Kiowa Indians

Kiowa Indians. Signifying (in their own language) “principal people.” Also called:

  • Bc’shlltchă., Kiowa Apache name.
  • Datlŭmpa’ta, Hidatsa name, perhaps a form of Wi’tapähä’tu below.
  • Gahe’wa, Wichita and Kichai name.
  • Ko’mpabi’ŭnta, Kiowa name, meaning “large tipi flaps.”
  • Kwŭ’da, old name for themselves, meaning “going out.”
  • Manrhoat, mentioned by La Salle, perhaps this tribe.
  • Na’la’ni, Navaho name, including southern plains tribes generally, but particularly the Comanche and Kiowa.
  • Nǐ’chihině’na, Arapaho name, meaning “river man.”
  • Quichuan, given by La Harpe (1831) and probably this tribe.
  • Te’pdă’, ancient name for themselves, meaning “coming out.”
  • Tepki’nägo, own name, meaning “people coming out.”
  • Tideing Indians, Lewis and Clark (1904-5).
  • Vi’täpätúi, name used by the Sutaio.
  • Wi’tapahatu, Dakota name, meaning “island butte people.” (The Cheyenne name was similar.)

Kiowa Connections. Though long considered a separate linguistic stock, the researches of J. P. Harrington make it evident that the Kiowa were connected with the Tanoan stock as the Kiowa-Tanoan stock and probably with the Shoshonean stock also.

Kiowa Location. The best-known historic location of these people was a plot of territory including contiguous parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. (See also Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming.)

Kiowa Subdivisions. The bands constituting their camp circle, beginning on the east and passing round by the south were: Kata, Kogui, Kaigwu, Kingep, Semat (i. e., Apache), and Kongtalyui.

Kiowa Indians History. According to tradition, the Kiowa at one time lived at the head of Missouri River near the present Virginia City. Later they moved down from the mountains and formed an alliance with the Crows but were gradually forced south by the Arapaho and Cheyenne, while the Dakota claim to have driven them from the Black Hills. They made peace with the Arapaho and Cheyenne in 1840 and afterward acted with them. When they reached the Arkansas, they found the land south of it claimed by the Comanche. These people were at first hostile, but after a time peace was made between the two tribes, the Kiowa passed on toward the south, and the two ever after acted as allies. Together they constantly raided Mexican territory, advancing as far south as Durango. The Kiowa were among the most bitter enemies of the Americans. They were placed on a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma in 1868 along with the Comanche and Kiowa Apache and have now been allotted lands in severalty.

Kiowa Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 2,000 in 1780. In 1905 their population was 1,165; the census of 1910 gave it as 1,126, and the United States Indian Office Report for 1923, 1,679. including the Kiowa Apache. The census of 1930 returned 1,050, but in 1937 the United States Office of Indian Affairs reported 2,263.

Connection in which the Kiowa Indians have become noted. The Kiowa were one of the leading tribes on the southern Plains and were surpassed only by the Comanche and Apache in the raids which they undertook into Mexico. The name has become affixed to counties in Colorado and Kansas, a creek in Colorado; and small places in Barber County, Kansas; Pittsburg County, Oklahoma; and Elbert County, Colorado.

See Further: Kiowa Apache Tribe

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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