Kiowa Apache Tribe

Kiowa Apache. A small Athapascan tribe, associated with the Kiowa from the earliest traditional period and forming a component part of the Kiowa tribal circle, although preserving its distinct language. They call themselves Na-ishañ-dina, ‘our people’. In the earliest French records of the 17th century, in Lewis and Clark’s narrative, full in their first treaty in 1837, they are called by various forms of ‘Gattacka’, the name by which they are known to the Pawnee; and they are possibly the Kaskaia, ‘Bad Hearts, of Long in 1820. The Kiowa call them by the contemptuous title Semät, ‘Thieves’, a recent substitute for the older generic terra Tagúi, applied also to other Athapascan tribes. They are commonly known as Kiowa Apache, under the mistaken impression, arising front the fact of their Athapascan affinity, that they are a detached hand of the Apache of Arizona. On the contrary, they have never had any political connection with the Apache proper, and were probably unaware of their existence until about a century ago. A few Mescalero Apache from New Mexico are now living with them, and individuals of the two tribes frequently exchange visits, but this friendly intimacy is of only 60 or 80 years’ standing. The Kiowa Apache did not emigrate from the southwest into the plains country, but carm with the Kiowa from the north west plains region, where they lay the scene of their oldest traditions. It, is probable that the Kiowa Apache, like the cognate Sarsi, have come down along the east base of the Rocky Mountains from the great Athapascan body of the Mackenzie river basin instead of along the chain of the sierras, and that, finding themselves too weak to stand alone, they took refuge with the Kiowa, as the Sarsi have done with the Blackfeet. As they are practically a part of the Kiowa it everything but language, they need no extended separate notice.

Kiowa Apache History

Their authentic history begins nearly 70 years earlier than that of the Kiowa, they being first mentioned under the name Gattacka by La Salle in 1681 or 1682, writing fron a post in what is now Illinois. He says that the Pana (Pawnee) live more than 200 leagues to the west on one of the tributaries of the Mississippi, and are “neighbors and allies of the Gattacka and Manrhoat, who are south of their village and who sell to them horses which they probably steal from the Spaniards in New Mexico.” It is therefore plain that the Kiowa Apache (and formerly also the Kiowa) ranged even at this early period in the sauce general region where they were known more than a century later, namely between the Platte anti the frontier of New Mexico and that they already had horses taken front the Spanish settlements. It appears also that they were then in friendship with the Pawnee, unless, as seems more probable, by Pana is meant the Arikara, all offshoot of the Pawnee proper and old trading friends of the Kiowa and the Kiowa Apache. From the fact that they traded horses to other tribes, and that La Salle proposed to supply himself from them or their neighbors, it is not impossible that they sometimes visited the French post on Peoria lake.

In 1719 La Harpe speaks of them, under the name of Quataquois, as living in connection with the Tawakoni and other affiliated tribes in a village on the Cimarron near its junction with the Arkansas, in the present Creek Nation, Okla. In 1805 Lewis and Clark described the Kiowa Apache as living between the heads of the two forks of Cheyenne river in the Black Hills region of northeast Wyoming, and numbering 300 in 25 tipis. The Kiowa then lived on the North Platte, and both tribes had the same alliances and general customs. They were rich in horses, which they sold to the Arikara and Mandan.

In 1837, in connection with the Kiowa and Tawakoni, the Kiowa Apache (under the name Kataka) made their first treaty with the Government. Their subsequent history is that of the Kiowa. In 1853 they are mentioned as a warlike band ranging the waters of Canadian river in the same great plains occupied by the Comanche, with whom they often joined in raiding expeditions.

By the treaty of Little Arkansas in 1865 they were detached at their own request from the Kiowa and attached to the Cheyenne and Arapaho on account of the unfriendly attitude of the Kiowa toward the whites; but the arrangement had no practical force, and in the treaty of Medicine Lodge, in 1867, they were formally reunited with the Kiowa, although a part of them continued to live with the Cheyenne and Arapaho until after the readjustment at the close of the outbreak of 1874-75. In keeping with the general conduct of the tribe they remained peaceable and friendly throughout these troubles.

In 1891 their population was 325; together with the Kiowa they suffered terribly in 1892 from an epidemic of measles and fever, losing more than one-fourth of their number. In 1905 they numbered only 155.


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

3 thoughts on “Kiowa Apache Tribe”

  1. I’m trying to find my heritage my great great grandmother was full blooded Indian, my great great great grandfather was Irish. No one has a clue what his real last name is. I don’t buy it. He is one of twelve siblings is what I have been led to believe, and this is why he left his family and heritage behind. Changing his real name in the process. Well in that day in age, if you come from a family of twelve syblings, leave them and the family business behind. Know seventeen different languages, are 6’4″ and married a 4’11” full blooded Indian. Made and spent two Fortune’s in his lifetime, I don’t get why I have been left in the dark and don’t know who I really am and why I don’t really fit in really. I feel life, I don’t live it. Is there any way to find out who they are if all my elders have passed away and I have very little to go on?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Access Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top