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Native Americans of Kansas

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Kaw Indian Conference, 1857

Conference of Kansa (Kaw) Indians with the U.S. Commission

 of  Indian Affairs, Illustrated London News, 1857


Cherokee Neutral Land

History of Native Americans in Kansas

Indian Missions

Indian Wars of Kansas

Battles and Massacres









Sac and Fox






Long before Kansas ever became a state, there were a number of Native American tribes that called the region home including:  

The Arapaho
The Comanche
The Kanza
The Kiowa
The Osage
The Pawnee

In addition to these first inhabitants, the Cheyenne Indians, who were close allies of the Arapaho, were far-ranging people, covering vast areas of the Great Plains, primarily covering what would become South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and sometimes ranging into northwestern Kansas.

The Wichita Indians who originally lived in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas, also began to push into southern Kansas, as more and more people invaded their original territory.

However, beginning in the 1820s, the area that would become Kansas was permanently set aside as Indian Territory by the U.S. government, and was closed to settlement by whites. The government then began to resettle the Native American tribes already present in eastern Kansas, in order to make room to move eastern tribes in the area. In June, 1825, the Kanza Nation, from whom the state took its name, ceded 20 million acres of their territory and were afterwards limited to a reservation in northeast Kansas. In the same month, the Osage Nation was also limited to a reservation in southeast Kansas.


Wyandot Warrior

In 1830, the Indian Removal Act of 1830 gave the government authority to designate specific Western lands for settlement by Indians removed from their native lands and the Indian Intercourse Act of 1834, specifically set aside Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma as the Indian Territory and numerous tribes began to be moved westward.  Some eastern and mid-western tribes signed treaties agreeing to move onto reservations in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Kansas in exchange for undisputed ownership of the new lands. However, other tribes refused or resisted and were forcibly moved by the US Army.

The tribes relocated Kansas included: 



The Cherokee
The Chippewa

Confederated Tribes of the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Wea and Piankashaw

The Delaware
The Ioway
The Kickapoo

The Miami

The Ottawa
The Potawatomi
The Sac and Fox
The Seneca
The Wyandot


However, because the fertile land in Kansas and Nebraska, both states were re-designated as territories in 1854 and the region opened to white settlement. At that point, the vast majority of Kansas Indians, including many of the tribes originally native to the area, were forced to go through a second removal to Oklahoma in the late 19th century, where many still live today. 


However, four tribes were left in Kansas, that have reservations are federally recognized, Including:

Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated February, 2014.


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