the vicinity. It wasn't until about a year later in September, when large numbers of their horses were captured and destroyed, and several of their leaders were captured that the Kiowa were defeated.

Daily Life: The Kiowa were nomadic buffalo hunters who lived in portable skin-covered lodges. They owned many horses and were expert horsemen. The Kiowa were fierce warriors who vigorously opposed white settlement on the southern plains. They, along with their Comanche allies, made daring raids far into Mexico, capturing large numbers of horses and captives.

Although in some ways the Kiowa displayed a typical Plains Indian culture, they were thought to be some of the most warlike. They had an effective and well organized military design. They also came close to developing their own written language, using pictographic signs painted on hides that were used as a type of calendar and as chronological records of events.

Today there are more than 12,000 Kiowa, many of whom live in Oklahoma and other areas of the Southwestern United States. The tribe is governed by the Kiowa Indian Council, which consists of all members who are at least 18 years old.

The preceeding was copied from and written by Virginia Haase

Other Kiowa Resources


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