Submitted by Barbara Ziegenmyer
The Pawnee lands in Kansas were taken by the Government through treaties with the Kansas and Osages. The cession of the Pawnees in Kansas was insignificant. They had a much better title to Kansas west of the Blue than any other tribes. Irving found the remains of their towns on the Cimarron as late as 1832. Brower claimed to have traced them or their kindred from the Ozarks to the forks of the Kansas River. They lived on the Lower Neosho, in the vicinity of the present Vinita, in the time of Du Tisne. But they were despoiled by the agents of the Government, and their place in Kansas history was thereby circumscribed.
The name Pawnee, Dunbar tells us, comes from the word pd-rik-i, a horn. The tribal mark of the Pawnees was the scalp-lock. No other tribe had one like it. With the Pawnees the scalp-lock was bound about and held in a solid body by buffalo tallow and the paints used by the Indians. It was thus so stiffened that it stood erect. Sometimes it was curved back in the shape of the horn of a buffalo bull. It is said that the term, pa-rik-i, at one time embraced the Pawnee Picts, known to us now as the Wichita Indians.
The four bands of the Pawnees were known among themselves by the following names:
The origin and meaning of some of these tribal designations are lost. Indeed, only the Pit-a-hau-e-rat signification is remembered, and is supposed to imply that the Tapage were the Noisy Pawnees. They were also known as the Smoky Hill Pawnees, having lived on that stream in what is now Kansas well down into historic times. In 1836 they pointed out to Mr. Dunbar the remains of their villages on the Smoky Hill. In 1719; there was a Pawnee town at the mouth of the Republican River—most probably a Tapage Pawnee town.
There were, among the Pawnees, the usual divisions of gentes, but the names of these cannot now be stated with certainty. Morgan gives the following as probable names of Pawnee gentes, but does not pretend that the list embraces all the gentes of the Pawnees as their organization originally existed:
The compact manner in which the Pawnees were always found, and which remained until recently, would seem to justify the conclusion that these gentes or clans extended through all four of the tribal divisions, as with the Iroquois. The chiefs of the band were the governing power, the individuals having little influence in tribal matters.
The principal expeditions to the country of the Pawnees in early times have been noted. In 1833 John T. Irving, Junior, went with Commissioner Ellsworth on a tour of the Indian country tributary to Fort Leavenworth, visiting the Pawnees. Later, he was present when the various tribes gathered at the fort to compose their differences. At that time he witnessed a Pawnee dance, his description of which is here given to show the savage nature of the Pawnees:
In the evening it was determined to bring the Delawares and the Pawnees together as friends, for as yet they had held no intercourse. A large fire was accordingly built before the outhouses in which the Pawnees had taken up their quarters, and the wild troop sallied forth, prepared to commence one of their national dances round the flame. A group of eight or ten savage-looking fellows seated themselves a little distance off, furnished with a drum and rattle. They commenced a song, accompanied by their rude instruments. For a time there was no movement among the Pawnees who stood huddled in a large, condensed crowd. Suddenly one of them, a tall muscular savage, sprang into the middle of the circle, and gazed around with a hurried air; then with a loud yell he commenced his dance. He jumped slowly round the fire, with a kind of zigzag step; at every leap uttering a deep guttural "Ugh!" occasionally accompanied with a rattling sound from the very bottom of his lungs. His comrades looked on silently, but with intense interest. They were a savage group; face and body begrimed with paint; their fierce features reflecting the flame, their teeth bared, and every brow knotted into a frown. Head rose behind head, and gleaming eyes were seen peering through the living mass, until those farthest off were hid by the darkness.
When the first warrior had made two or three circles about the fire, a second left the crowd, and sprang forward in the dance; a third followed, and a fourth, until about twenty were fitting swiftly round, and joining in the song. Occasionally they stopped short in their course, and uttered a loud shrill yell, which was taken up by the whole surrounding horde, until the very trees echoed to the sound. At one moment they moved swiftly forward, and at another their steps were slow and wearied. As we watched their fierce, earnest faces, the forms of some wrapped in shaggy robes, the painted bodies of others writhing in the dance, and then turned to the silent, and equally savage group of lookers-on, it required no great stretch of the imagination to fancy them a host of evil spirits, busied in fiendish revel.
While they were thus engaged, the crowd separated, and revealed a Delaware watching their movements. Behind him were about twenty more of the same tribe. No sooner had the Pawnees caught sight of them than they retired. Old prejudices could not be rooted out at once, and though the dancers remained at their employment, the rest of the tribe drew off in a sullen and haughty group, and stood watching the countenances of their quondam enemies.
This continued during the whole evening. As it grew late, group after group of the Pawnees left the fire, and retired into their dwelling. The Delawares soon followed their example; and although their visit had continued for several hours, I fear it did but little towards removing that ancient venom, which, in spite of their apparent friendship, was rankling in their hearts.
The treaty-scene between the Pawnee and the Kansa, as described by Irving, is worthy a place in any historic work:
The deliberations lasted during the whole day: for, as these Indians had no particular injuries to dwell upon, they confined themselves to things in general; and, as this was a subject that would bear to be expatiated upon, every man continued his address until he had exhausted his wind.
The Pawnees listened with exemplary patience, though I doubt if there was one who regretted when the last speaker had finished.
The morning following, the Pawnees and the Kanzas had a meeting to settle their difficulties. A large chamber in the garrison had been selected for the purpose. About ten o'clock in the forenoon they assembled. The two bands seated themselves upon long wooden benches, on opposite sides of the room. There was a strong contrast between them. The Kanzas had a proud, noble air; and their white blankets, as they hung in loose and graceful folds around them, had the effect of classic drapery.
The Pawnees had no pride of dress. They were wrapped in shaggy robes, and sat in silence—wild and uncouth in their appearance, with scowling brows, and close pressed-mouths.
At length the speaking commenced. First rose the White Plume. He had boasted to his tribe that he would relate such things, in his speech, as should cause the Pawnees to wince. With true Indian cunning, at first, in order that he might conciliate the favorable opinion of those present, he spoke in praise of the whites—expressing his high opinion of them. After this, he gradually edged off into a philippic against the Pawnee nation, representing them as a mean and miserly race—perfidious and revengeful. There was a hushed silence among his own people as he spoke, and every eye was fastened upon the grim group opposite. The White Plume went on; and still the deepest silence reigned through the room; that of the Kanzas arose from apprehension; the silence of the Pawnees was the hushed brooding of fury.
The chief of the Tappage village was sitting directly opposite the speaker; his eyes were dark as midnight; his teeth were bared, and both hands were tightly grasped round his own throat; but he remained silent until the speech had finished. When the White Plume had taken his seat, half a dozen Pawnees sprang to their feet but the Tappage chief waved them down; three times did he essay to speak, and as often did he fail. He rubbed his hand across his throat to keep down his anger; then stepping out, and fixing his eye on that of the Kanza chief, in the calm, quiet voice of smothered rage, he commenced his answer; he proceeded; he grew more and more excited—indulging in a vein of biting irony.
The White Plume quailed, and his eye drooped beneath the searching, scornful glance of his wild enemy. Still the Pawnee went on; he represented the injury which first kindled the war between the two nations. "My young men," said he, "visited the Kanzas as friends; the Kanzas treated them as enemies. They were strangers in the Kanza tribe, and the Kanzas fell upon them and slew them, and concealed their death." He then entered into the particulars of the quarrel, which, unfortunately for the Kanzas, were strongly against them. The chief of the latter tribe received the answer with great philosophy; nor did he attempt to utter anything in reply. Perhaps, too, he did not wish to invite a second attack from so rough a quarter. When the Pawnee had finished, the Commissioner interposed, and after a short time harmony was restored, and several of the inferior chiefs made their harangues. They were of a more calm and conciliating nature, and gradually tended to sooth the inflamed feelings of their foes. The council lasted until sunset, when the terms of the treaty were finally adjusted.
On the 9th of October, 1833, the Confederated Pawnees—all the divisions of the tribe—ceded '' all their right and title in and to all the land lying South of the Platte River." This embraced but a small portion of Kansas—a triangular tract bounded on the south approximately by Prairie Dog Creek, and on the west by the east line of range thirty-seven.
So passed the Pawnees from their ancient heritage in the future State of Kansas.
Arapahos And Cheyennes
The Arapahos and Cheyennes will be considered together. They both belong to the great Algonquian family, and, for a long period, were closely associated. Both were important Plains tribes and bore prominent parts in the early history of that plain along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Cheyennes ranged far down the plains streams, coming into close contact with pioneer settlers of Northwestern Kansas. The Arapahos did not trouble the white people making homes in Western Kansas. Both tribes lay in wait along the great trails to fall upon the stragglers and the unprotected. They were fierce and daring riders in those days, coining over the deserts in clouds of dust, circling the emigrant train or the trader's caravan to take it if they could. If the resistance was too much they vanished across the plain like the wind. The Arapahos led the migration from the Algonquian body in the far North. The Cheyennes brought up the rear. They came from what is now Minnesota. Whether they were in league at the time or whether they formed an alliance later cannot be surely said now. They roamed from the Black Hills to the Arkansas. They were always at war with the Pawnees, Utes, and Shoshonis. Until about 1840 they were at constant war with, the Sioux, Kiowas, and Comanehes. Both the Arapahos and Cheyennes were separated into groups by the treaty of Medicine Lodge in 1876—Southern and Northern Arapahos, and Southern and Northern Cheyennes.
Dunbar was of the opinion that the name Arapaho came from the Pawnee word tirapihu (or carapihu) meaning trader. The Sioux and Cheyennes called the Arapahos "Blue-Sky" men, and."Cloud-men." The import of these appellations is not now known. The Arapahos called themselves Inunaina. They have lost the clan system of organization. In the tribe there are five principal divisions:
The principal divisions are the Northern and Southern Arapahos. The Northern Arapahos are still further divided, as follows:
The Southern Arapahos are separated into the following local bands:
The Cheyennes called themselves Dzi-tsi-is-tas, Our People. The name Cheyenne came from the Sioux designation of this people, that is, from the Sioux word Sha-hyena, those who speak a strange language. It has been said that the name came from the French word Chien—dog— but this is not so. If the Cheyennes ever had the clan system they have lost it. There are eleven divisions of the tribe:
These divisions are still further separated, but these minor local bands need not be enumerated here. Among the Plains tribes there were Military Societies or "Warrior Organizations. This was well developed in the Cheyennes, who had six such societies. One of these came to be known as the "Dog soldiers." It was a large society, and was sometimes supposed to be a regular tribal division. Dog-soldiers are often spoken of in Kansas annals, and the term was not well understood in pioneer times.
The Cheyennes were active in the movement known as the Ghost Dance, of Ghost Dance Religion.
By a treaty made February 18, 1861, the Arapahos and Cheyennes ceded to the Government all their land, and were assigned a reservation outside the limits of Kansas. That part of the cession embraced in. Kansas is a tract extending from the Arkansas River to the north boundary. It is immediately west of the cessions of the Kansas, Osages, and Pawnees, and is some forty miles in width. Its extent north and south is about one hundred and forty-five miles.
The Kiowas enjoy the distinction of constituting alone a linguistir family of North American Indians. The name comes from their word Ka-i-guw,, meaning "Principal People." They lived first on the Yellowstone and the Upper Missouri. From thence they began a southern movement which brought them to notice in historic times along the Upper Arkansas and Canadian rivers. At one time, in their migration, they were in alliance with the Crows. They were at war with the Arapahos and Cheyennes until about 1840, when they began to act in concert with those tribes. They are said by plainsmen to be the most cruel and bloodthirsty of the Plains tribes. They are supposed to have killed more whites than any other tribe in proportion to their number. They were confederated with the Comanches, and, with those American Arabs, raided far into Mexico.
The tribal divisions on which the social organization rests are as follows:
The tribe is now in Oklahoma, between the Washita and Bed rivers. They ceded their lands in Kansas in a treaty to which the Comanches were a party, and which will be noticed in connection with that tribe.
The Comanches were of the Shoshonean linguistic stock. They formerly dwelt with kindred tribes in Southern Wyoming. They were driven south by the Sioux and other tribes with whom they warred. In the early history of the plains they were known as Paduca, the name given them by the Sioux. They lived at one time on the North Platte, which was known as the Paduca Pork as late as 1805. They were said to have roamed from that stream to Bolson de Mapimi, in Chihuahua. They were the finest horsemen that rode the Great Plains, and as buffalo hunters none excelled them. To the Americans they were usually friendly, but they were at war with the Mexican Spaniards for more than two hundred years.
The clan system had ceased to exist in the Comanches. They may, in fact, never have had it. The tribe is separated into divisions or bands, as follows:
1. Detsanayuka, or Nokoni.
On the 18th of October, 1865, at a camp on the Little Arkansas River, in Kansas, the Comanches and Kiowas made a treaty with the United States, by which they ceded all their lands lying in Kansas, and other lands. The tract in Kansas was that part of the State south of the Arkansas River immediately west of the Osage lands. The line between the lands of the Osages and the Comanches and Kiowas ran from a point on the Arkansas River about six miles west of Dodge City south to the state-line.
The cession of the Comanches and Kiowas divested the original Indian owners of the last acre of land they owned in Kansas. Much of this land was given by the Government to other Indians. These were known as the Emigrant Indian Tribes. They were moved to Kansas by the United States as title to their lands were extinguished in the states east of the Mississippi. Most of the Emigrant tribes were given land in Kansas in exchange for their lands further east which the white man required for settlement as he increased his numbers in his westward conquest and occupation of American soil.
One of the reasons entertained by Jefferson for the purchase of Louisiana was that it would afford land for the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi. The English could never sit down and live in a country with people of another nationality. They exterminated and drove out the Gaelic tribes of Britain. They desired an exclusive possession of the land. That was their policy in America. It was continued by the United States.
In the report of Lewis and Clark, 1806, to Jefferson, this policy is mentioned in discussing the lands of the Osages. The report says: "I think two villages, on the Osage River, might be prevailed on to remove to the Arkansas, and the Kansas, higher up the Missouri, and thus leave a sufficient scope of country for the Shawnee, Dillewars, Miames, and Kickapoos."
Some of the Delawares and Shawnees had crossed the Mississippi in 1793, at the invitation of the Spanish Government of Louisiana, and had been assigned a reservation at Cape Girardeau.
It is said that the name of this most remarkable tribe comes from Shawun, south, or Shawunogi, Southerners. They lived in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other states before coming to Kansas. One of their early homes was on the Savannah River, which, indeed, took its name from this tribe. They called themselves Shawano, and "Savannah" is but a corruption of that form of the name.
The Shawnees were the extreme southern people of the Algonquoiau family. It is supposed that they settled on the Savannah at the invitation of the Cherokees, who placed them next to the Catawbas as a protection from that fierce Siouan people. The Shawnees removed from that region because of the injustice and discrimination of the English Colonies. They were made welcome by the Delawares, who assigned them a home on the Susquehannah, in what is now Lancaster County, Pa. The first families of this migration arrived about 1678. Others followed for the next forty years. They were gradually pushed to the westward with other tribes, and in 1756 they were established on the Ohio, where they became firm friends and allies of the French.
There was another band of Shawnees—known as the Western Shawnees. They occupied the valley of the Cumberland River. They seem never to have lived east of the Alleghenies. A war broke out between them and the Cherokees. The Chickasaws were in league with the Cherokees. These tribes expelled the Shawnees from the Cumberland. They took refuge on the north bank of the Ohio about 1730. Their towns which later became famous in pioneer annals were set up by these "Western Shawnees—Sawcunk, Logstown, the Lower Towns at the mouth of the Scioto, and perhaps others. When the Eastern Shawnees were driven across the Alleghenies, they found their Western brethren already seated on the Ohio, and the two divisions of the tribe were merged into the Shawnees so well known to historians. No other Indians gave the back settlements of the English so much trouble. For thirty years the pioneers of Kentucky suffered at their hands. Their towns shifted from the north bank of the Ohio to the interior waters of what is now the State of Ohio. From these villages warriors were constantly departing to raid the Kentucky settlements.
The Shawnees bore important parts in the wars of the West. They were pushed gradually farther and farther to the westward. It was the Shawnee Prophet who fought the battle of Tippecanoe. They began to cross the Mississippi soon after the French and Indian War. At one time there were hundreds of them around the new post of St. Louis. When the Spaniards owned Louisiana they feared the Osages, and it was to form a bumper between themselves and the Osages that caused them to settle the Shawnees and the Delawares at Cape Girardeau. Bands of both the Shawnees and the Delawares scattered to the Southwest, some drifting as far as Texas. When Louisiana came into possession of the United States the American policy was exercised towards all tribes alike. In 1825, that year fateful to Indian possessions, the Government made a treaty with these Western Shawnees, in the preamble of which it is recited that:
"Whereas the Shawnee Indians were in possession of a tract of land near Cape Girardeau, in the State of Missouri, settled under permission from the Spanish Government, given to the said Shawnees and Delawares by Baron de Carondelet, on the fourth day of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, and recorded in the office of the Recorder of Land Titles at St. Louis, containing about twenty-five miles square, which said tract was abandoned by the Delawares, in the year 1815; and from which the said Shawnees, under assurance of receiving other land in exchange, did remove, after having made valuable and lasting improvements on the same, which were taken of by citizens of the United States, etc.
For the cession of the land above mentioned the Shawnees were given a tract of land equal to fifty miles square out of the land then recently ceded by the Osages. This tract was twenty-five miles north and south by one hundred miles east and west, lying west of the Missouri and south of the present south line of the State of Kansas. Upon examination this tract was not satisfactory. The tribe was permitted to make another selection. The land immediately south of the Kansas River being then unassigned, the Shawnees chose that as their future home, relinquishing the tract specifically given them in the treaty. The accurate description of the lands so selected is set out 'in the treaty made with the Shawnees, May 10, 1854. The reservation on the south side of the Kansas River was estimated to contain sixteen hundred thousand acres of land. It is one of the most beautiful and fertile tracts in America.
It required some time to settle all the details
of changing the reservations. The treaty had been made with the Chillicothe division sometimes called the Meremac
band, which, it seems, had crossed the Mississippi at the suggestion of the Spaniards. The Fish band of this division
moved to the new reservation in 1828. A few Shawnees had come the year previous, and the old members of the tribe
have told this author that a few of their people had been living there some years before the treaty of 1825 was
made. Their influence caused the change in the location of the reservation. It is possible that this was the real
cause of the change. The first Shawnees to arrive settled on the highlands, in what is now Wyandotte County, and
not far from the present town of Turner. Others came slowly. Some were in Missouri, some were in Ohio, some were
in Arkansas, some in Texas, and some in what is now Oklahoma. It required ten years to assemble the tribe—then
all did not come. In 1830 some of the Ohio Shawnees came. They contracted smallpox in St. Louis, the disease spreading
to others living near the present town of Merriam, in Johnson County, and killing many. In ] 832 the remainder
of the Ohio Shawnees arrived on the Kansas River. With their coming the tribe was more nearly united than ever
before except when they first gathered on the Upper Ohio. They suffered secession, however, for about 1845 a large
number of the tribe left the Kansas River reservation and moved to the Canadian, where they were known as the "Absentee
In 1830 the Methodist Episcopal Church established a mission among the Shawnees. The first building was probably in section twenty-four (24), township eleven (11), range twenty-four (24), on the uplands just east of Turner, in Wyandotte County. With the Fish band in 1828, came Frederick Chouteau, who set up a trading-house on the south side of the Kansas River immediately north of the present and above mentioned town of Turner. The mission was given its location because of the proximity of the trading-house. Chouteau soon became interested in the Kansa Indian trade, building a post at Horseshoe Lake (now Lakeview), and, later, at the Kansas Mission, in Shawnee County. The discontinuance of his trading-post near the Shawnee caused the Methodist Mission to be moved to what is now Johnson County, some three miles from the old town of Westport, Mo. Substantial brick buildings were erected there by Rev. Thomas Johnson, the missionary, a man of superior parts and especially fitted for his work. The manual-labor school was on the south-west quarter of section three (3), township twelve (12), range twenty-five (25). Good schools were maintained, which were attended by the Shawnee children and by Indian children of other tribes. This mission was for a time the capital of Kansas Territory.
The Baptists founded a mission among the Shawnees in 1831. Dr. Johnson Lykins and his wife were appointed missionaries to the Shawnees through the efforts of Rev. Isaac McCoy. Dr. Lykins put up a small building on the Missouri side of the State-line, where he first labored, preaching, and teaching the Shawnee children. In 1832 he erected a mission building on the northeast quarter of section five (5), township twelve (12), range twenty-four (24). There he opened his school the same year. On the 13th of July, 1833, Rev. Moses Merrill and his wife arrived at the mission from Sault St. Marie to aid in the work among the Shawnees. Later in the same year Rev. Jotham Meeker and his wife reached the Baptist Shawnee Mission. They brought with them a Miss C. Brown. Mr. and Mrs. Merrill and Miss Brown were sent to labor among the Otoes, leaving the Shawnee Mission October 25, 1833. Mr. Meeker brought as a part of his equipment a small printing press and a quantity of type. By the 10th of May, 1834, he had printed two books in a system of phonography of his own invention for the use of the Indians. On the.first day of March, 1835, the first number of a semi-monthly newspaper was issued. It was edited by Dr. Lykins and printed at the Shawnee Mission. This is said to have been the first newspaper ever published exclusively in an Indian language. It was called the Shau-wau-nowe Kesawfhwau, which in the Shawnee tongue is The Shawnee Sun. This was the first Kansas newspaper. (Source: A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans By William Elsey Connelley)
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