Kiowa Facts, Learn About These Nomadic Warriors Of The Plains

Aashita Dhingra
Feb 08, 2024 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Dec 21, 2023
Kiowa facts are interesting to read!
Age: 1-99
Read time: 7.2 Min

Kiowa people are Native Americans.

They reside in the Great Plains of North America. Although initially, the Kiowa people resided in southwestern Montana, later they migrated towards the plain area of Oklahoma.

The Kiowa Indians learned the techniques to survive in plains from the crow and gradually got adapted to the Plains Indian lifestyle. The Kiowa had also taken part in the very famous Red River Indian War. This war was initiated by the United States army because they wanted to relocate Native Indians, including the Kiowa, from the southern plains. The US wanted to relocate tribes to areas that they reserved for Native Indians. This war lasted for a few months, and the tribal people were defeated by the United States army. After that, the tribal people could not roam freely in the southern plains. Following this, Kiowa Indians were given their new Kiowa reservation, where they were permitted to reside after the Red River Indian War.

History And Origin Of The Kiowa

Originally the Kiowa were the tribal people who used to reside in Montana, which lies in the northern basin of the Missouri River. They then migrated towards the Black Hills. And a while after this, they moved towards the Platte River basin and fought with Comanche, one of the Apache tribes. The Kiowa occupied their land, and the Kiowa life changed into a typical lifestyle of Plain Indians.

Later the Kiowa and Comanche tribes started indulging in several activities together, such as hunting, traveling, and even fighting alongside each other in wars. Kiowa people were brilliant and skilled warriors as well. Their bravery is unmatchable. They have killed several well-trained white soldiers along with many tribal warriors in the many wars they have fought in the history of the tribe.

Life Expectancy Of The Kiowa Tribe

The life expectancy of the Kiowa people is still unknown. But in Kiowa history, the population of the tribe had been badly affected by the smallpox epidemic. The population also suffered because of several wars which had been fought against various enemies and other tribes.

The average life expectancy rate, as recorded between the '80s and 2014, is around 72.77years. However, not much is known on this subject prior to the given date. It would have depended on their food habit, geographical location, and various other factors. At present, there are around 12,000 Kiowas left.

Language & Religion

Tanoan is the Kiowa language that is spoken by Kiowa bands. The Kiowa language is also an endangered language, just like other indigenous languages which are specifically found in the North American continent. In 2006 a non-profit organization, Intertribal Wordpath Society, estimated that there were about 400 people who could actually speak the Kiowa language fluently. By 2007 there were only 20 native speakers who could actually speak in Tanoan. And these 20 speakers were aged between 45-60. In 2013 a newspaper article published that there were only 100 people left who could actually speak Tanoan fluently. Hence this language has been classified by UNESCO under the category of 'severely endangered' language.

The Kiowa society has always glorified the natural phenomenon or energy more than anything else. They worship things that are directly related to nature, such as the sun, constellations, including the Pleiades. Apart from celestial bodies, the Kiowa people revered natural forces and animals like cyclones, bison, bear, and eagle. There used to be various religious ceremonies for their totems. They even had a dance that was dedicated to the sun, it is known as the 'sun dance.' According to tribal members, an individual who performed this dance sought powers and visionary experiences. But in 1874, Quaker Mission spread among the Kiowa counties as well. Along with this, Methodist and Baptist efforts also increased within the Kiowa tribe and the neighboring tribes as well. There was a sudden increase in native churches. This was a major factor for the sharp decline in the importance of Kiowa culture. The sun dance and other ceremonies, like hunting and war ceremonies, lost their importance among the Kiowa band.

Kiowa Apache had originally invented the famous gourd dance.

Culture And Dance Of The Kiowa Tribe

Kiowa tribe are mainly nomadic in nature. In Kiowa history, the tribe had first settled in the American plains and led a very normal plain lifestyle. Both the Kiowa woman and man search and collect food for their clan, unlike other farming tribes. They mainly survive on the meat of buffalo and vegetables. They used to make tipis where they lived and used them as a shelter. Horses were also very important for Kiowa Indians because they used to hunt using horses. Even during the war, the military used to take horses along with them. Besides being the main source of food material, buffaloes also provided the Kiowa with raw materials from which they used to make clothes and shelters.

Kiowa Indians were very fond of music and dance. Kiowa song is mostly based on the lives and experiences of their warriors who served their society in Kiowa history. Music made by Kiowa artists mainly constituted of flute tunes and hymns. Kiowa people loved dancing so they invented two dance forms on their own. The dance forms are known as 'sun dance' and 'gourd dance.' Gourd dance had also spread to other tribes as well, but it was originally invented by many Kiowa artists. This dance has a special meaning in the Kiowa language, 'ti-ah pi-ah' which means ready to go and ready to die. Gourd dance is performed in a circle along with drums. The drums are usually placed at the center or on the sides of the human circle. It is a male-dominated dance, but females can also take part in it by dancing behind males. Dancers lift their legs during drum beats and shake their rattles.

Next is the Kiowa sun dance. It is a very important ceremony where the Kiowa people worship the Sun. This dance is held during the summertime when it is the period of the summer solstice, and this dance is also known as the 'medicine dance' due to its significance in healing. This dance is not only a part of the ceremony but also helps to gather the entire Kiowa tribe together. The dance goes on for four days. The dance begins from the sunrise, and the dancers are not allowed to leave the dancing place and have to survive without food and water till it ends.

FAQs

What does the name Kiowa mean?

The name Kiowa means 'principal people' this name has been originally taken from the word 'kai-i-gwu,' which has the exact same meaning.

Is the Kiowa a recognized tribe?

Yes, the Kiowa tribe is a federally recognized tribe. They have their headquarters at Carnegie in Oklahoma.

What did the Kiowa tribe wear?

Both Kiowa men and Kiowa women wear dresses that are different for each gender. Men wear leather leggings and preferably spend their life without covering their upper bodies or going around shirtless. On the other hand, their female members wear dresses that are made with deerskin which are painted in yellow and green tribal designs. All Kiowa tribe members wear moccasins as footwear.

Who is the chief of the Kiowa tribe?

The great warrior Satanta was the chief of the Kiowa Indians. Satanta was one of his tribe's most well-known leaders during the '60s-'70s. He was popularly known to his people as the 'White Bear Person.'

What race is Kiowa?

Kiowa people are Native Americans and are indigenous to the Great Plains of the United States. In between the period of 17-18th centuries, Kiowa people had migrated southwards from western Montana to the Rock Mountain, and then eventually to the southern plains.

What are some traditions of the Kiowa tribe?

There are many traditions of the Kiowa people, one of which is residing in huge tepees. They used to move their camp frequently for the game. Ranking Kiowa chiefs or warriors according to abilities they had exhibited in the war was also a popular tradition.

What did the Kiowa tribe believe in?

Kiowa Indians believed that dreams gave a person or member of the tribe supernatural powers, especially during the war, hunting, and healing. Kiowa culture also believed that the use of 10 medicine bundles would protect their tribe, and it became an essential element in their Kiowa sun dance.

What is the Kiowa tribe known for?

Kiowa Indians are known for their unmatchable skills in making things out of leather. They are experts in making boots, clothes, and moccasins out of leather. These are also decorated with beads and painted with tribal designs.

Are Kiowa's black?

No, Kiowa Indians are Native Americans who are indigenous to the Northern American continent, but some Kiowa Indians may have darker shades of skin.

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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