The Kiowa and Comache of Kansas

The Kiowa enjoy the distinction of constituting alone a linguistie family of North American Indians. The name comes from their word Ka-i-gwu, meaning “Principal People.” They lived first on the Yellowstone and the Upper Missouri. From thence they began a southern movement which brought them to notice in historic times along the Upper Arkansas and Canadian rivers. At one time, in their migration, they were in alliance with the Crows. They were at war with the Arapahos and Cheyenne until about 1840, when they began to act in concert with those tribes. They are said by plainsmen to be the most cruel and blood-thirsty of the Plains tribes. They are supposed to have killed more whites than any other tribe in proportion to their number. They were confederated with the Comanches, and, with those American Arabs, raided far into Mexico.

The tribal divisions on which the social organization rests are as follows:

  1. Kata
  2. Kogui
  3. Kaigwu
  4. Kingep
  5. Semat
  6. Kongtalyui
  7. Kuato (now extinct)


The tribe is now in Oklahoma, between the Washita and Red rivers. They ceded their lands in Kansas in a treaty to which the Comanche were a party, and which will be noticed in connection with that tribe.

The Comanche were of the Shoshonean linguistic stock. They formerly dwelt with kindred tribes in Southern Wyoming. They were driven south by the Sioux and other tribes with whom they warred. In the early history of the plains they were known as Paduca, the name given them by the Sioux. They lived at one time on the North Platte, which was known as the Paduca Fork as late as 1805. They were said to have roamed from that stream to Bolson de Mapimi, in Chihuahua. They were the finest horsemen that rode the Great Plains, and as buffalo hunters none excelled them. To the Americans they were usually friendly, but they were at war with the Mexican Spaniards for more than two hundred years.

The clan system had ceased to exist in the Comanches. They may, in fact, never have had it. The tribe is separated into divisions or bands, as follows:

  1. Detsanayuka, or Nokoni
  2. Ditsakana, Widyu, Yapa, or Yamparika
  3. Kewatsana
  4. Kotsai
  5. Kotsoteka
  6. Kwahari, or Kawhadi
  7. Motsai
  8. Pagatsu
  9. Penateka, or Penande
  10. Pohoi
  11. Tenima
  12. Tenawa, or Tenahwit

On the 18th of October, 1865, at a camp on the Little Arkansas River, in Kansas, the Comanches and Kiowa made a treaty with the United States, by which they ceded all their lands lying in Kansas, and other lands. The tract in Kansas was that part of the State south of the Arkansas River immediately west of the Osage lands. The line between the lands of the Osages and the Comanches and Kiowa ran from a point on the Arkansas River about six miles west of Dodge City south to the state-line.

The cession of the Comanches and Kiowa divested the original Indian owners of the last acre of land they owned in Kansas. Much of this land was given by the Government to other Indians. These were known as the Emigrant Indian Tribes. They were moved to Kansas by the United States as title to their lands were extinguished in the states east of the Mississippi. Most of the Emigrant tribes were given land in Kansas in exchange for their lands further east which the white man required for settlement as he increased his numbers in his westward conquest and occupation of American soil.

One of the reasons entertained by Jefferson for the purchase of Louisiana was that it would afford land for the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi. The English could never sit down and live in a country with people of another nationality. They exterminated and drove out the Gaelic tribes of Britain. They desired an exclusive possession of the land. That was their policy in America. It was continued by the United States. 1

In the report of Lewis and Clark, 1806, to Jefferson, this policy is mentioned in discussing the lands of the Osages. The report says: “I think two villages, on the Osage River, might be prevailed on to remove to the Arkansas, and the Kansas, higher up the Missouri, and thus leave a sufficient scope of country for the Shawnee, Dillewar, Miame, and Kickapoo.”Citations:

  1. This subject is well treated in the History of Baptist Indian Missions, by Isaac McCoy, pp. 30 to 41.[]


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