Kickapoo Indians

Kickapoo Indians. From Kiwegapaw`, “he stands about,” “he moves about, standing now here, now there.” Also called:

  • A’-uyax, Tonkawa name, meaning “deer eaters.”
  • Higabu, Omaha and Ponca name.
  • I’-ka-dŭ’, Osage name.
  • Shake-kah-quah, Wichita name.
  • Shígapo, Shikapu, Apache name.
  • Sik’-a-pu, Comanche name.
  • Tékapu, Huron name.
  • Yuatara’ye-ru’nu, a second Huron name, meaning “tribe living around the lakes.”

Kickapoo Connections. The Kickapoo belonged to the Algonquian linguistic stock, and in a special group with the Foxes and Sauk.

Kickapoo Villages. The villages were:

  • Etnataek (shared with the Foxes), rather a fortification than a village, near the Kickapoo village on Sangamon River, Illinois.
  • Kickspougowi, on the Wabash River in Crawford County, Illinois, about opposite the mouth of Turman Creek.

Kickapoo Location. For territory occupied in Wisconsin, see History. (See also Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma.)

Kickapoo History. As suggested in the case of the Foxes, the Kickapoo may once have lived near the Sauk in the lower peninsula of Michigan but such a residence cannot be proven. If the name Outitcbakouk used by the Jesuit missionary Druillettes refers to this tribe, as seems probable, knowledge of them was brought to Europeans in 1658. At any rate they were visited by Allouez about 1667-70 and were then near the portage between Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, perhaps about Alloa, Columbia County, Wisconsin. Early in the eighteenth century a part of them settled somewhere near Milwaukee River, and after the destruction of the Illinois about 1765, they moved still farther south and lived about Peoria. One portion then pushed down to the Sangamon, while another worked east to the Wabash, and made their headquarters on Vermilion River. The former became known as the Prairie band and the latter as the Vermilion band. They took part against the colonists in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War, but in 1837 a hundred of them were engaged to assist the United States Government against the Seminole. In 1809 and 1819 they ceded their lands in Illinois and soon removed to Missouri and thence to Kansas. About 1852 a large party of Kickapoo, along with some Potawatomi, went to Texas and thence to Mexico, where they became known as “Mexican Kickapoo.” In 1863 another dissatisfied band joined them, and though in 1873 part were induced to return to Indian Territory, and others afterward followed, nearly half the tribe remained and were granted a reservation in the Santa Rosa Mountains of eastern Chihuahua. The remainder are divided between Oklahoma and Kansas.

Kickapoo Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1650 there were 2,000 Kickapoo. In 1759 they were estimated at 3,000; in 1817, at 2,000; and in 1825, at 2,200. In 1875 those in the United States were officially estimated at 706 and there were supposed to be about 100 more in Mexico. In 1885 those in the United States were estimated at 500 and those in Mexico at 200. In 1905, 247 were reported in Oklahoma and 185 in Kansas, a total of 432, and almost as many more were thought to be in Mexico. The census of 1910 returned 348 in the United States, of whom 211 were in Kansas and 135 in Oklahoma. In 1923 the United States Indian Office gave 277 in Kansas and 200 in Oklahoma, total 477. In 1930 there were 523, half in Kansas and half in Oklahoma. In 1937, 332 were returned from Kansas and 260 from Oklahoma.

Connection in which the Kickapoo have become noted. The Kickapoo have given their name to a river in Wisconsin, creeks in Illinois and Texas, and some small places in these States and Kansas.

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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