Dohasan

Dohasan


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Dohäsan, born about 1805, was a chief of the Kiowa Apache. What is recorded is that he was the son of a chief named Dohá (Bluff), and a significant member of a long line of chiefs among the Kiowa. He was celebrated as both a fierce warrior and an insightful administrator.Dohäsan had many names. Dohäsan’s name was hereditary; it translates as "Little Mountain," "Little Bluff," or "Top-of-the-Mountain." He was of the Kata band of Kiowa.Massacre, dishonor, and new leadershipIn late spring, 1833, principal Kiowa chief Dohate's¹ camp at Cutthroat Gap, near the head of Otter Creek in Indian Territory (Oklahoma), was attacked by the Osage Indians. A few warriors who had not previously departed with others to hunt buffalo or raid the Pawnee, were annihilated as well.When members of the hunting party returned, they found the camp laid waste with headless bodies strewn about. When they left, the Osage took two prisoners, several horses, and the Kiowas' sacred Tai-me medicine bundle². Following the massacre, the people held a tribal council, removed the dishonored Dohate as principal chief of the Kiowa, and named Dohäsan to replace him.Treaties and Pax RomanaDuring his tenure as chief, Dohäsan signed several treaties, including, but not limited to, the following:

The Fort Gibson Treaty, signed in May 1837, by which the United States government sought to

  • Legalize the government's right to create roads, highways, and military reservations within tribal lands.
  • Legitimize the government’s right to prescribe and enforce rules and regulations with regard to the Indian tribes.
  • Create perpetual peace among the white settlers, people traveling through tribal land, and the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache.
  • Create a sustainable peace among the various Indian tribes.
  • Stop Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache warlike incursions into Mexico.
  • End the taking of Mexican captives and the safe return of those already taken captive.
  • Establish reparations between the Indian tribes and the governments of the U.S. and Mexico for acts committed by either side.
  • Establish a punitive clause against the failure of the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache to fulfill their part of the treaty.
  • The Fort Atkinson Treaty of July 27, 1852, which

  • Provided for peaceful relations between the U.S. people and the Indians.
  • Granted the United States the right to use land for roads, depots, and military posts.
  • Promised restitution for injuries sustained by either side.
  • Provided against Indian attacks in Mexican territory.
  • Called for the restoration of captives.
  • Set up annuities of $18,000 (in the form of merchandise and provisions) to be paid to the Indians for 10 years, with the possibility of Presidential extension of payments for five additional years.
  • The Little Arkansas Treaty of October 1865, which

  • Dissolved the confederation of the Apache, Kiowa, and Comanche.
  • Created the Confederation of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Apache.
  • Declared perpetual peace between the Indians and Government of the United States.
  • Declared that the Indians shall forever remain in a state of peace with each other and with all other Indians friendly to the Government of the United States.
  • Despite signing several treaties, Dohäsan held little regard for the white man and his agreements. He believed that Indians should fight to retain their lands and rights as a free people. Dohäsan vigorously protested confinement to a reservation, and asserted that the Kiowas owned all the land from the North Platte River in Wyoming to the upper Texas Panhandle and needed room to roam.Raids and war partiesDohäsan and his followers frequented the Texas Panhandle, particularly the Canadian River valley. In the summer of 1851, he led a war party against the Pawnees near the head of Medicine Lodge Creek in Kansas. In 1857, he successfully led his warriors out of an ambush by the Mexican military at Hueco Tanks near El Paso. In 1859, Dohäsan received a gift of an old army ambulance wagon as a goodwill gesture by Major John Sedgwick and his troops. Dohäsan never learned how to drive the wagon, so he had young braves ride and guide the team of horses.Attack at Adobe WallsIn November 1864, during a winter campaign against the Kiowa nation, Colonel Christopher H. (Kit) Carson's force of more than 300 soldiers attacked and burned a camp of 150 lodges and supplies of dried meats, berries, and buffalo robes, at the first battle of Adobe Walls on the Canadian River, Texas. Dohäsan and other warriors succeeded in repulsing the attack, showing great bravery against superior numbers. Luckily, the old chief managed to warn the villages farther down the river. During the engagement, Dohäsan lost his prized wagon to the army forces.In 1865, the Kiowa Apache officially became part of the Cheyenne according to terms of the Treaty of the Little Arkansas River.Legacy of a great man’s deathIn early 1866, Dohäsan died at age 61, not in battle, but at the hands of a private citizen. His death created a leadership dispute among potential successors, which also exerted a destabilizing effect on the relationship between the Kiowa and white America, setting off an increase of Kiowa hostilities. The old freedom fighter's name was bestowed upon his son, also a distinguished warrior.


    ¹ Also known as A’date.
    ² Tai-me was the Sun Dance talisman of the Kiowas, whose safekeeping was the responsibility of an official Tai-me keeper. The most powerful medicine in the tribe, Tai-me was exhibited for viewing only during the Sun Dance.


    Chief Satanta attacks wagon trains, killing teamsters

    The Kiowa Chief Satanta joins with other Native Americans to massacre a wagon train near the Red River in northeastern Texas.

    One of the leading chiefs of the Kiowa in the 1860s and 1870s, Satanta was a fearsome warrior but also a skilled orator and diplomat. He helped negotiate and signed treaties with the U.S. establishing a Kiowa reservation in Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), but Satanta remained resistant to government efforts to force the Kiowa to abandon their nomadic ways. The 1867 treaty allowed the Kiowa periodically to leave the reservation to hunt buffalo, but for more than a year, Satanta and other Kiowa continued to hunt and never even set foot on reservation lands. Fearing the Kiowa hunters would never come to the reservation, in late 1868 General Philip Sheridan had them arrested and brought in by force.

    From the start, Satanta detested reservation life. He did not intend to become a farmer, a chore he considered to be women’s work. In 1870, when the Indian agent finally agreed that they could leave on another of the hunts provided for by the treaty, Satanta and several Kiowa rode off to Texas in search of buffalo. Along the way, they raided several white settlers, but the Kiowa were not identified and later returned to the reservation.

    The following spring, Satanta grew more aggressive. He joined a large party of other Kiowa and Commanche who bridled under the restrictions of the reservation and determined to leave. Heading south to Texas, the Indians eluded army patrols along the Red River and crossed into Texas. On this day in 1871, they spotted a wagon train traveling along the Butterfield Trail. Hoping to steal guns and ammunition, the warriors attacked the 10 freight trains, killing seven teamsters. They let the remaining drivers escape while they looted the wagons.

    Again, Satanta and the other warriors returned to the reservation. Informed of the Texas raid, the Indian agent asked if any of his charges had participated. Amazingly, Satanta announced that he had led the raid, and that their poor treatment on the reservation justified it. “I have repeatedly asked for arms and ammunition,” he explained, “which you have not furnished, and made many other requests, which have not been granted.”

    Taken to Texas for trial, Satanta was sentenced to hang, but the penalty was later commuted to life in prison. Besieged with humanitarian requests, the Texas governor paroled Satanta back to the reservation in 1873. The following summer, Satanta again led war parties off the reservations, this time to participate in the Red River War from 1874 to 1875. By October 1875, Satanta and his allies were again forced to surrender.

    Despite his vocal protests that he preferred execution to imprisonment, Satanta was returned to the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville. He fell into a deep depression, refused to eat and slowly began to starve to death. Transferred to the prison hospital in 1878, he died by suicide by leaping headfirst from a second-story window.


    Dohasan

    Dohasan (”lilla berget/klippan” eller ”bergets topp”) var kiowaindian och överhövding för sin stam från 1833 eller 1834 till sin död 1866. Han tillhörde den kiowafraktion som kallades Kata (”de biter”). Man vet inte mycket om Dohasans liv före sommaren 1833, som av kiowaerna kallas ”sommaren de högg av deras huvuden”, vilket syftar på osagernas överraskningsanfall på en kiowaby. Osagerna högg av sina besegrade fienders huvuden och lade dem i kiowaernas egna koppargrytor. Byn tillhörde kiowaernas överhövding A'date (”Ömannen”) som ansågs ha handlat försumligt och avsattes. Efter en tids förhandlingar tillsattes Dohasan som ny överhövding, vilket innebär att han vid den tidpunkten måste ha varit en välmeriterad ledare med lång erfarenhet. Hans födelseår är okänt men han bör ha varit omkring 30-40 år gammal när han utsågs till ledare.

    Konstnären George Catlin lyckades utverka tillstånd av USA:s krigsministerium att följa med på överste Henry Dodges expedition till Red River som utgick från Fort Gibson 21 juni 1834 och tack vare det vet vi på ett ungefär hur Dohasan såg ut (se bilden). Vad han sade om besöket vet man också:

    ”The American captain has spoken well today the white men have shown themselves our friends. If a white man ever comes to my country, he shall be kindly treated if he wants a horse, or anything that I have, he shall not pay for it I will give him what he wants.”

    Den 26 maj 1837 gjorde kiowaerna sin svarsvisit i Fort Gibson och undertecknade det första fredsavtalet mellan USA och ”The Kiowa Nation”. Avtalet, som också undertecknades av muskogee- och osagestammarna, gav USA:s medborgare rätten att färdas genom indianområden till Texas och Mexiko. Dohasan var en av de tio ledande kiowaer som undertecknade avtalet. På USA:s vägnar undertecknade general Montfort Stokes och överste Auguste Pierre Chouteau.

    Indianerna underströk dock att avtalet inte innebar några förpliktelser gentemot Mexiko och Texas (som då inte hörde till USA). Texasborna bedrev nämligen sedan en tid en aggressiv indianpolitik som syftade till en etnisk rensning av Texas och detta drabbade särskilt comancherna. Även deras allierade kiowaerna betraktade texasborna som sina värsta fiender och en nation som det (till skillnad från USA) var meningslöst att skriva avtal med, eftersom ”Tejannas” var kända för att regelmässigt ha brutit varje avtal de ingått med indianerna.

    Dohasan hade redan vid tiden för överste Dodges besök påbörjat förhandlingar med en handelsman, William Bent, om byggandet av en handelsstation vid South Canadian River som komplement till den 1833 vid Arkansas River färdigställda handelsstationen Bent's Fort. Den nya handelsstationen, senare känd som Adobe Walls, blev färdig strax före 1840 och erbjöd en arena för regelbundna kontakter som Dohasan uttryckligen önskat sig. Något senare, år 1840, slöt kiowastammen och comancherna fred med cheyenner och arapahoer som de varit i krig med sedan 1826. Dohasan ledde kiowaernas förhandlare bland vilka även fanns den legendariske krigsledaren Satank. I detta sammanhang, liksom i kontakterna med USA, framstår Dohasan som en uttalad fredspolitiker.

    När det gällde kontakterna med Texas var bilden en annan. Texas eftersträvade aktivt en inkorporering av New Mexico och skickade 1841 trupper mot Santa Fe. När dessa gjorde intrång på kiowaernas territorium blev de omedelbart angripna. Fem kavallerister dödades och skalperades av kiowaerna i ett snabbt anfall, varefter indianerna försvann från platsen. Förföljande texaner tvingades efter ett tag konstatera att kiowaerna inte bara uppvisade ”extraordinary horsemanship” deras hästar var dessutom både snabbare och uthålligare än texanernas.

    Trots Dohasans fredssträvanden kunde han inte hindra sin stam från att dras in i de nordamerikanska indiankrigens slutfas. Kiowaerna accepterade aldrig Texas som en legitim del av USA efter inträdet i unionen, utan fortsatte att betrakta texasborna som en annan och betydligt fientligare stam än USA. Kiowaerna skrev på nya avtal med USA men visade i handling att Texas inte omfattades av dem och på 1860-talet såg man det amerikanska inbördeskriget som en bekräftelse på sitt antagande att Texas och USA i grunden var fientligt inställda till varandra. Motsättningarna hårdnade under detta årtionde och kiowaerna befann sig snart i krig även mot USA, ett krig som i praktiken pågick till 1874.


    Kiowa - Southern Alliance with the Comanche

    After the Southern Kiowa left the Black Hills, they had to forge an alliance with their former enemies, the Comanche. The Sioux expansions had also pushed the Comanche south. When the Southern Kiowa arrived at a Spanish settlement in present-day New Mexico around 1790, they discovered that the Comanche were camped nearby and prepared for a fight. The Spanish intervened and pushed for peace, hoping that peace between the two tribes would create a buffer of friendly tribes between the Spanish settlements and the French traders who were making ventures towards them. The two tribes agreed to negotiate for peace.

    The Kiowa delegation was represented by Guikate (Wolf Lying-Down). The Comanche leader, Pareiyi (Afraid-of-Water), could not agree to peace before consulting with all the Comanche leaders, but he invited Guikate to be a guest of the Comanche. Guikate agreed but warned that, if he were killed, it would provoke a war. He traveled with the Comanche for one year and was treated with respect. When he returned to the Kiowa, he testified that the Comanche were honorable and trustworthy to the Kiowa chief, Poliakya. By the end of 1790, the two tribes formed a lasting alliance for mutual benefit.

    The Kiowa and Comanche alliance swiftly made them the dominant tribes of the southern plains. The combined territory spanned from the Texas panhandle to the Arkansas River in present-day Kansas. The Kiowa usually occupied the territory between the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers in present-day Kansas and Oklahoma. Together the Kiowa and Comanche pushed the Mescalero and Lipan Apache south and west into Mexico and New Mexico, the Tonkawa out of the southern plains and into central Texas, and the Wichita east of the Wichita Mountains in present-day Oklahoma. The Kiowa successfully traded with the Spanish and orchestrated raids on other tribes or European settlers to obtain guns and horses.

    The Spanish feared that tribes might attack their settlements in present-day New Mexico, and they banned the trade of firearms and ammunition to any Native Americans as a safeguard. The French and British had not banned the trade of firearms to Native Americans, which created a problem on the plains. Tribes like the Kiowa, who did not have easy access to French or British traders, had difficulty obtaining guns and ammunition. The Sioux had obtained many guns from the French in Canada, and as they aggressively expanded west across the Northern Plains, there was a great imbalance. The Northern Kiowa and other tribes were desperate to reach the Missouri River to trade for the firearms they needed to combat the Sioux, but the Sioux had already blockaded trade to the east.

    The Northern Kiowa finally evacuated their home in the Black Hills by 1804. They briefly lived in present-day western Nebraska en route to find the Southern Kiowa. The French trader, Baptiste Lalande, reported that the Sioux blocked the Kiowa from moving south to reunite with their kin in 1805. The Northern Kiowa were finally reunited with the Southern Kiowa in 1806 after 20 years of separation. The Northern Kiowa helped to strengthen the Kiowa and Comanche alliance, which had been weakened by a smallpox epidemic in 1801. Without an acquired immunity to the European illness, Native Americans had extremely high transmission rates. Nearly half of the Southern Kiowa died from the epidemic.

    The Kiowa attempted to make peace with the Sioux in 1815. They agreed to meet a Sioux delegation in present-day Colorado Springs, Colorado. The negotiations failed, and a Kiowa was killed by the Sioux delegation. Another smallpox epidemic decimated the Kiowa in 1816. Every tribe between the Rio Grande and Red River also suffered heavy losses that year thus, the Kiowa managed to hold their territory in the southern plains.

    Food was scarce during the summer of 1833 and so the principle chief of the Kiowa, A&rsquodate (Island Man), split the tribe into smaller bands. These bands were spread out over a large distance to increase the chances of finding enough food. Many of the warriors had left to participate in raids of the Ute and to hunt bison herds, leaving the camps highly vulnerable to attacks. A&rsquodate took his band to the Wichita Mountains in present-day Oklahoma. They made camp near their western border with the Osage, who posed the largest threat to the Kiowa and Comanche alliance.

    The Little Osage chief, Chetopa, led a war party to attack A&rsquodate&rsquos camp. The Osage warriors killed every man, woman, and child in four Kiowa lodges. They also killed the wife of the tai-me keeper and stole the tai-me. The Osage cut the heads off of the dead and placed them into kettles for the rest of the Kiowa to find as a warning. A&rsquodate escaped the attack but was removed from his position as principal chief. A&rsquodate was replaced by Dohasan (Little Bluff).

    Find more information about the Kiowa people:

    • Kiowa
    • Kiowa - Nomadic Hunters and the Horse
    • Kiowa - And the Bison
    • Kiowa - Social and Political Structure
    • Kiowa - Dog Soldiers and Warrior Societies
    • Kiowa - Religious Societies
    • Kiowa - Medicine
    • Kiowa - Sun Dance
    • Kiowa - Painters of the Plains
    • Kiowa - Women's Work
    • Kiowa - Early History and the First Divide
    • Kiowa - Fight for the Black Hills and the Great Division
    • Kiowa - Northern Struggle for the Black Hills
    • Kiowa - Southern Alliance with the Comanche
    • Kiowa - Reunion
    • Kiowa - Massacre
    • Kiowa - Early Relations with the United States
    • Kiowa - Suffering of the 1840s
    • Kiowa - Diplomacy in the 1850s
    • Kiowa - Intrusions and Era of Extermination
    • Kiowa - Medicine Lodge Treaty
    • Kiowa - Resistance and Bloodshed
    • Kiowa - Reluctant Surrender
    • Kiowa - Forced Assimilation
    • Kiowa - Dancing Memory
    • Kiowa - Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock
    • Kiowa - Early 20th Century
    • Kiowa - Peyote and the Native American Church
    • Kiowa - The Six
    • Kiowa - Roosevelt Administration and Federal Policy Changes
    • Kiowa - Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act
    • Kiowa - Political Divide and Escaping a New Threat
    • Kiowa - Litigation and the Indian Claims Commission
    • Kiowa - Late 20th Century
    • Kiowa - Influence on the Future

    Entry: Kiowa - Southern Alliance with the Comanche

    Author: Kansas Historical Society

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    Dohasan - History

    A Kiowa peace chief, Kicking Bird (T'ene-angopte, Striking Eagle) was of Kiowa and Crow descent. At the time of his birth the Kiowa inhabited western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and southwestern Kansas. A renowned warrior as a youth, Kicking Bird favored diplomacy as he matured. He signed the Little Arkansas Treaty in 1865, assumed leadership of the Kiowa peace faction after Dohasan's death in 1866, and marked the Medicine Lodge Treaty in 1867. Despite Bvt. Maj. Gen. George A. Custer's claim to the contrary, Kicking Bird did not participate in the Battle of the Washita in 1868.

    Kicking Bird's conciliatory views brought accusations of cowardice. In response he led a raid into Texas in 1870. His honor restored, Kicking Bird fought no more. He sought freedom for Satanta and Big Tree and promoted schooling for Kiowa children. His influence spared most Kiowa the hardships of the Red River War of 1874–75. Following that conflict he received recognition as principal chief. In that capacity he selected twenty-seven belligerent Kiowa for imprisonment in Florida. Kicking Bird died abruptly on May 3, 1875. His supporters claimed that he had been poisoned or cursed by his militant Kiowa enemies. He was buried in the Fort Sill cemetery.

    Bibliography

    Stan Hoig, The Kiowas and the Legend of Kicking Bird (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000).

    Mildred P. Mayhall, The Kiowas (2d ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971).

    Wilbur S. Nye, Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill (3d ed., rev., Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969).

    Morris F. Taylor, "Kicking Bird: A Chief of the Kiowas," Kansas Historical Quarterly 38 (Autumn 1972).

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    Citation

    The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
    Jon D. May, &ldquoKicking Bird,&rdquo The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=KI006.

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    Dohasan - History

    Dohasan II, the greatest chief in the history of the Kiowa tribe, in 1833 succeeded A‛dáte, who had been deposed for having allowed his people to be surprised and massacred by the Osage in that year. It was chiefly through his influence that peace was made between the Kiowa and Osage after the massacre referred to, which has never been broken.

    In 1862, when the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, Kiowa, and Kiowa Apache were assembled on Arkansas River to receive annuities, the agent threatened them with punishment if they did not cease their raids.

    Dohasan listened in perfect silence to the end, when he sprang to his feet, and calling the attention of the agent to the hundreds of tipis in the valley below, replied in a characteristic speech:

    “The white chief is a fool. He is a coward. His heart is small not larger than a pebble stone. His men are not strong too few to contend against my warriors. They are women.”

    “There are three chiefs the white chief, the Spanish chief, and my self. The Spanish chief and myself are men. We do bad toward each other sometimes stealing horses and taking scalps but we do not get mad and act the fool. The white chief is a child, and, like a child, gets mad quick.”

    “When my young men, to keep their women and children from starving, take from the white man passing through our country, killing and driving away our buffalo, a cup of sugar or coffee, the white chief is angry and threatens to send his soldiers.”

    “I have looked for them a long time, but they have not come. He is a coward. His heart is a woman’s. I have spoken. Tell the great chief what I have said.”


    The Arikara Band

    The Arikara band was so named because of their close trading relationship with the Arikaras in the upper Missouri valley during the tribe’s early recorded history. Because of their trading relationships with traders from the US, Spain, and the French, the Kiowa, and the Arikara in particular, were well known to European-Americans.

    Dohäsan was known to traders as early as the late 1820s. He gained a reputation as a fierce, but tricky, warrior and successful war chief.

    He was a member of the elite warrior society, the Koitsenko.

    Although his position as Chief of the Arikara band was hereditary, the Principal Chief of the entire Kiowa people was not a hereditary position. The elders of all the bands met together and elected the Principal Chief, and he generally held that position the rest of his life.

    Dohäsan became principal chief of the Kiowas in the spring of 1833, after the tribe elders and sub-chiefs deposed then-Principal Chief A’date. This followed the massacre of A’date’s village by Osages at Cutthroat Gap, near the head of Otter Creek in what became the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. Dohäsan was the last undisputed Principal Chief of the Kiowa Tribe while they were a free people.

    After A’date was deposed, and Dohäsan arose to become principal Chief of the entire Kiowa people, the United States Army became acquainted with Dohäsan.

    The massacre of an entire village of the Kiowa prompted the dragoon expedition of Colonel Henry Dodge to Western Oklahoma in the summer of 1834. Dohäsan was among those on hand to greet the colonel and his expedition.

    The purpose of the expedition was to end the ferocious fighting between the various Plains Tribes, and in May 1837 Dohasan was one of the principals who signed the Fort Gibson Treaty, by which the United States government sought to end intertribal warfare in Indian Territory.

    However, treaties did little to end the Kiowas’ frequent raids for horses and other plunder, and it is arguable whether they even slowed the fighting between the tribes. Texas was basically wide open to joint Kiowa-Comanche raids, and the annual raids into Mexico became a dreaded part of life in both Mexico proper and its northern states.

    In his raids, Dohasan and his tribesmen and allied Comanche came to live in the winter in the Staked Plains, especially along the Canadian River valley and Palo Duro Canyon, which served as a base for both wintering and the annual raids.

    At Palo Duro Canyon, on September 17, 1845, he was sketched by Lt. James W. Abert in his watercolor portfolio.

    In the summer of 1851 Dohäsan led a war party of the various Kiowa bands, and allied Comanches against the Pawnees near the head of Medicine Lodge Creek in Kansas, killing most of them.

    His name is again found in Army records in 1857 when he successfully led his warriors out of an ambush by Mexican soldiers at Hueco Tanks near El Paso Norte in Texas. The Mexicans had pursued the raiders north out of Mexico, and hoped to eliminate them. Instead, most of the Mexican troops were killed or wounded.

    The American Government was anxious to keep the Kiowa friendly as the Civil War beckoned, and in late 1859, as a goodwill gesture, Major John Sedgwick’s troops gave Top-Of-The-Mountain an old army ambulance wagon along with the usual presents.

    When he was unable to master the art of driving a team, Dohasan had a couple of Kiowa boys ride the harnessed horses as he sat in the driver’s seat.


    Carson Creek

    About six hours later we came to a spring of live water, a welcome sight after a long afternoon in the saddle. The air had been still and steamy along our course, and we had been pursued every step of the way by hordes of deer flies, a grayish insect about three times the size of a house fly. These loathsome creatures had the bite of an ice pick and drove our horses to distraction. Bill and I spent most of the day slapping flies on the necks of Suds and Dollarbill, and when we arrived at the spring on Carson Creek, our hands were covered with blood.

    We left the horses hobbled in a lush green meadow and made our camp in a hackberry grove beside the creek. While Bill went back to the meadow to doctor a gall on the mule, I kindled a fire and put the evening meal on to cook: rice and jerked beef simmered in bouillon broth, fried bacon, raisins, and sassafras tea. Jerked beef, once a staple in the diet of pioneers, can now be purchased in almost any quick-stop grocery store. I made our jerky from a recipe given to me by my grandmother, the late Mrs. B.B. Curry of Seminole, Texas. One summer evening, as we were sitting on her front porch, she told me about her childhood in the old Quaker community of Estacado in Crosby County, where she often saw strips of beef hanging on lines to dry in the sun.

    When Bill returned from the meadow, we spread a slicker on the ground beside the fire and sat down to a good hot meal. The jerky lacked the taste and flavor of the roast from which it had come, but we found it filling and satisfying. After supper, we nursed cups of hot sassafras tea and watched the sun slide behind a hill, until our growing shadows reminded us that we had chores to do before dark. Ordinarily, we would have pitched the tent, dug a trench around it, and covered our saddles with the tarp—normal precautions against rain. But it was a beautiful evening, without a cloud in the sky, and we decided that it could not possibly rain in the night. As a hedge against this prediction, we pitched the tent, though we did not bother to trench around it or roll out our bedding inside. We would sleep under the stars. As the cloak of night wrapped itself around the land, we crawled into our blankets on the banks of Carson Creek.

    After supper, we nursed cups of hot sassafras tea and watched the sun slide behind a hill, until our growing shadows reminded us that we had chores to do before dark.

    IT WAS IN THE WINTER OF 1864 that Colonel Christopher (Kit) Carson marched his men from Cimarron, New Mexico, to the creek in the Texas Panhandle which now bears his name.

    During the Civil War, the government in Washington had been forced to withdraw most of its troops from the frontier garrisons on the Southern Plains and to throw them into the war against the Confederacy. The Kiowas, Comanches, Southern Cheyennes, and Arapahos, by this time allied against the expansion of white civilization, took full advantage of the withdrawal. They attacked military posts and wagon trains in Kansas, pillaged the settlements below the Red River in Texas, and left the whole country in a state of panic. By the middle of 1864, Washington was flooded with reports of shocking depredations, and the decision was made to punish the Indians.

    Kit Carson, who had already distinguished himself as a scout under John Charles Fremont and as commander of the summer campaign against the Navahos, received his orders in October to march to the Canadian River to punish hostile Kiowas and Comanches, reported to be in their winter camps along the river valley. On November 6, Carson left Cimarron with 350 mounted men, seventy Ute and Apache scouts (some with wives), twenty-seven wagons, and two mountain howitzers.

    On November 24, Carson’s Indian scouts, enveloped in buffalo robes to protect themselves against the bitter cold, reported finding an encampment of one hundred and seventy-six teepees down the river. Carson ordered a night march to get his force within striking distance of the village, and early the next morning they attacked. In the first wave were the Utes and Apaches, wearing only their paint and feathers in the extreme cold. As Carson’s army advanced toward the village, the Kiowas fled in the opposite direction, the women and children to the hills, and the warriors downstream toward a large Comanche village four miles to the east. The soldiers entered the camp and began mopping up. The Indians who had not escaped—the old and sick—were executed by the Utes and Apaches. Then the Ute and Apache women fell to the grisly task of mutilating the bodies.

    It appeared that Carson had scored a decisive victory, and he issued the command to burn the village.

    But there were several factors he had not counted on. The first was the huge Comanche camp downriver. The second involved a Kiowa chief named Dohasan. It was Dohasan’s village that the soldiers were intent on destroying.

    After covering the retreat of the women and children, Dohasan and his men whipped their horses down the wide Canadian valley toward the Comanche camp. He must have felt the sting of humiliation as he galloped away, for he had not established himself as head chief of the Kiowas on his ability to run away from a fight. Stealing quick glances at the faces of his men, his mind drifted back to the year 1833.

    He must have felt the sting of humiliation as he galloped away, for he had not established himself as head chief of the Kiowas on his ability to run away from a fight.

    The Kiowa calendar identified 1833 as “the Year They Cut Off Our Heads,” and if you were a Kiowa you couldn’t speak of that year without feeling sick at heart. It was in the summer. Adate, the head chief at the time, had taken all the warriors out on a hunting expedition, leaving the women, children, and old people unguarded in camp. While the men were away, a party of Osages, blood enemies of the Kiowa tribe, fell upon the camp and massacred all the women who weren’t able to escape. When the Kiowa warriors returned home, they found their camp in ruins and the heads of their wives stuffed into cooking pots. Adate was stripped of his rank on the spot, and Dohasan, a young and brave warrior, was elevated to head chief.

    Dohasan remembered the ceremony. He had been tall and erect then, his fine head framed by long braids ornamented with silver brooches that reached to his knees. He had come to the ceremony dressed in his finest: a boar’s tusk and an eagle bone whistle around his neck, a mantle of red Spanish cloth, fringed leggings, and wide copper bands on his arms.

    In the years since, he had tried to be a good chief. He had represented his people at the peace table with the white soldiers in 1837. Then in 1840, when war became inevitable, he had formed an alliance with the five major tribes of Indians on the plains, a peace that had not been broken in twenty-four years. On long winter evenings, he had often looked back on his accomplishments with pride, but now he felt only the crushing weight of responsibility that went with his position. In the distance he heard the crack of a rifle, and then another, as more of his people died in the village, and the memory of the Osage Massacre and the disgrace of Adate swept through his mind.

    Hood-le-ty!” he cried to his men. “Hurry! Hurry!”

    At the Comanche camp they sounded the alarm. While Dohasan and Stumbling Bear rode down the line shouting encouragement to the Kiowas, One-Eyed Bear rallied his Comanche warriors. In less than an hour, Dohasan looked out on what seemed an ocean of warriors, estimated by historians to have been between a thousand and five thousand well-armed men. Their bows were strung, their rifles cocked, and their horses were snorting steam in the chilly air. It was the largest gathering of warriors he had ever seen.

    Dohasan gave the sign, and suddenly they were flying across the prairie. He felt the big gray stud beneath him getting low to the ground and reaching out with his powerful legs. The wind stung his cheeks and the sound of the warriors filled his ears. He felt good. The aches in his joints disappeared. The old wounds that plagued him every winter suddenly healed. It was for this lightning charge across the prairie that Dohasan had been born. That’s all a Kiowa could ask of life: a fleet horse, a good rifle, and an enemy to kill.

    It was for this lightning charge across the prairie that Dohasan had been born.

    Dohasan and his men fought bravely that day. The battle raged through the morning and into the afternoon. Though neither side suffered heavy casualties, by three in the afternoon Kit Carson realized that his position was deteriorating by the minute. Twelve years later, George Armstrong Custer faced similar odds at the Little Big Horn. He elected to stay and fight. Carson took one look at the superior force of Indians and gave the order to retreat. Later, Carson wrote that he had never seen a more impressive display of daring and bravery than that of Dohasan’s warriors. Historians have taken the compliment one step further by pointing out that had the retreat not been covered by cannon fire, Carson’s force would very likely have been cut to pieces.1

    IN OUR BEDROLLS ON CARSON CREEK one hundred and eight years later, Bill Ellzey and I faced an attack of another sort. At dusk, the still steamy bottom along the creek came alive with clouds of hungry mosquitoes. The insect dope we had applied to our arms, necks, and faces kept the tormentors from biting, but not from hovering and buzzing in our ears. Just as I dropped off to sleep, I awakened to the sound of a P-38 flying through my ear canal. Cursing, I sat up.

    “Bill,” I said, intending to ask where he had put the mosquito dope. But before I could utter another word, I sucked one of the buzzing devils down my windpipe.

    “Huh?” came my partner’s groggy reply.

    “Forget it,” I choked, and went back to sleep. By absorbing the mosquitoes into our dreams and converting them into airplanes and buzz saws, we managed to ignore them. We had been asleep for thirty minutes when the first raindrop exploded on the end of my nose. I sat straight up and heard the slap-slap of rain in the hackberry tree above us. By this time Bill had joined me. There wasn’t much we could say. We had dared predict the weather in the Panhandle, and as is usually the case, we had guessed wrong.

    We sprang into action—if that’s what you call running into each other, kicking at blankets that have suddenly become pythons around your legs, stumbling over tent ropes, and walking your face into tree limbs. By the light of two fireflies down by the creek, we prepared our camp for the storm. While Bill tarped the saddles and gear, I started trenching around the tent, which I was not able to see in the darkness.

    Finally, we dived into the tent and settled back into our beds, ready to be lulled to sleep by the patter of raindrops. We both agreed that, although a rain storm was something of an inconvenience, it would at least keep the mosquitoes at bay. The rain continued for a good five minutes. Then it stopped dead. In the silence, we heard squadrons of mosquitoes taking off from bases in the swamp grass along the creek, their radars blipping in our direction.

    Excerpted from John R. Erickson., Through Time and the Valley (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1995). Copyright 1995 by John R. Erickson. Reprinted by permission.

    My account of Kit Carson’s battle on the Canadian follows Mildred Mayhall, Indian Wars of Texas also Mayhall’s The Kiowas and Stanley Vestal’s Kit Carson. A good account of the battle appears in Robertson and Robertson’s Panhandle Pilgrimage, an excellent and well-documented survey of Panhandle history.


    The Sun Dance: Plains Indians

    entered the world and how they lived a hard life. In the late seventeenth century, they migrated southward. The Kiowas acquired horses and also Tai-me, which was their sacred sun dance doll. In the map 6.3 in the textbook, it shows us the Kiowa migration route from 1832-1869 and that they migrated south across the Great Plains. Although they were brought to new homes, they encountered with the Americans and this forever changed their way of life. After interpreting the Dohasan Calendar, it was begun&hellip


    Kiowa - Early Relations with the United States

    Colonel Henry Dodge returned to the Kiowa, a Kiowa girl, who had been taken by the Osage during the Cut-Throat Massacre in 1834. Dodge established the first official contact between the United States and the tribe. The tribe was invited to a peace council at Fort Gibson in present-day Oklahoma. The tribe agreed to the invitation and sent 15 of its chiefs. The council at Fort Gibson began on September 2, 1834, with representatives from the Kiowa, Comanche, Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Waco, Wichita, and Osage. The Kiowa were open to the idea of peace with all of the tribes except the Osage.

    The council at Fort Gibson set the framework for a formal treaty between the United States and most southern plains tribes in 1835. The treaty called for inter-tribal peace, shared hunting grounds, peace with United States citizens, safe passage for United States citizens through tribal territories, and the pursuit of peace with Mexico and all other nations. The Kiowa objected to the terms of the treaty and left the council early without signing any agreements. Later they made their own agreement with the Osage for the tai-me to be returned. In June 1836, the Kiowa held their first Sun Dance since the Cut Throat Massacre.

    The United States wanted the Kiowa to agree to a formal treaty and offered gifts and trade goods to persuade them to sign a new treaty. Ten chiefs, including Sensondacat (White Bird), Kehimi (Prairie Dog), and Takatacouche (Black Bird), met with men representing the United States government at Fort Gibson in the spring 1837. These leaders signed the first official treaty between the tribe and the United States. The treaty called for peace with the United States, the forgiveness of offences between nations, the recognition of Kiowa hunting rights on the southern plains, safe passage for settlers, and for the Kiowa to seek peace with Mexico and other nations. The United States hoped that the treaty would end hostilities between the Kiowa and the Dakota and Pawnee. Dohasan, the principle chief, never signed the treaty.

    Find more information about the Kiowa people:

    • Kiowa
    • Kiowa - Nomadic Hunters and the Horse
    • Kiowa - And the Bison
    • Kiowa - Social and Political Structure
    • Kiowa - Dog Soldiers and Warrior Societies
    • Kiowa - Religious Societies
    • Kiowa - Medicine
    • Kiowa - Sun Dance
    • Kiowa - Painters of the Plains
    • Kiowa - Women's Work
    • Kiowa - Early History and the First Divide
    • Kiowa - Fight for the Black Hills and the Great Division
    • Kiowa - Northern Struggle for the Black Hills
    • Kiowa - Southern Alliance with the Comanche
    • Kiowa - Reunion
    • Kiowa - Massacre
    • Kiowa - Early Relations with the United States
    • Kiowa - Suffering of the 1840s
    • Kiowa - Diplomacy in the 1850s
    • Kiowa - Intrusions and Era of Extermination
    • Kiowa - Medicine Lodge Treaty
    • Kiowa - Resistance and Bloodshed
    • Kiowa - Reluctant Surrender
    • Kiowa - Forced Assimilation
    • Kiowa - Dancing Memory
    • Kiowa - Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock
    • Kiowa - Early 20th Century
    • Kiowa - Peyote and the Native American Church
    • Kiowa - The Six
    • Kiowa - Roosevelt Administration and Federal Policy Changes
    • Kiowa - Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act
    • Kiowa - Political Divide and Escaping a New Threat
    • Kiowa - Litigation and the Indian Claims Commission
    • Kiowa - Late 20th Century
    • Kiowa - Influence on the Future

    Entry: Kiowa - Early Relations with the United States

    Author: Kansas Historical Society

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    Date Created: September 2015

    Date Modified: December 2017

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    Kiowa Language

    The Kiowa language has been spoken throughout the southern Plains of Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and North Texas since at least 1700. Kiowa is a member of the Kiowa-Tanoan language family. Related languages include the Southwest languages Tiwa, Tewa and Towa (Jemez). The relationship between Kiowa and the Tanoan languages was recognized in 1891 but was not definitively proven until Hale’s reconstruction in 1967. A deeper relationship has been hypothesized between the Tanoan languages and the Uto-Aztecan languages, but this theory is still under investigation.

    Selected Language Information

    Crowell, Edith. 1949. A Preliminary Report on Kiowa Structure. International Journal of American Linguistics Vol. 15:3. 163-167.

    Harbour, Daniel. 2003. The Kiowa Case for Feature Insertion. Natural Language and Linguistic TheoryVol. 21. 543- 578.

    Harrington, John P. 1928. Vocabulary of the Kiowa Language. Bureau of American Ethnology BulletinNo. 84. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Print Office.

    McKenzie, Parker & Harrington, John P. 1948. Popular Account of the Kiowa Indian Language. Santa Fe: University of New Mexico Press.

    Palmer, Jr., Gus (Pánthâidè). 2004. Telling Stories the Kiowa Way. Tucson: University of Arizona.

    Trager, Edith C. 1960. The Kiowa Language: A Grammatical Study. Doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.

    Watkins, Laurel J. and Parker McKenzie. 1984. A Grammar of Kiowa. Lincoln: University of Nebraska.

    Watkins, Laurel and Daniel Harbour. 2010. The Linguistic Genius of Parker McKenzie’s Kiowa Alphabet. International Journal of American Linguistics Vol. 76:3. 309-331.

    Sample Archival Materials in the Native American Languages Collection

    Horse, Billy Evans (speaker), Grace Lone Bear Tsonetokoy (speaker), Dewey Tsonetokoy Sr. (speaker), Patricia Bointy (speaker), Florene Whitehorse-Taylor (speaker), Anna Sue Whitehorse (speaker), Casandra Bointy Chasenah (speaker), Marlene Tanequoot (speaker), Mike McCarty (recorder). 2008. Dohasan’s legacy: a Kiowa family. Sam Noble Museum (Made In-House) Collection. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Department of Native American Languages. Media: audio/video. Catalog Number: SNM-001.

    Lone Wolf, Bill (speaker, performer, recorder). 1982. Kiowa prayer song featuring Bill Lone Wolf, 1982. Davetta Geimausaddle Collection. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Department of Native American Languages. Media: CD. Catalog Number: DGE-001.

    McLean, Katie (author), Gus Palmer, Jr. (author), Carol Willis (author). 2004. Vocabulary Exercises for Learners of Kiowa: A Coloring Book. General Field Collection. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Department of Native American Languages. Media: ephemera. Catalog Number: GEN-268.

    Alvis, Adena (author). 2004. Fáihêjèà. General Field Collection. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Department of Native American Languages. Media: book. Catalog Number: GEN-270.


    Watch the video: Dohasan