Infobox Ethnic group

poptime=14,000 []
popplace=United States (Oklahoma)
rels=Christianity and Native American Church
langs=English, Kiowa
related=Linguistic affiliation with Tanoan speakers

The Kiowa (pronEng|ˈkaɪoʊwə) are a nation of American Indians who migrated from what is now Canada to their present location in Southwestern Oklahoma. Today the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma is federally recognized, with approximately 14,000 members. Kiowa refer to themselves as Kgoy-goo [kaw-eh-goo [pronounced] or 'koy-goo' [short] } meaning "the principal people" in their tribal language.

The word "Kiowa" originated after their migration through what the Kiowa refer to as "The Mountains of the Kiowa." This location is in the present eastern edge of Glacier National Park, Montana, just below the Canadian border. The mountain pass they came through was heavily populated by grizzly bear and Blackfoot people. The Blackfoot word for "grizzly bear" is "Kgyi-yo." Kgyi-yo was corrupted in English as the root translation for the word Kiow-a. Today, Kiowa, Montana is located on the very spot where ancient Kiowa passed through on their southward migration from Canada.

Other tribes who encountered the Kiowa used sign language to describe them by holding two stationary fingers near the lower outside edge of the eye and moving these stationary fingers back past the ear. This corresponded to the ancient Kiowa hairstyle cut horizontally from the lower outside edge of the eyes to the back of their ears. This was a functional practice to keep their hair from getting tangled as an arrow was let loose from a bow string. George Catlin painted Kiowa warriors with this hairstyle.

The Kiowas are considered nomadic hunter-gatherers. They migrated with the buffalo because it was their main food source.


In the early spring of 1790, at the place that would become Las Vegas, New Mexico, a Kiowa party lead by war leader Guikate made an offer of peace to a Comanche party while both were visiting the home of a friend of both tribes. This led to a later meeting between Guikate and the head chief of the Nokoni Comanches. The two groups made an alliance to share the same hunting grounds and entered into a mutual defense pact. From that time on, the Comanches and Kiowa hunted, traveled, and made war together. An additional group, the Plains Apache (also called Kiowa-Apache), affiliated with the Kiowa at this time.

The Kiowa lived a typical Plains Indian lifestyle. Mostly nomadic, they survived on buffalo meat and gathered vegetables, lived in lodges, and depended on their horses for hunting and military uses. From their hunting grounds south of the Arkansas River the Kiowa were notorious for long-distance raids as far west as the Grand Canyon region, south into Mexico and Central America, and north into Canada.

Famous Kiowa leaders were Dohäsan (Tauhawsin), Over-Hanging Butte, alias Little Mountain, alias Little Bluff; Guipahgah (Old Chief Lonewolf), alias Guibayhawgu (Rescued From Wolves); sub-leaders Satanta and Satank. In 1871 Satanta and Big Tree were accused, arrested, transported and confined at Fort Richardson, Texas, after being convicted by a "cowboy jury" in the Trial of Satanta and Big Tree in Jacksboro, Texas, for participating in the Warren Wagon Train Raid. During the transport to Fort Richardson, Satank was shot in an escape attempt by accompanying cavalry troops near Fort Sill, Indian Territory.

Indian Wars

After 1840 the Kiowas, with their former enemies the Cheyennes, as well as their allies the Comanches and the Apaches, fought and raided the Eastern natives moving into the Indian Territory. The United States military intervened, and in the Treaty of Medicine Lodge of 1867 the Kiowa agreed to settle on a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma. Some bands of Kiowas remained at large until 1875.

On August 6, 1901 Kiowa land in Oklahoma was opened for white settlement, effectively dissolving the contiguous reservation. While each Kiowa head of household was allotted 160 acres (320,000 m²), the only land remaining in Kiowa tribal ownership today is what was the scattered parcels of 'grass land' which had been leased to the white settlers for grazing before the reservation was opened for settlement.Fact|date=September 2008


was a prolific producer of this art who chronicled his experiences before and at the Fort. Traditionally the artist's media for their pictographic images were natural objects and animal skins, but for the Kiowa in captivity the lined pages of the white man's record keeping books became a popular substitute, thus the name "ledger art".

Twentieth century Kiowa artists include the Kiowa Five, a group of artists who studied at the University of Oklahoma. The "Five" referred to are the male members of the group. The pictographic art form known as "ledger art" was an Indian art form which had historically been dominated by the male members of the plains culture. However, the "Five" actually had a sixth member, a woman named [ Lois Smokey] . Another prolific and significant pre-Kiowa Five artisan during the early twentieth century was Silverhorn. Well known Kiowa artists of the later twentieth century include Bobby Hill (White Buffalo), Robert Redbird, Roland N. Whitehorse, and T. C. Cannon. The pictographic art of contemporary and traditional artist Sherman Chaddlesone has revived the ledger art form that was absent in most of the art of the Second Generation Modernists that had developed since Silverhorn and the Kiowa Five. Chaddlesone studied under Native American masters Allan Houser and Fritz Scholder and is considered a versatile and [ widely respected artist] .

The influence of Kiowa art and the revival of the plains ledger art is also illustrated in the early work of Cherokee-Creek female artist Virginia Stroud and Spokane artist [ George Flett] . While Stroud is of Cherokee-Creek descent, she was raised by a Kiowa family and the traditions of that [ culture] , and the influence of the Kiowa tradition is evident in her early pictographic images.

Kiowa author N. Scott Momaday won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for his novel "House Made of Dawn". Other Kiowa authors include playwright Hanay Geiogamah, poet and film maker Gus Palmer, Jr., Alyce Sadongei, and Tocakut.

Kiowa music is often noted for its hymns that were traditionally accompanied by dance or played on the flute. Traditional performers include [ Cornel Pewewardy] and Phillip "Yogi" Bread. Contemporary Kiowa musicians include Kiowa-Comanche flutist Tom Mauchahty-Ware.

See also

* Kiowa County
* Kiowa language
* Comanche
* Native American tribes in Nebraska


In the book "The Things They Carried" (By Tim O' Brien), the word Kiowa is mentioned as a Native American character, as a soldier in the Vietnam War, with his dad being a preacher from Oklahoma City.


*Boyd, Maurice (1983). "Kiowa Voices: Myths, Legends and Folktales". Texas Christian University Press. ISBN 0-912646-76-4
*Corwin, Hugh (1958)." The Kiowa Indians, their history and life stories".
*Hoig, Stan (2000). "The Kiowas and the Legend of Kicking Bird". Boulder: The University Press of Colorado. ISBN 0-87081-564-4
*Mishkin, Bernard (1988). "Rank and Warfare Among The Plains Indians". AMS Press. ISBN 0-404-62903-2
*Richardson, Jane (1988). "Law & Status Among the Kiowa Indians (American Ethnological Society Monographs; No 1)". AMS Press. ISBN 0-404-62901-6
*Nye, Colonel W.S. (1983). "Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill". Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-1856-3
*Momaday, N. Scott (1977). "The Way to Rainy Mountain". University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0-8263-0436-2
*Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Resource Center.
*Viola, Herman (1998). "Warrior Artists: Historic Cheyenne and Kiowa Indian Ledger Art Drawn By Making Medicine and Zotom". National Geographic Society. ISBN 0-7922-7370-2

External links

* [ Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma (official site)]
* [ Kiowa Indians on Encarta Encyclopedia]
* [ Kiowa Comanche Apache Indian Territory Project]
* [ Kiowa Collection: Selections from the Papers of Hugh Lenox Scott]
* [ Photographs of Kiowa Indians] hosted by the [ Portal to Texas History]
* [ "The Handbook of Texas Online:" Kiowa Indians]
*Sketch of a [ Chief of the Kiowas] from [ "A pictorial history of Texas, from the earliest visits of European adventurers, to AD 1879"] , hosted by the [ Portal to Texas History] .
* [ Kiowa ledger drawing in the Smithsonian] .
* [ The Kiowa Five] .
*CathEncy|wstitle=Kiowa Indians

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