SET-T'AINTE (Satanta, White Bear)


In April, 1864, a government physician was sent out among the tribes to vaccinate them as a protection from small pox which had recently decimated them. He found them all apparently friendly and spent some time in the camp of Set-T ainte (Satanta).

At this time, the civil war was going on and Texas was fighting the general govenrment, which confirmed the Indians in their belief that Texans and Americans were two distinct and hostile Nations.

In 1871, a large raiding party killed 7 white men in Texas and captured a number of mules. Upon their return, the leaders bragged about their deeds in the presence of the agent and General Sherman, who promptly arrested the the 3 most prominent, Set-angya (Santank, Setting Bear), Set-tainte, (Satanta, White Bear) and Ado-eette (Big Tree). They were to be taken to Texas for trial and punishment. Set-angya resisted and was killed. The other two were sent to Texas, tried and sent to prison.

Satanta and Big Tree were finally released by the governor of Texas in October 1873. In 1874, reports of raids started coming in and by Novemeber, Satanta was captured and sent back to prison in Texas. In 1878, 4 years after his caprure, Satanta committed suicide by jumping from the upper story of the prison. His death removed one of the most prominent chiefs in Kiowa history, the most daring and succesful Warrior. While in authority, he was second only to Lone Wolf. His eloquence and expression in his native language earned him the title "Orator of the Plains."

Chief Satanta's Grave
Fort Sill Cemetery, Lawton OK


Information from "The Ten Grandmothers" by Alice Marriott, published by University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1945; and "Calender History of the Kiowa Indians" by James Mooney, published by Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. from reports, 1895-1896.

Copyright, 1998-2005

Updated 4-15-2005

This information compiled, prepared and submitted to this site by Ethel Taylorand remains the property of the submitter
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