Set-t'an Annual Calendar of the Kiowa, depicting
the years 1833-1892. Painted on buffalo hide, this calendar was photographed
in 1895 by James Mooney, an ethnographer for the Bureau of American
Ethnology who lived among the Kiowa and learned of their traditions
and customs. Plate LXXV in Mooney 1898.
Sett'an calendar was a semiannual notation of some
striking events that stirred the tribe. The winter notation or pictograph
was indicated by an upright black bar below the principal figure; the
summer notation was often designated by a picture showing a medicine lodge
for the annual Sun Dance.
The annual calendars were correlated by Alice Marriott
with the more recent calendars of George Poolaw, George Hunt, and Mary
Buffalo. The Sett'an calendar ended in 1892, and the Anko monthly calendar
ran from August, 1889, to July, 1892. The Anko yearly calendar ran from
1864 to 1892. Both of Anko's calendars were redrawn on the same skin.
The calendars given by Miss Marriott run through 1901.
The Sett'an and Anko annual calendars give the
Winter, 1832-33—Some money was captured from
American traders near the South Canadian River. In the fight Guikongya
("Black Wolf") was killed. The pictograph shows a man's head
with the figure of a black wolf attached to it by a line—a sort
of "name-scroll" in the same way that the Maya pictures used
a line issuing from the mouth to show a "speech-scroll." A sketch
of a silver dollar with an eagle on it indicates the money. Twelve traders
left Santa Fe with ten thousand dollars in specie packed on mules. Two
men were killed in the fighting. The remaining ten men separated into
parties of five. Seven of the ten finally reached the Creek Indians on
the Arkansas and were saved. Until they were told by the Comanches, the
Kiowas did not know the value of the silver discs; thus, they used them
as decorations in their hair.
Summer, 1833—"Summer that they cut off
their heads." This picture commemorates a massacre by the Osages,
who cut off the heads of the Kiowa victims and left them in their own
copper cooking kettles. Most of the Kiowa warriors were absent, and the
village was surprised. A'date, the head chief who had allowed his village
to be attacked, was deposed and Dohasan became head chief.
Winter, 1833-34—On November 13, 1833, there occurred a meteoric
display observed all over North America. Sett'an was born the preceding
summer, and the figure of a child over the winter bar indicates his first
winter; the stars above represent the meteors. The Kiowas, then camped
on a tributary of Elm Fork of the Red River, were awakened by a bright
light, and rushed out into a night as bright as day with meteors darting
about. They awakened their children, saying, "Get up, get up, there
is something awful going on!"
Summer, 1834—The Dragoon expedition met the Comanches, Wichitas,
and Kiowas and returned a captive girl, Gunpa-ndama ("Medicine-Tied-to-Tipi-Pole"),
taken by the Osages when they had massacred the Kiowa village in 1833.
The pictograph shows a tipi attached by a line to the figure of a girl.
This meeting with the Americans opened up trade with the allied tribes,
and arrangements were made at a meeting at Fort Gibson for the subsequent
treaties of 1835 and 1837.
Winter, 1834-35—The winter that Bull-Tail was killed by the Mexicans
from Chihuahua while the Kiowas camped on the southern edge of the Staked
Plains. The pictograph shows only Bull-Tail, although several others were
Summer, 1835—Cat-tail rush Sun Dance. After the recovery of the
Tai-me, a Sun Dance was held on the south bank of North Canadian River,
where many rushes (Equisetum arvense) grew. The pictograph shows a sketch
of the medicine lodge, and a box above it represents the Tai-me in the
rawhide box. Immediately after the Sun Dance a party of Kiowas made a
raid far down on the Texas coast and captured Boin-edal ("Big Blond"),
a German who was still living with the Kiowas in 1892.
Winter, 1835-36—To-edalte ("Big Face," or "Wolf Hair")
was shot and killed by Mexicans while on a raid in Mexico.
Summer, 1836—The Wolf Creek Sun Dance is shown by the sketch of
a wolf attached by a line to the medicine lodge. After the dance the Kiowas
moved north of the Arkansas. A portion of the Kiowas were attacked by
Cheyennes, but they threw up breastworks and defended themselves successfully.
The Kingeps went to visit the Crows.
Winter, 1836-37—K'inahiate was killed in an expedition against the
Timber Mexicans or Mexicans of Tamaulipas and the lower Rio Grande. The
wide range of the Kiowas is shown here—one band raiding in Mexico,
another band visiting the Crows on the upper Missouri.
Summer, 1837—"Summer that the Cheyennes were massacred."
The battle is shown by the conventional Indian symbol: the party attacked
defend themselves behind breastworks while the arrows fly toward them;
below is the figure of a man wearing a war bonnet. The Cheyennes came
on the Kiowas while they were preparing to hold a Sun Dance on a tributary
of Scott Creek, a branch of the North Fork of Red River, near later Fort
Elliott in the Texas Panhandle. All forty-eight of the Cheyennes were
killed, and six Kiowas lost their lives.
Winter, 1837-38—"Winter that they dragged the head." The
head of an Arapaho was dragged behind a horseman. The German captive Boin-edal,
then a little boy who had been with the Indians about two years and who
witnessed the barbarous spectacle, told Mooney in 1892 that he could still
remember the thrill of horror that passed through him.
Summer, 1838—The Cheyennes and Arapahoes organized a war party and
attacked the Kiowas, Comanches, and Apaches on Wolf Creek, a short distance
above where that stream joins Beaver Creek and forms the North Canadian
River. A circular breastwork was dug and the camp was saved although the
Kiowas lost several warriors. The picture shows arrows and bullets, indicating
that the Cheyennes had some guns. Black dots with wavy lines indicated
Winter, 1838-39—A battle with the Arapahoes occurred, and all the
Arapahoes were killed.
Summer, 1839—The Peninsula Sun Dance was held. The peninsula was
on the south side of the Washita a short distance below Walnut Creek.
An expedition of about twenty Kiowas under Gua-dalonte against the Mexicans
of El Paso took place. At Hueco Tanks the Kiowas were attacked by Mexicans
and some Mescalero Apaches. The horses were killed, and the Kiowas were
up to starve. But they climbed out of the cave, having to abandon one
wounded man, Dagoi, who accepted his fate as a warrior. Although fired
on by the Mexicans and having another man, Konate, wounded, they managed
to escape. Konate was abandoned by a spring under an arbor of branches,
and Dohasan (the elder) and others returned to their homes. On their way
they met six Coman-ches en route to Mexico and asked them to bury Konate.
The Comanches found Konate alive, helped him on a horse, and gave up their
proposed raid to bring him safely home, where he recovered. Konate assumed
a new name, Patadal, Lean Bull, which he later bestowed on another man,
known to the whites as Poor Buffalo. He said that a wolf had come to him
in his anguish, licked his wounds, and slept beside him. Then a rain came
and washed his wounds, and a spirit told him that help would come.
Winter, 1839-40—"Smallpox Winter." The Kiowas were ravaged
by the disease. The pictograph shows a man with spots all over his body.
The disease began on the upper Missouri among passengers on a steamer
in the summer of 1839. It was communicated to the Mandans and swept the
Plains, destroying perhaps more than a third of the natives. It reached
the Kiowas by way of some visiting Osages. The Kiowas and Kiowa-Apaches
fled to the Staked Plains in an effort to escape it. The terrific toll
of the Plains Indians appeared later in official reports: from 1,600 to
3,100 persons for the Mandans; from 2,000 to about 4,000 for the Arikaras
and Minnetarees; and the Blackfeet, Crows, and Assiniboins were estimated
to have lost from 6,000 to 8,000. How many persons the Kiowas lost is
Summer, 1840—Red-Bluff Sun Dance—on the north side of the
South Canadian, about the mouth of Mustang Creek in the Texas Panhandle.
The prominent event of the summer was the peace made by the Arapahoes
and Cheyennes with the Kiowas, Comanches, and Kiowa-Apaches. No mention
was made of one of their raids, however. In the summer of 1840 the Comanches
and Kiowas made a raid to the coast of Texas. They were followed and inter-
cepted at the Battle of Plum Creek, where a number of Indians were killed.
Winter, 1840-41—Hide quiver war expedition. The figure of a quiver
is shown above the black winter bar. A war expedition was made by the
old men into Mexico. They carried old bows and quivers of buffalo skin,
as all the younger warriors had already set out for Mexico carrying the
better weapons and ornate quivers of panther skin or Mexican leather.
Summer, 1841—Friends of the Kiowas, the Arapahoes, attacked a party
of Pawnees at White Bluff on the upper South Canadian and killed all of
them. The Kiowas were not present but met and joined the Arapahoes after
the battle. The Pawnees are shown in the pictograph before a white bluff—the
tribe indicated by the peculiar Pawnee scalp lock and headdress.
On "American Horse" River south of Red River (probably a branch
of the Pease River), where the whole Kiowa camp was located, some Texas
soldiers advanced and the Kiowas killed five army scouts, took their large
American horses, and fled. They returned a few days later, found the soldiers
still there, and killed another.
This was the fight with the Texan-Santa Fe expedition, August 30,1841.
The Texans heard from Mexican traders that the Kiowas had lost ten of
their warriors and a principal chief.
Mooney remarked that the Indian account, corresponding remarkably with
George Wilkins Kendall's account of the Santa Fe expedition, was handed
down orally for over fifty years without any knowledge of the printed
statement by either Mooney or his informants.
Winter, 1841-42—A'dalhaba'k'ia was killed. The pictograph shows
the man with a bird on top of his head to show the ornament of red woodpecker
feathers he always wore on the left side of his head.
Summer, 1842—Two Sun Dances were held on Sun
Dance Creek or Kiowa Medicine Lodge Creek, which enters the North Canadian
near the one-hundredth parallel. Two dreamers had been instructed to hold
dances and made their requests to the Tai-me keeper almost simultaneously.
Winter, 1842-43—There is a picture of a man with a crow in front
of his neck. This was the winter that Crow-Neck died in Wind Canyon at
"Trading River," an upper branch of Double Mountain Fork of
the Brazos. He was the adopted father of the German captive, Boin-edal.
Summer, 1843—The Nest-Building Sun Dance was held on Sun Dance Creek,
a favorite place for the dance. It was called "Nest-Building Sun
Dance" because a crow built her nest and laid her eggs upon the center
pole after the dance was over.
Kicking Bird led a raid into Texas, captured some horses, and later returned
them to a party carrying an American flag. They afterward learned the
party was Texan, and had deceived them. The Texans had two captives, a
Comanche and a Mexican. The Kiowas rescued the Comanche but left the Mexican
since no one wanted him.
Winter, 1843-44—A woman was wounded in the breast after the Nest-Building
Sun Dance. Dohasan had invited the woman to ride behind him, as was customary,
while the freshly cut trees were dragged to the lodge. Her husband was
enraged and he stabbed her. She recovered and the Chief Dohasan rebuked
her husband by saying that he ought to have better sense, that he, Dohasan,
was an old man—too old to be running after girls.
A raiding party went into Tamaulipas and killed a number of people, but
was attacked while recrossing the Rio Grande and three Kiowas were killed.
In the following winter, 1844, a clerk of Bent's Fort, called Wrinkled
Neck, built a log trading house a few miles above Adobe Walls in the Texas
Panhandle. It was also stated that the same man later built another trading
post at a spring above the first one at Giiadal Doha on the same (north)
side of the river.
Summer, 1844—Dakota Sun Dance. A number of the Dakotas visited the
Kiowas to dance and receive presents of ponies at the Sun Dance held again
at Kiowa Medicine Lodge Creek. The pictograph shows a medicine lodge with
the figure of a Dakota wearing a k'odalpa or necklace breastplate of shell
or bone tubes, known among traders as Iroquois beads. The Kiowas called
the Dakotas, who were of long-standing friendship with them, and the original
wearers of such necklaces, the "Necklace People," K'odalpa-K'inago.
Mooney says that this explanation appears to be a myth founded on a misconception
of the tribal sign for Dakota, a sweeping pass of the hand across the
throat commonly translated as "beheader."
Winter, 1844-45—A'taha'ik'i ("War-Bonnet-Man") was killed.
A raid was made by Big Bow to avenge the death of his brother in Tamaulipas.
After "giving the pipe" at the last Sun Dance, over two hundred
Kiowas, Comanches, and Kiowa-Apaches joined the party which crossed the
Rio Grande and reached the Salado. Here some Mexicans took refuge in a
fort, where the party charged them. A'taha'ik'i was killed. The fort was
fired and its defenders were killed. The party then went farther into
Mexico and had another fight in which Big Bow (grandfather of the later
Big Bow) was killed.
Summer, 1845—The Stone-Necklace Sun Dance was held at Kiowa Medicine
Lodge Creek and named after a girl called Tso-k'odalte ("Stone Necklace")
who died and was mourned during the ceremony.
Winter, 1845-46—A sketch of a house shows the trading post built
by William Bent (called "Mantahakia" or "Hook-Nose Man")
in the Texas Panhandle, just above Bosque Grande Creek. In 1844, Bent
had built a trading post higher up on the South Canadian River. Both posts
were in charge of a clerk called "K'odal-aka-i" ("Wrinkled
Neck"). The removal of Bent's operations from the Arkansas to the
Canadian seems to have marked the southward movement of the tribes.
Summer, 1846—Sun Dance when Hornless-Bull was made a Ka'itsenk'ia.
The figure shown is that of a man with a feather headdress and paint of
the Koitsenko warrior society, a part of the Yapahe or military organization.
Ten brave men formed the Koitsenko. During raids their leader carried
a sacred arrow, with which he anchored himself to the ground by means
of a black sash of elk skin and pledged himself not to retreat. If the
party was not victorious, he had to remain and die unless his comrades
pulled up the arrow. Three of the members' sashes were made of red cloth,
and six were made of elk skin dyed red. If a member became too old to
go to war, he gave his sash to a worthy younger man and received blankets
or gifts for it.
Winter, 1846-47—The winter when they shot the mustache. Mustaches,
said Mooney, were not infrequent among the Kiowas. Set-angia ("Sitting
Bear") had almost a full beard. In a fight with the Pawnees Set-angia
slipped in the snow, and a Pawnee shot him in the upper lip or mustache
with an arrow.
Summer, 1847—There was no Sun Dance, but the summer was remembered
because of the death of the Comanche chief, Red Sleeve, in an attack on
a party of Santa Fe traders at Pawnee Fork on the Santa Fe Trail. Set-angia
advised against the attack, and Red Sleeve taunted him with cowardice.
The Kiowas drew off, and Red Sleeve and his Comanches attacked the train.
Red Sleeve was shot through the leg by a bullet that entered the spine
of his horse and caused the animal to fall and pin Red Sleeve beneath
him. He called on Set-angia for help, but the Kiowa refused because of
the taunt, and the white men came up and shot Red Sleeve.
Winter, 1847-48—The pictograph shows a camp of tipis with a brush
windbreak about it. All winter the Kiowas camped on T'ain P'a, White River,
an upper branch of the South Canadian.
Summer, 1848—A Koitsenko initiation Sun Dance was held on the Arkansas
River near Bent's Fort. The figure represents an initiate with his red
body paint and sash.
Winter, 1848—49—While camped near Bent's Fort, the Kiowas
made antelope medicine for a great antelope drive. A sketch of an antelope
marks the winter. Antelope drives, which were unusual, were made when
buffalo meat was insufficient, and could be made only in winter when the
animals gathered in herds. The drive was led by the "antelope medicine
man," and the whole tribe, mounted and on foot, took part. The animals
were encircled and seized by hand or by lassos. No shooting was allowed
in the circle, but an animal that broke away was pursued and shot outside
Summer, 1849—This was the Cramp or Cholera Sun Dance. In the spring
and summer, cholera swept the Plains; it came from the East with the emigrants
to California and Oregon. The Kiowa Sun Dance was held on Mule Creek between
Medicine Lodge Creek and the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. Cholera was brought
by visiting Osages who came to the dance. The disease appeared immediately
after the dance. The Kiowas said that half their number perished; whole
families and camps were exterminated, and many committed suicide. The
survivors scattered in different directions until the disease spent itself.
Winter, 1849—50—This winter was remembered because of fighting
with the Pawnees, securing some Pawnee scalps, and holding a scalp dance.
Summer, 1850—A sketch of a chinaberry tree over a medicine lodge
marked the Sun Dance which was held near a thicket of chinaberry trees
on Beaver Creek or upper North Canadian River near present Fort Supply,
Winter, 1850-51—The pictograph shows a sketch of a deer with antlers
and a line attached to a human head. It marked the winter that Tangiapa
(whose name signified a male deer) died. He was killed in a raid into
Summer, 1851—Dusty Sun Dance was held on the north bank of the North
Canadian, just below the junction of Wolf Creek. Strong winds prevailed
and kept the air dusty. The summer was remembered for a fight with a band
of Pawnees, ostensibly friends, who acted treacherously and were attacked
and defeated. The Kiowas lost two prominent warriors.
Winter, 1851-52—A figure of a woman over the winter bar recalls
the "winter the woman was frozen." Chief Big Bow, then a young
man, stole a woman, a pretty one, whose husband was away on the warpath.
He took her to his home camp and left her in the woods while he went into
his father's tipi to obtain food. His father knew what he had done and
held him. Exposed to the cold, the waiting woman had her feet frozen.
"Stealing" a woman was contrary to tribal mores.
Summer, 1852—There was no sun dance. The pictograph for the summer
notation is that of a man wearing a cuirass, probably obtained from Mexico.
The Cheyenne chief, A'patate or "Iron-Shirt-Man," was killed
by the Pawnees in Kansas or Nebraska. The Kiowas and Kiowa-Apaches joined
the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and some Dakotas in the fight against the Pawnees
but were defeated by the larger Pawnee force.
Winter, 1852-53—A picture of a horse (with hooked feet which portrayed
hoofs) held by a rope in the hand of a man portrays the loss of Set-angia's
two horses, including the finest one in the tribe, a bay race horse known
as "Red-Pet." The figure is that of the Pawnee boy who stole
the horse. The fact that this theft was the most significant event of
the winter marks the importance of the horse to the equestrian Kiowas.
Summer, 1853—Showery Sun Dance was the name given the Sun Dance
celebration because of constant rain. A black cloud, with rain descending,
and red flashes of lightning are shown over the medicine lodge.
A deliberate violation of the Tai-me rules distinguished this Sun Dance.
Ten-piak'ia, father of the historian Sett'an, broke the rules by riding
inside the camp circle with a small mirror. He afterward tried to poison
Anso'te, the Tai-me keeper, with mercury scraped from the back of the
mirror and placed in tobacco, which he gave the priest to smoke. Anso'te
took one puff and put the pipe away, refusing to smoke. Shortly thereafter,
Ten-piak'ia was thrown from his horse and killed; this was believed to
be punishment of sacrilege. It is interesting to note that there were
occasional, though rare, instances of deliberate nonconformity among some
bold spirits in the tribe.
Winter, 1853-54—After the Sun Dance of the summer, a raid was made
into Chihuahua where a mule train was attacked. As Pa'ngyagiate was striking
the mules with his bow (counting coup and sealing ownership), he was shot
and killed. The pictograph shows a Koitsenko warrior with his red sash
and shield, denoting the warrior killed.
Summer, 1854—The Sun Dance was held at Timber Mountain Creek, where
the Medicine Lodge Treaty would be signed in 1867. The pictograph portrays
a black horse joined by a line to a human figure above the Sun Dance lodge,
thus noting the death of Tsen-konkya ("Black-Horse"), a war
Stumbling Bear's brother had been killed by the Pawnees, and at the Sun
Dance, Stumbling Bear sent the pipe around to recruit a revenge expedition.
A large war party consisting of several hundred warriors from seven tribes—Kiowas,
Kiowa-Apaches, Co-manches, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Osages, and Crows—crossed
the Arkansas and on the Smoky Hill met about eighty Sac and Fox Indians
and a few Potawatomis, recently removed from beyond the Mississippi to
Kansas. A fight disastrous to the Kiowas and their allies took place.
The Sac and Foxes, armed with rifles, killed about twenty of their enemies,
twelve of them being Kiowas. The Kiowas were impressed with the rifles
and said that "they hit every time."
Some of the Kiowas stated that the expedition was directed against the
new immigrant tribes, in an attempt to exterminate them. The report for
1854 by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs stated that the enemies of
the one hundred Sac and Foxes in the fight had numbered fifteen hundred.
The Osages had a few guns, but the other attackers had used bows and arrows.
Six of the Sac and Foxes were killed from rifle shots.6 Whirlwind, a famous
war chief of the Southern Cheyennes, had every feather shot out of his
war bonnet. He said it was the hardest fight he had ever been in, but
he believed the medicine hawk on his war bonnet had saved him.
Winter, 1854-55—Another Koitsenko warrior, Gyai'koaofite ("Likes-Enemies"),
was killed by the Osages, or Quapaws, on a horse-stealing raid.
Summer, 1855—The pictograph shows a seated man. It was a hot summer
with no Sun Dance and no grass. The horses were too weak to travel, and
the Kiowas "sat down."
Winter, 1855-56—The brother of Gyai'koaofite, A'dalton-edal ("Big-Head"),
is pictured killing an Osage to avenge his brother's death. During the
winter a large number of horses were taken in Chihuahua, and only one
man, Going-on-the-Road, was lost.
Summer, 1856—Near Bent's Fort in Colorado the Prickly-Pear Sun Dance
was held, late in the fall, when the prickly pears ripened. The fruit
was generally eaten raw, and the fleshy leaves were used in painting on
Winter, 1856-57—Two tipis sketched above the winter bar mark the
winter that the tipis were left behind. After the summer Sun Dance, while
camped near Bent's Fort, a war party led by Big Bow and Stumbling-Bear
proceeded against the Navahos. Lone Wolf led the rest of the Kiowas after
buffalo. Their tents were rolled up and left in care of William Bent.
On returning, they found the Cheyennes had their tipis. When they complained
to Bent, he said, "I have given them to my people." Bent's people
were the Cheyennes, as Bent had married a Cheyenne woman. A quarrel took
place, in which Lone Wolf's horse was shot and one Kiowa was wounded.
The Kiowas were driven off, and the Cheyennes kept the property
Summer, 1857—A Sun Dance was held on Salt Fork of the Arkansas at
Elm Creek. A Kiowa, K'aya'nte, owned a sacred medicine forked stick of
chinaberry, about four feet long, and placed it as a sacrifice inside
the medicine lodge. Next year someone found that it had reversed and sprouted.
This confirmed the mysterious power ascribed to the medicine. The stick
had been trimmed of its bark. Ten years later the chinaberry was still
Two war parties went out that summer—one against the Mexicans of
El Paso and another, with the Comanches, against the Sac and Foxes. An
engagement occurred near the location of the former battle with these
people, and several Sacs were killed.
Winter, 1857-58—The Kiowas camped near Bent's Fort in Colorado.
The Pawnees stole six bunches of horses. The Kiowas pursued them and intended
to strike, but a snowstorm stopped them when only one Pawnee had been
killed. The figure above the winter mark represents the stolen horses.
Summer, 1858—The Sun Dance was held on Mule Creek where it entered
the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. The calendar depicts a
natural circular opening in the timber, showing trees surrounding the
Winter, 1858-59—After the Sun Dance, the Kiowas made a raid into
Chihuahua and captured many horses. The Mexicans followed and attacked
the Kiowas after they had recrossed the Rio Grande. All fled save Gui-k'ati
("Wolf-Lying-Down"), who rode a mare which was delayed by a
colt. He was shot and killed. Satanta and Set-imkia made a raid against
the Utes on the upper South Canadian and killed one man.
Summer, 1859—The Cedar Bluff Sun Dance was held on the northern
side of Smoky Hill River; the Kiowas were drawn far 'J north by the abundance
Winter, 1859-40—Giaka'ite ("Back-Hide") died, and a cross
was erected over his bones. The pictograph shows a man with a cross over
his head. His name—Back-Hide—is the word for a piece of rawhide
worn over the shoulders by women to protect the back when carrying wood
or other burdens.
Giaka'ite was an old man and was abandoned on the Staked Plain of Texas.
Returning to the spot afterward, a war party noted that someone had placed
a cross over his skeleton. (The year before his death, while the Kiowas
were moving, Adalpepte and his wife had met the old man on a feeble animal
far behind the main party. It was cold, and Adalpepte had given the old
man his buffalo robe to keep him warm. A year later, he was abandoned.)
Summer, 1860—There was no Sun Dance. Some of the Kiowas went south
of the Arkansas, and some went north with the Kwahadi Comanches under
the chiefs Tabananica ("Hears-the-Sunrise") and Isa-ha-bit ("Wolf-Lying-Down").
The latter group were attacked by white soldiers with allies of the Caddoes,
Wichitas, Tonkawas, and Penateka Comanches. A Comanche named Tin Knife
and a Kiowa, T'ene-badai ("Bird-Appearing"), were killed. The
Commissioner of Indian Affairs reported in 1860 that the Kiowas and Comanches
were hostile and that the army had been ordered to chastise them because
many citizens were being murdered on the Santa Fe Trail. The Penateka
Comanclies, who had settled on a Texas reservation (Clear Fork or Upper
Reservation), and the Caddoes and others from the Brazos reservation often
aided the whites. All of these Indians were moved in 1859 to Indian Territory.
Winter, 1860-61—While the Kiowas were camped on the south side of
the Arkansas, Gaabohonte ("Crow-Bonnet") raised a party to avenge
the death of his brother who had been killed by a Caddo in the preceding
summer's engagement. They went to the Caddo camp in the present Wichita
reservation and there killed and scalped a Caddo. A scalp dance was held
on the south side of Bear Creek or "Antelope-Corral River."
From this rejoicing, the place got the name of Foolish or Crazy Bluff.
A war party entered Texas about the same time but lost three men.
Summer, 1861—The pictograph shows a pinto horse tied to the medicine
lodge. It was the Sun Dance "when they left the spotted horse tied."
On the Arkansas River near the Great Bend in Kansas the dance was held.
One man performed crazy and sacrilegious acts. After he came to his senses,
he gave the horse to atone for his acts. This tying of a horse inside
the medicine lodge was never known before, but horses were sometimes sacrificed
to the sun by being tied to a tree out upon the hills. Ga'apiatan twice
sacrificed a horse in this manner—once during the cholera of 1849
and again in the smallpox epidemic of 1861-62. These were propitiatory
offerings with a prayer to save himself, his parents, and his children.
His faith was rewarded; none of his relatives died. One of the horses
offered was called "t'a-kon" ("black-eared"), considered
by the Kiowas as the finest of all horses.
A war party of seven, including one woman, went into Mexico. It never
returned. In 1894, Big Bow visited the Utes and found the woman married
to a Ute and the mother of his three children. Big Bow learned that the
others of the party had been killed. He tried to get the woman to return
to the Kiowas, but she would not leave her family.
Winter, 1861-62—The pictograph shows a spotted man. This was "Smallpox
Winter," when the Kiowas were in southwestern Kansas. A party on
its way into New Mexico to trade stopped in a small town in the mountains
at the head of the South Canadian. There they were warned of the disease.
They left, but one Kiowa had bought a blanket and insisted on bringing
it back even though he was warned not to do so. After they returned to
their home camp, this man died and the epidemic broke out. They scattered
to escape the disease.
For some years the Kiowas had been drifting eastward from their former
camping grounds on the upper Arkansas. With the large influx of whites
into Colorado following the discovery of gold at Pike's Peak in 1858,
there was a great displacement of the buffalo as well as of Indians.
Summer, 1862—There was no event of importance, but a Sun Dance was
held near the junction of Medicine Lodge Creek with the Salt Fork of the
Arkansas after the smallpox epidemic.
Winter, 1862-63—The Kiowas camped on Upper Walnut Creek, which enters
the Arkansas at the Great Bend in Kansas. Deep snow on the ground kept
the horses from getting grass, and they tried to eat the ashes thrown
out from the campfires. This was the "winter when horses ate ashes."
A war party went into the Texas Panhandle, crossing the Canadian near
Kiowa Creek and passing on by Fort Elliott. They sang the "travel
song" on Wolf Creek, and the treetops returned their echo. It may
have been due to a bluff just south of the camp, but the Indians ascribed
it to spirits. The pictograph shows a tree with a wavy line around its
top. The travel song or gua-dagya was a part of the recruiting of a war
party. The recruits and women beat on rawhide with sticks and sang the
song. It was sung at intervals after the party set out.
Summer, 1863—The picture shows a one-armed
white man over the medicine lodge. The Sun Dance was held on No-Arm's
River or Upper Walnut Creek in Kansas. It was named after the trader,
William Allison, who kept a store at the mouth of the river. Allison had
lost his right arm. In 1864, Fort Zarah was built near Allison's trading
Winter, 1863-64—This was the winter that Big Head died. He was the
uncle of the later chief Go-ma-te who took the same name, Adalton-edal.
In this winter Anko began an annual calendar of events.
Summer, 1864—This was the summer of the Ragweed Sun Dance, called
thus because many weeds grew at the junction of Medicine Lodge Creek and
the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. The ragweed is pictured over the medicine
lodge. The Kiowas had an encounter with United States troops, but it was
The Kiowas later camped near Fort Larned, Kansas. There they held a scalp
dance. Set-angia and his cousin approached the fort and were warned away
by a sentry. Not understanding, they advanced and the soldier threatened
to shoot. Thereupon Set-angia shot two arrows at the soldier, shooting
him through the body, and another Kiowa fired at him with a pistol. Panic
ensued, the soldiers' horses were stampeded by the Indians, and the Indians
abandoned their camp. They did not attack the fort, but the soldiers could
not follow without mounts. The summer was full of depredations executed
by several different tribes.
Winter, 1864-65—This was called the "Muddy-Traveling Winter"
because of mud and heavy snows. The Kiowas and some Co-manches camped
on Red Bluff on the north side of the South Canadian between Adobe Walls
and Mustang Creek. Early in the winter they were attacked by Kit Carson
with troops and Ute and Jicarilla Apache allies. The picture shows tipis
with arrows and wavy lines for bullets, symbolic of an attack. Five persons
of the Kiowas and their allies were killed, two of them women. The enemy
burned their camp, and the Kiowas had to abandon it. A Kiowa-Apache was
shot from his horse, and a Ute warrior got his war bonnet. One old Kiowa-Apache,
who was left in his tipi in the hurry of flight, was killed.
According to the Indians, most of their warriors were off on the warpath.
Their families were in the camp in charge of the old Chief Dohasan. Some
of the men went out to bring in their horses one morning and saw the enemy
creeping up to surround them. They ran back to give the alarm, and the
women and children fled while the men mounted their horses to repel the
enemy. Stumbling Bear was one of the leading warriors in the camp, and
he distinguished himself by killing one soldier and a Ute, then causing
another soldier to fall from his horse. Set-tadal ("Lean Bear")
was another warrior who fought nobly, singing the war song of his order,
the Tonkonko, which forbade him to save himself until he had killed an
enemy. The Kiowas escaped but the camp was destroyed. The enemy was repelled.
An army officer later wrote of the engagement:
"I understand Kit Carson last winter destroyed an Indian Village.
He had about four hundred men with him, but the Indians attacked him as
bravely as any men in the world, charging up to his lines, and he withdrew
Ms command. They had a regular bugler, who sounded the calls as well as
they are sounded for troops. Carson said if it had not been for his howitzers
few would have been left to tell the tale."
Carson's forces lost two soldiers killed and twenty-one wounded, several
mortally. There was one Ute killed and four wounded.
Summer, 1865 — The Peninsula Sun Dance was held — so called
from the bend of the Washita, a short distance below the mouth of Walnut
Winter, 1865-66—Ta'n-konkya, or "Black-Warbonnet-Top,"
died on the upper South Canadian. The Anko calendar also related the death
of Chief Dohasan. The event is indicated by the figure of a wagon; Dohasan
was the only Kiowa who owned a wagon (destroyed in Kit Carson's attack).
The winter is also notable for a large trading party from Kansas led by
John Smith, called "Poomuts" or "Saddle-Blanket" from
the articles of his trading stock. Various things were traded for buffalo
hides. Smith also traded with and served as a government interpreter for
the Cheyennes, especially at the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867.
Summer, 1866—The Flat Metal (or German Silver) Sun Dance was held
on Medicine Lodge Creek near its mouth in Oklahoma. A trader brought the
Kiowas a large amount of flat sheets of German silver which they hammered
into belts and ornaments. The pictograph shows a medicine lodge and a
strip of hide covered with silver disks finished with a tuft of horsehair.
Such pendants were attached to the scalp lock. They obtained some genuine
silver disks in the old days from Mexican silversmiths near present Silver
City, New Mexico, and also used silver dollars. Charles W. Whitacre brought
the German silver to the Kiowas. He was known as "Tsoli" (Charley).
For years he had a trading store near the present agency at Anadarko,
until he died accidentally in 1882.
Winter, 1866-67—This was the winter that Ape-ma'dlte was killed.
The name signifies "Struck-His-Head-Against-a-Tree." He was
a Mexican captive and was killed on the California Road in southwestern
Texas by troops or Texans. As a member of Big Bow's raiding party, he
was trying to stampede some horses of the Texans.
Another captive, later famous, was obtained by purchase from the Mescalero
Apaches, who had stolen him near Las Vegas, New Mexico. This was Andres
Martinez who was then seven years old and taken on a raid into Mexico.
He was adopted by Set-daya-ite, ("Many Bears" or "Heap-of-Bears"),
who was killed in a raid against the Utes in 1868.
Summer, 1867—The Sun Dance was held on the Washita near the western
line of Oklahoma. The Cheyennes attended the dance. The Navahos stole
a whole herd of ponies, including a highly prized white race horse with
black ears. The three tribes, finding their horses stolen, set out against
the Navahos, then placed on the Mes-calero reservation in eastern New
Mexico, and recaptured their horses. The pictograph shows a white horse
with black ears and a black spot on his rump, over a sketch of a medicine
At the Sun Dance there was an initiation of members of the Koitsenko.
Some who had been cowardly were degraded and had their sashes taken from
Winter, 1867-68—This "Timber-Hill Winter" received its
name from the treaty of Medicine Lodge Creek, called "Timber Hill
River." The pictograph is quite clear. It shows a seated white soldier
and a seated Indian shaking hands beneath a hill with trees on it. The
Anko calendar records the killing of a Navaho by a Kiowa party under White
Horse on the upper South Canadian. The Navaho man had no ears. A large
party of Kiowas and Co-manches fought the Navahos on the Pecos and defeated
them, then returned in time for the treaty.
The Kiowas received notice to come in and camp near Fort Larned from General
Winfield S. Hancock, then in command in that section. They called him
"Old-Man-of-the-Thunder" because he wore epaulets showing the
eagle or thunderbird. They were given rations, then returned to Medicine
Lodge Creek to prepare a council house, some twelve miles above their
camp (near present
Medicine Lodge, Kansas).
Philip McCusker interpreted the terms of the treaty for the three confederated
tribes. McCusker spoke only Comanche; translation into Kiowa was done
by Ba'o ("Cat"), alias Gunsadalte ("Having-Horns").
The Kiowas said that the commissioners promised them "a place to
go," schools, and food for thirty years, in the hope that they would
then learn how to care for themselves. Only a few of the Comanches were
present; most of the Kwahadi band were then on an expedition against the
At the peace treaty there were about 5,000 persons (850 tipis) of the
Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, and Comanche tribes, and some
600 whites, including commissioners, aides, a part of the Seventh infantry,
and various interested groups—probably the largest Indian encampment
ever held on the Plains.
Summer, 1868—The Sun Dance was held near where the treaty was made.
The Cheyennes and Arapahoes frequently held their Sun Dance there separately
from the Kiowas but also attended the Kiowa dance, as did many of the
Comanches, who only once had a dance of their own.
The summer was noted for a disastrous battle with the Utes, when the Utes
captured forever the Kiowas' sacred palladium. Some two hundred warriors
smoked the pipe and, led by Patadal ("Poor-Buffalo" or "Lean
Bull"), moved against the Navahos to revenge the Ute's killing of
Lean Bull's stepson. Many Bears took with him two small Tai-me images.
As the party moved out, the omens were unpropitious. Taboo to the Tai-me
were bears, skunks, rabbits, and looking glasses. First a skunk crossed
their path; then it was discovered that the Comanches were wearing their
looking glasses or mirrors. They refused to give them up, but they did
conceal them at a camping place. One night the Kiowas smelled bear cooking.
The sacrilegious Comanches were broiling bear over a fire. This was bad.
Some of the warriors turned back. Many Bears trusted to his powerful medicine
and went on.
They met the Utes under the leadership of Kaneatche, head chief of the
Utes and Jicarilla Apaches (after his death Ouray succeeded him). The
Utes killed seven, including Many Bears and his adopted son. (Many Bears
had ridden a balky horse and had dismounted. When his son returned to
save him, both were slain.) His friend Pa-gunhente was also killed. The
sacred images were taken by the Utes, who later suffered such bad luck
that they gave the images to the trader Lucien Maxwell, who kept them
in his store. The Utes said that the Kiowas were afraid to go there and
that they were later lost. A brother of George Bent, of the noted Bent
family, saw the "medicine." They were two small carved stones,
one having the shape of a man's head and bust, decorated and painted,
and one having the shape of a bear's kidney.
The Kiowas mourned their loss. They moved down to the Wash-ita and camped
near Black Kettle of the Cheyennes, whose village would soon be destroyed
by Custer. Steps were then being taken to confine the Indians on the reservation.
Winter, 1868-69—A small raiding party descended upon the Texans,
and Tanguadal was killed by a white man. The pictograph shows a man carrying
a medicine lance or zebat. The dead warrior had been the hereditary owner
of a medicine lance or arrow lance. Satanta then claimed the hereditary
right to the lance through marriage into the family of one of Tanguadal's
relatives. Satanta did not get the lance so he made one for himself, similar
to Tanguadal's but with two arrow points—an ornamented wooden point
(ceremonial) and a steel point (for actual use).
Stumbling Bear led a group to the Canadian to bury the bones of those
killed with Many Bears by the Utes.
Summer, 1869—This was the summer of the War Bonnet Sun Dance. Although
the Kiowas resided on the reservation, they moved away from it to hunt
and dance. This Sun Dance was held on Sweetwater Creek near the western
line of Oklahoma. Big Bow returned with a party that had gone on a revenge
raid against the Utes; he brought back the war bonnet of a Ute whom he
Winter, 1869-70—A bugle is pictured over the winter sign. The Kiowas
were camped on Beaver Creek near Fort Supply, Oklahoma. It was a winter
of chronic alarm. The Cheyennes were on the warpath and were hard pressed
by Custer. During this time a party of young men or probably Satanta blew
a bugle on returning to camp, and the Kiowas, fearing soldiers, fled.
Summer, 1870—The Sun Dance was held on the
North Fork of Red River in present Greer County, Oklahoma. Seeds of corn
and watermelon brought by the traders had been thrown down, and had sprouted
in the fall. This gave the name "Plant-Growing Sun Dance" to
Winter, 1870-71—The bones of young Set-angia were brought home,
and the picture shows a sitting bear over a man's skeleton. In the spring
of 1870, Set-angia, second son of Chief Set-angia, was shot and killed
in Texas. The father, almost crazed, went to Texas, found the bones, put
them in fine blankets, bundled them on the back of a red horse, and brought
them home. On the return journey he killed and scalped a white man.
Set-angia placed the bones in a special tipi and gave a great feast in
the name of his son. Until his death, Set-angia venerated the bones and
carried them about on horseback. After Set-angia was killed at Fort Sill,
his son's bones were buried. The young Set-angia was a favored child,
ade, and held the office of tonhyopde, the pipe bearer or leader who went
in front of the young warriors on a war expedition.
Another event of the winter, recorded by the Anko calendar, was the killing
of four Negroes in Texas by a party led by Mama'nte ("Walking-Above").
Britt Johnson, the Negro who had traded for the return of the Fitzpatrick
and Durgan captives (and of Johnson's own family as well) in 1864, was
one of those killed.
Anso'te ("Long-Foot") also died in this winter. He had been
the Taime keeper for forty years. There was no Sun Dance for two years
until his successor was elected.
Summer, 1871—The Anko calendar notes the death of Konpa'te ("Blackens-Himself"),
who was shot in a skirmish with soldiers. The Sett'an calendar records
the arrest of the chiefs Satanta, Set-angia, and A'do-ette ("Big
Tree"), who had not ceased their raids into Texas. On May 17,1871,
a party of one hundred warriors attacked Warren's wagon train in Texas
and killed seven men and captured forty-one mules. Lawrie Tatum, agent,
called on the commander at Fort Sill to arrest Satanta, Big Tree, Big
Bow, Eagle Heart, and Fast Bear. Only three were arrested and imprisoned.
By order of General Sherman, they were sent to Texas to stand trial. On
the way Set-angia attacked the guard and was himself killed. Satanta and
Big Tree were later confined in the penitentiary at Huntsville, Texas.
Winter, 1871-72—Some of the Kiowas camped on a branch of Elk Creek
of upper Red River. Others camped near Rainy Mountain on the Washita.
A large Pawnee party visited for peacemaking and were given horses by
the Kiowas. The pictograph shows three Pawnee heads above the winter bar.
(The Pawnees also visited the Washita in 1873 and determined to move to
Indian Territory, which they did in 1875.) There was a mistake in the
date by the calendar maker. Notices by Battey and others gave the date
as 1872-73. Battey was with Kicking Bird, camped on Cache Creek, when
forty-five Pawnees came to visit in March, 1873; he described the gift-giving,
the peace, and the dance that followed.
Summer, 1872—There was no Sun Dance. The Anko calendar records a
drunken fight between Sun Boy and T'ene-zepte (Bird-Bow), in which Sun
Boy shot his opponent with an arrow". A large raid into Kansas took
place, and the Kiowas captured a large number of mules. A Mexican captive,
Biako (Viejo), was shot but later recovered. The Kiowa chiefs were trying
to stop the raids at this time in order to conform to the demands of the
government, but the tribe was split into factions.
Winter, 1872-73—The Sett'an calendar records a visit of the Pueblo
Indians, who came to trade biscocho, or bread, and eagle feathers for
horses and buffalo robes. The pictograph shows a Pueblo Indian, with his
hair tied into a bunch behind, driving a burro with a pack on its back.
(The Pawnees visited in the fall, and the Pueblos came in the winter.)
The Anko calendar records the burning of the heraldic tipi, hereditary
in the family of Dohasan, known as the "Tipi with Battle Pictures,"
which had occupied second place in the ceremonial camp circle.
Summer, 1873—The Sun Dance, held on Sweetwater Creek, was described
in detail by Thomas Battey who visited it. The Indians were much concerned
over the promised release of Satanta and Big Tree. Battey had to tell
them that the Modoc war (in California) had affected the release and cautioned
them to wait peaceably. Some of the Kiowas, along with some of the Coman-ches,
were hostile to the government. While the dance was under way, Pa-konkya
("Black Buffalo") "stole" the wife of Guibadai ("Appearing
Wolf"), who in retaliation killed seven of Pa-konk-ya's horses and
took a number of others according to tribal mores. A threat to kill the
seducer brought the Tonkonko dog soldiers to interfere. Both the Sett'an
and Anko calendars recorded the event. Pictured by the side of the medicine
lodge, the horse bleeds from an arrow.
Winter, 1873-74—This was the winter of Satanta's return (October
8, 1873). The pictograph shows the red tipi and the figure of Satanta,
distinguished by a red headdress. The Anko calendar records the killing
in Mexico of two sons (i.e., one son and one nephew) of Lone Wolf. Lone
Wolf went to bury his son, and from then on, was hostile to the whites.
Summer, 1874—The Sun Dance was "at the end of the bluff,"
near Elm Creek in Greer County, Oklahoma. Satanta gave his medicine or
arrow lance to Ato-t'ain ("White Cowbird"). There were only
two lances of this kind; one belonged to Satanta, the other belonged in
the family of the deceased Tanguadal.
Winter, 1874-75—This was the winter "that Big-Meat was killed."
The southern Plains tribes, including a large party of the Kiowas, went
together on the warpath, in what became known as the Outbreak of 1874.
After the fight at the Wichita Agency at Anadarko in August, 1871, the
Comanches fled to the Staked Plain and the Kiowas, to the head of the
Red River, whence they were pursued by troops. A horse-stealing raid into
New Mexico occurred also. On its return, it was suddenly attacked by soldiers.
Gi-edal and one other were killed. At the close of the campaign, when
the fugitives were returned to Fort Sill, a number of the hostiles were
sent to Fort Marion, Florida.
Summer, 1875—The Sun Dance was held near Mount Walsh in Greer County,
Oklahoma. It was called the "Love-Making Sun Dance" because
some young men "stole" two girls. Troops accompanied the Kiowas
because conditions were still unsettled since the outbreak.
Winter, 1875-76—In this winter 3,500 goats and sheep were issued
to the Kiowas. The calendar shows a goat over the winter bar. These animals
(and cattle) were bought by selling the Kiowa ponies—the idea was
to make the hunting Kiowas into pastoral herders. About 600 cattle were
distributed. The allied tribes had 16,000 horses and mules, reported officially,
in 1874. After the outbreak, they had only 6,000 left; they were literally
"unhorsed" and reduced to foot. The sheep and goat experiment
was a failure, but some success was made with the cattle.
Summer, 1876—The Sun Dance was held on Sweetwater Creek. While it
was going on, Mexicans stole all of Sun Boy's horses. The Kiowas pursued
the culprits, but their mounts gave out and they failed to get the stolen
horses back. The calendars record the summer with a picture of the medicine
lodge and horse tracks. The Tai-mepriest Dohente ("No-Moccasins")
died and was succeeded by Set-daya-ite ("Many Bears"), who had
charge of this dance. (He was the uncle of Many Bears, killed by the Utes.)
Later his cousin (called brother) Taimete had charge of the Tai-me.
Winter, 1876-77—This season was remembered by the killing of the
woman A'gabai ("On-Top-of-the-Hill"), by her husband lapa ("Baby").
It had occurred sometime after the summer Sun Dance. The woman was ill.
She promised lapa, a medicine doctor, that she would marry him if he cured
her. He did cure her and she married him, but she soon left him and for
this he stabbed her. Agent Haworth asked the chiefs to arrest the man.
(They said they would kill him if the agent wanted them to do so.) Dangerous
Eagle and Big Tree made the arrest. The man was confined with a ball and
chain for several months, and worked around the guardhouse. The chiefs
requested that his life be spared, as "he was young and foolish and
did not know the white man's laws or road."
Anko's calendar records the enlisting of twenty Kiowa scouts at Fort Sill;
Anko was one of them. The first scouts were organized in 1875.
Summer, 1877—The troops accompanied the Kiowas to their Sun Dance
encampment on Salt Fork of the Red River. It was called the "Star-Girl-Tree
River Sun Dance," named for a sapling used in a sacrifice to the
star girls or Pleiades. The summer was 'noted for an outbreak of measles
which killed more Kiowa children than would the measles epidemic of 1892.
The government school was turned into a hospital when its seventy-four
children became sick, but not one child died there.
Winter, 1877-78—A party of the tribe camped near Mount Scott, and
the remainder camped at Signal Mountain, which was named for a stone lookout
station built in 1874. The pictograph shows a house on a mountain. The
Anko calendar noted that buffalo were hunted at Elk Creek, called "Pecan
The winter was noted for an epidemic of fever. In the fall of 1877 the
government built six-hundred-dollar houses for ten prominent chiefs of
the three tribes, including Stumbling Bear, Ga'apia-tan, Gunsadalte ("Cat"),
and Sun Boy of the Kiowas, and White man and Taha of the Kiowa-Apaches.
Summer, 1878—The picture shows two medicine lodges, for the Sun
Dance was repeated. The dances were held on the North Fork of Red River.
Part of the Kiowas had gone to the Plains in the western part of the reservation
to hunt buffalo, while the rest had stayed at home. Since each group had
pledged a Sun Dance, two were held. Troops again escorted the buffalo
hunters to the dance.
Winter, 1878-79—Both calendars record the killing of Ato-t'ain ("White
Cowbird"), to whom Satanta had given his medicine lance. Satanta
committed suicide in Huntsville penitentiary at about the same time.
Ato-t'ain was the brother of Chief Sun Boy, also known as Arrowman. Ato-t'ain
was killed by Texans while with a party that had gone to hunt buffalo,
which were becoming scarce, in what is present Greer County, Oklahoma.
The Indians had permission of the agent for this unusual winter hunt,
and were accompanied by troops. When nothing was done about the murder,
some Indians slipped into Texas and killed a white man named Earle for
Summer, 1879—This was the year of the Horse-Eating Sun Dance. A
horse's head appears above the medicine lodge in the Sett'an calendar.
The dance was held on Elm Fork of Red River. The buffalo were so few that
the Indians were obliged to kill and eat their ponies during the summer
to keep from starving. This was the date of disappearance of the buffalo
from the Kiowa country. The official report stated that "the Indian
must go to work and help himself or remain hungry on rations furnished,"
since buffalo meat could no longer support them.
Winter, 1879-80—This was the Eye-Triumph Winter. Kaasa'-nte ("Little
Robe") and several other persons went to the North Fork of Red River
to look for antelope and probably for their old enemies the Navahos, who
had removed to a reservation in New Mexico but still penetrated the Plains.
One of the party, Pododal, believed that an owl (believed by the Kiowas
to be an embodied spirit) had warned him that the Navahos would steal
That night Pododal fired at something. In the morning they followed a
bloody trail but turned back. Again came word from the owl that they would
find a dead Navaho. In the morning they found an eye of a dead Navaho.
With this, they returned to have an "eye" (attached to a pole
like a scalp) dance.
Summer, 1880—There was no Sun Dance; a buffalo could not be found.
The Anko calendar recorded the death of a large, tall chief named Pabote
(American Horse). He was buried in a coffin by the whites. Anko would
not mention the name of American Horse, according to Kiowa custom. Three
years later he consented to do so. Other names used in the calendars were
similarly not mentioned for years.
Winter, 1880-81—A house was shown over the winter mark. It was probably
the house of Paul Zontam, who returned from the East as an ordained Episcopal
minister. There was also a visit from the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico.
Summer, 1881—The Hot Sun Dance was held in August on North Fork
of Red River. A solitary buffalo was found. The Sett'an calendar also
recorded that a young man, Masate ("Six"), had a hemorrhage.
"Six" referred to the man's twelve fingers and twelve toes;
his brother, Bohe, also had six fingers on each hand. These malformations
were rare among the Indians.
Winter, 1881-82—This was the "winter when they played the do-a
medicine game." Pa-tepte, or Datekan, and his rival, the Kiowa-Apache
chief and medicine man Daveko, sought honors for the most powerful medicine.
The Kiowa won. It was said that Pa-tepte tried to revive the old customs
and amusements. The do-a or tipi game was played inside the tipi. It was
the "hunt the button" game—a guessing game. The button
was a small, fur-covered stick. One group played against another. The
game was played by both sexes but never together. It was accompanied by
one of the peculiar do-a songs, in which members of the group joined.
Points were scored by tally sticks, and wagers were made. The games often
lasted far into the night.
Summer, 1882—There was no Sun Dance. Dohasan (nephew of the former
chief), whose hereditary duty it was to procure a buffalo, could not get
one. The Anko calendar noted the death of a beautiful girl, Patso-gate
("Looking-Alike"), a daughter of Stumbling Bear.
The Sett'an calendar noted the attempts of Datekan or Pa-tepte | ("Buffalo-Coming-Out")
to bring back the buffalo. The Indians were much excited. They could not
accept the fact that the buffalo were gone, but believed that they had
gone underground. Originally, according to Indian mythology, the buffalo
lived underground and were released by the hero god Sindi. Datekan sought
to release them again. Many people believed him, brought him gifts, and
obeyed him implicitly. Big Tree and other skeptics refused to take part.
Finally, he said his medicine had been ruined by violations of taboos
and that they must wait five years longer for the buffalo's return.
Winter, 1882-83—The Sett'an calendar recorded the death of a woman,
Bot-edalte ("Big Stomach"). The Anko calendar recorded that
the Indian police camped this winter on Elk Creek of North Fork of Red
River. There the Texas cattle trail crossed, and the police were on hand
to keep cattle off the reservation. Quanah Parker, chief of the Comanches,
persuaded the allied tribes to lease their grasslands to the cattlemen.
Summer, 1883—The Nez Perce Sun Dance was held, so called because
the Nez Perces came to visit the Kiowas. The Nez Perces, intercepted in
Montana by General Nelson Miles, were sent to Fort Leavenworth, then assigned
to a reservation in Indian Territory. In 1885, after much unhappiness
and illness, they were returned to reservations in Washington and Idaho.
The Nez Perces danced with the Kiowas at "Apache Creek" (Upper
Cache Creek). Set-daya-ite ("Many Bears"), keeper of the Taime
medicine, died, and the office was taken by Taimete ("Taime-man").
Winter, 1883-84—The Sett'an calendar had a picture of a canvas house
with smoke issuing from it. It was said to be the house of Gakinate ("Ten"),
the brother of Lone Wolf. A large number of children went this winter
to the Chilocco Indian School, near Arkansas City, Kansas. A party of
Dakotas also paid the Kiowas a visit to dance with them.
Summer, 1884—No Sun Dance was held. The agent said that he hoped
"we have heard the last of the dance." The Anko calendar noted
the hauling of government freight by the Kiowas, under a policy of hiring
the Kiowas to get them to adopt the white man's industries. Most of the
freight came from the railroad at Caldwell, Kansas, a distance of ISO
miles. The Indians received nearly $8,000 during the year for this work,
which they performed well.
Winter, 1884-85—The Sett'an calendar shows a house over the winter
mark, indicating that the Kiowas were beginning to build houses for themselves.
In 1886 it was officially stated that only nine families lived in houses,
while all the rest lived in tipis. The Anko calendar recorded the "stealing"
of another man's wife by Ton-ak'a ("Water-Turtle"), a medicine
man. The injured husband whipped his wife and killed a number of Ton-ak'a's
Summer, 1885—The Little Peninsula Sun Dance was held in a bend of
the Washita about twenty miles above the agency. Doha-san went to the
Staked Plain to get a buffalo. The Anko calendar noted that the Comanches
received their first grass-lease money. The Kiowas did not make leases
until a year later.
Winter, 1885-86—The outstanding event mentioned in both calendars
was a prairie fire that destroyed much of the property of Te'bodal's and
A dal-pepte's camps, northwest of Mount Scott. It occurred while most
of the tribe had gone to the agency for rations.
Summer, 1886—There was no dance; no buffalo could be found. The
Anko calendar records that Anko enlisted in the agency police force and
that the Kiowas received their first money for grass leases.
Winter, 1886-87—The suicide of Peyi ("Son-of-the-Sand"),
nephew of Sun Boy, was noted in both calendars. He took a horse without
permission and was reproved for it. He was hurt and said, "I have
no father, mother, or brother, and no one cares for me." He killed
himself with a revolver. The Indians were very sensitive to reproof or
derision, a most effective means of social control in primitive societies,
and often took their own lives when they suffered sharp ridicule.
Summer, 1887—The Oak Creek Sun Dance was held, and the agent said
that it was held with his permission but with the understanding that it
was to be the last and it was not to be "of a barbarous nature."
It was held on a tributary of the Washita above Rainy Mountain Creek.
The buffalo for the dance was bought from Charles Goodnight, who kept
a small herd of domesticated buffalo on his ranch in the Palo Duro Canyon
area. Another payment of grass money was received by the Kiowas.
Winter, 1887-88—This winter, in addition to a money payment, the
Indians received a large number of cattle in part payment of their grass
money. The calendars show a cow's head over the winter mark.
Summer, 1888—No Sun Dance was held. The agent was instructed to
prevent the dance, and even to call on the military, if necessary. The
Anko calendar noted the preaching of the prophet Pa-ingya, who claimed
to be invulnerable to bullets. He advocated the destruction of the whites
and caused great excitement. The agent said that the Kiowas were troublesome
and followed the bad advice of Pa-ingya and Lone Wolf, refused to plant
their seed, and took their children out of school. The prophet predicted
that wind and fire would clear the white man off the land; then he would
restore the buffalo and the old way of life. Sacred new fires were made,
and the people were gathered in the western part of the reservation near
Lone Wolf's camp. Sun Boy and Stumbling Bear were skeptical and refused
to follow Pa-ingya. The prophecies failed and the Kiowas lost hope. Nothing
was done to punish the prophet.
r Winter, 1888-89— The Sett'an calendar recorded that during the
winter the Kiowas camped on the Washita. The Anko calendar noted the death
of Chief Pai-talyi ("Sun Boy") .
Summer, 1889 — There was no Sun Dance, and everyone remained at
home on his farm. Grass money was received, and a son of Stumbling Bear
Winter, 1889-90 — The Kiowas spent the winter in their camp on the
Washita. Another grass payment was received. The Comanches visited the
Kiowas to perform the iam dance. The dance had as a main feature the formal
adoption of a child of the other tribe by the visitors. Two men danced
while the rest sat around. There was an exchange of horses by the visited
tribe for presents placed on the ground by the visitors. At the end of
the ceremony the adopted boy was returned to his tribe. The same dance
was known among the Wichitas and Pawnees.
Summer, 1890 — A Sun Dance was started but was stopped by the military
forces. The tribal circle had been formed and the center pole placed when
the dance was stopped. A buffalo could not be had, so an old buffalo robe
was put over the pole. Quanah Parker sent word to Stumbling Bear to advise
the Kiowas to stop the dance or the soldiers would kill them and their
horses. Stumbling Bear sent two young men to the encampment to tell them.
After much discussion, they dispersed.
Winter, 1890-91—This was the winter that Sitting Bull, the Arapaho
prophet of the Ghost Dance, came. The human figure above the winter mark
signified Sitting Bull. Almost the whole tribe attended the first dance
on the Washita at the mouth of Rainy Mountain Creek. Apiatan ("Wooden
Lance") went to visit the prophet Wovoka, to investigate the truth
of the reports about the Ghost Dance religion. He returned in February,
1891. The Kiowas were convinced of the falsity of the doctrine of the
return of the buffalo and the revival of the dead.
The Anko calendar recorded the death of three schoolboys who fled the
government school. One had been whipped. They were frozen during a terrible
blizzard. An outbreak was feared, but Captain H. L. Scott was sent to
investigate and the Indians were quieted.
Summer, 1891—There was no Sun Dance. The event of the summer was
the killing of P'odala-nte, or P'ola'nte ("Coming Snake") in
Greer County, Oklahoma. He was shot by a white man in self-defense.
The Kiowas visited the Cheyennes during the summer.
Winter, 1891-92—The Sett'an calendar records the enlistment of the
Indians, chiefly Kiowas, at Fort Sill. They became Troop L of the Seventh
Cavalry under the command of Lieutenant (later Captain) H. L. Scott.
Summer, 1892—The summer was noted for a measles epidemic. Both calendars
show a human figure covered with red spots. The children were sent home
from the government school where the disease started. This spread the
infection, and the Indians made the mistake of trying to wash off the
spots in cold water.
Mooney said that when he returned to the Kiowa reservation in the early
summer of 1892, deaths were still occurring, and nearly every woman in
the tribe had her hair cut off in mourning and her face and arms gashed
by knives. Some had even chopped off a finger in grief. The men also had
their hair cut in mourning and cuts on their bodies. Wagons, houses, tipis,
and property were burned, and horses and dogs were shot over the graves
to accompany their owners to the next world. During 1892, 221 Kiowas and
Kiowa-Apaches died because of this epidemic. Dr. J. D. Glennan, attending
surgeon to the Indian Troop at Fort Sill, distinguished himself in treating
the stricken Indians. The Kiowa soldiers got together a sum of money to
give him a horse, the favored gift of the Kiowas, but since he already
had a horse, a gift of silver was given him.
Grass money was received during this summer. Noting the value of the money,
the Indians sent a group to Washington to negotiate leases for the whole
reservation. Quanah, Lone Wolf, and White Man were chosen to represent
the Comanches, Kiowas, and Kiowa-Apaches, respectively. Permission was
granted and leases were made, producing for the three tribes about $100,000
Under the new and old leases, $70,000 (already due them) was paid, marking
an era in their history. Some of the money was invested in building homes.
About sixty homes were built within the year. The agent was encouraged
to say that "in the future" the tipis would be banished and
replaced by "comfortable houses."
The yearly calendars ended here. Later calendars of George Poolaw, George
Hunt, and Mary Buffalo continued some of the important events.
Some of the incidents of later years are unexplained by the drawings.
In 1892-93, Big Bow visited the Pueblos. In 1893, Be-hodtle won the Fourth
of July beauty contest in Anadarko. The winter of 1894-95 was when "they
took the horses away from us." A big camp meeting was held in 1895,
and 1895-96 was noted for the issuance of cattle. In 1897, Black Beaver
and Crow died. During the winter of 1897-98, "they made the trip
to Washington." In 1899 came the smallpox summer, and in the summer
Return To Kiowa Page
Mooney, "Calendar History," 254-379, and Plate
LXXV, following p. 254 ,( 298 , citing the Report of the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs, 1854. Old traders estimated the number assembled on
the Arkansas at twelve to fifteen hundred lodges, even including the Texas
or "Woods Comanches," and the number of horses and mules at
from forty to fifty thousand. This assemblage, intended to wipe out the
immigrants, was doomed to failure)
For a comparative table of the calendars of Sett'an,
George Poolaw, George Hunt, and; Mary Buffalo, see Alice Marriott, The
Ten Grandmothers, 142-154, 292-305. Marriott adds (in the Poolaw calendar)
that the Taime god was stolen, along with several Kiowa women, by the
Osages. One of the women returned with the Taime in March. (Marriott,
The Ten Grandmothers, 292.)
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Background Courtesy Silverhawk.