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Kiowan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                   

  • Kiaways, Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III, 402, 1853 (on upper waters Arkansas).
  • Kioway, Turner in Pac. R. R. Rep., III, pt. 3, 55, 80, 1856 (based on the (Caigua) tribe only). Buschmann, Spuren der aztek. Sprache, 432, 433, 1859. Latham, EL. Comp. Phil., 444, 1862 (“more Paduca than aught else”).
  • Kayowe, Gatschet in Am. Antiq., 280, Oct., 1882 (gives phonetics of).

Derivation: From the Kiowa word Kó-i, plural Kó-igu, meaning “Káyowe man.” The Comanche term káyowe means “rat.”

The author who first formally separated this family appears to have been Turner. Gallatin mentions the tribe and remarks that owing to the loss of Dr. Say’s vocabularies “we only know that both the Kiowa and Kaskaia languages were harsh, guttural, and extremely difficult.”60 Turner, upon the strength of a vocabulary furnished by Lieut. Whipple, dissents from the opinion expressed by Pike and others to the effect that the language is of the same stock as the Comanche, and, while admitting that its relationship to Comanche is greater than to any other family, thinks that the likeness is merely the result of long intercommunication. His opinion that it is entirely distinct from any other language has been indorsed by Buschmann and other authorities. The family is represented by the Kiowa tribe.

So intimately associated with the Comanche have the Kiowa been since known to history that it is not easy to determine their pristine home. By the Medicine Creek treaty of October 18, 1867, they and the Comanche were assigned their present reservation in the Indian Territory, both resigning all claims to other territory, especially their claims and rights in and to the country north of the Cimarron River and west of the eastern boundary of New Mexico.

The terms of the cession might be taken to indicate a joint ownership of territory, but it is more likely that the Kiowa territory adjoined the Comanche on the northwest. In fact Pope61 definitely locates the Kiowa in the valley of the Upper Arkansas, and of its tributary, the Purgatory (Las Animas) River. This is in substantial accord with the statements of other writers of about the same period. Schermerhorn (1812) places the Kiowa on the heads of the Arkansas and Platte. Earlier still they appear upon the headwaters of the Platte, which is the region assigned them upon the map.62 This region was occupied later by the Cheyenne and Arapaho of Algonquian stock.

Population.—According to the United States census for 1890 there are 1,140 Kiowa on the Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita Reservation, Indian Territory.

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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