LEGENDS OF KANSAS

 

History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs

 

The Kickapoo Indians

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Kickapoo WikiupKickapoo comes from their word "Kiwigapawa," means "he stands about" or "he moves about." The tribe of the central Algonquian group, formed a division with the Sac and Fox, with whom they had close ethnic and linguistic connections. The Kickapoo first appeared in history about 1667-70 when they were found by Allouez near the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. The Kickapoo were associated with other more powerful tribes occupying the country watered by the Ohio, Wabash and Miami Rivers, in which they participated in a treaty made at Greenville in 1795 by General Wayne, and in those of 1803, at Fort Wayne and Vincennes, Indiana. By these and succeeding treaties, the tribe ceded all their lands on the Wabash, White and Vermilion Rivers.

 

They also ceded lands in the valley of the Illinois River, of which "the said Kickapoo tribe claim a large portion by descent from their ancestors, and the balance by conquest from the Illinois nation, and uninterrupted possession for more than half a century."

 

In consideration of these cessions, they were given a tract of land situated on, and south of, the Osage River in Missouri. The tribe were living on the Wabash River at the time this treaty was made, and removed to Missouri the following year.

 

On October 24, 1832, the Kickapoo ceded their country on the Osage River in Missouri, and, on the November 26th of the same year, were granted a reservation situated north of the Delaware in Kansas and were also to receive an annual subsidy.

 

However, by another treaty on May 18, 1854, their Kansas land was ceded to the United States, "saving and reserving in the western part thereof, 150,000 acres for a future and permanent home" for the tribe. By the terms of the treaty, the specified sum of $20,000 was to be paid the tribe, they to support themselves thereafter.

 

June 28, 1862, a treaty was made, setting apart a portion of the reserve to be divided and held in severalty by members of the tribe, the remainder to be sold, the Atchison & Pike's Peak Railroad Company having the privilege of buying the lands at $1.25 per acre. The company bought 123,832 acres at that price, lying principally in Brown County, Kansas. The lands were advertised for sale in 1866. Those of the tribe who chose to remove to the Indian Territory, numbering about six hundred, were allotted a portion of the Sac and Fox Reservation.

 

The first location of the Kickapoo in Kansas was on the southeast corner of their reservation, near Fort Leavenworth. They were more industrious and their habits were generally more correct than those of many of the tribes to the north.

 

The more rapid improvement of this tribe was in a large measure owing to the influence of Kenekuk, the Kickapoo Prophet, who moved to the Indian Territory with the tribe, and founded a religious sect among them, teaching and practicing the doctrines of sobriety, industry and honesty. The Prophet numbered among his adherents a large proportion of the tribe.

 

Kenekuk, Kickapoo Prophet

Today, there are three recognized Kickapoo tribes in the United States: Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas, the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas. Additionally, there is another band in the Mexican state of Coahuila, as well as a large group in Arizona. Today, there are about 3,000 Kickapoo Tribal Members.

 

 

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated March, 2017.

 

 

 

 

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