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Kiowa - Early Relations with the United States

Drawing of Colonel Henry Dodge made by George Catlin in 1834. Dodge was the first representative of the United States to meet with the Kiowa.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.

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Entry: Kiowa - Early Relations with the United States

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: September 2015

Date Modified: December 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.