Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In this lesson, you'll learn about the history of the Kiowa tribe of Native Americans. Read on to find out about their settlements, traditions, foods, and culture.

The 'Coming Out' People

The Kiowa people have a history in North America that goes back well before the settlement of Europeans. Many Native American tribes have creation myths passed down from generation to generation. These myths explain how the people came to be. According to the Kiowa creation myth, their ancestors lived underground.

A trickster, called 'Saynday,' turned the Kiowa people into ants. Then he made them leave their underground home through a log. Only half of the Kiowa were able to leave, because one of them became stuck in the opening. Because of this myth, Kiowa refer to themselves as the 'coming out' people.

Kiowa in native dress.
Kiowa

In Native American myths, a trickster is a supernatural being who can take many forms. Tricksters may be ravens, bears, or other animals that don't follow the rules of the tribe and cause problems.

Migrations in the U.S.

Over 300 years ago, the Kiowa lived in Montana. By the time of the U.S. Revolution, they'd migrated, or moved, into Wyoming and South Dakota, where they lived in the Black Hills Mountains. Other Native American tribes pushed them onward, until the Kiowa ended up on land that is now part of Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

This area had many bison, or buffalo, and wild horses, so the Kiowa learned to hunt bison on horseback. They became hunter-gatherers, gathering food such as berries and wild potatoes. They also traded with other tribes for maize, a type of corn, and pumpkin. They hunted bison for meat, but the Kiowa also used other parts of the buffalo to make other products, such as robes and leather.

A Kiowa Girl
girl

The people lived in tipis (pronounced 'tee pees') that were decorated with pictures showing the important deeds of the man who lived there. The decorations used on the tipis were passed down through many generations of the same family.

During the 1800s, European settlers moved westward and interacted with the Native American people. In 1867, the Medicine Lodge Treaty created a reservation of almost 3 million acres for the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache tribes in Oklahoma. A reservation is a piece of land set aside for the Native Americans, who were forced to give up their own lands to live on the reservation.

Traditions and Customs

If you were a Kiowa, you would call your cousins your 'brothers and sisters.' Your mother's sisters would also be called 'mother,' and your father's brothers would be called 'father.' They had very close relationships among their families.

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