Upcoming Events
  • Annual Dance
    August 11-14, 2016

    Wichita Annual Dance is scheduled for August 11-14, 2016. Mark your calendars. More information to be provided at a later date. 

Wichita Language
he:cʔa
fire
More Wichita Words
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Wichita Tribes Blog
  • TAG OFFICE TIME CHANGES
    June 2, 2016 8:10 AM

    BEGINNING IN JUNE 2016, THE WICHITA TAG OFFICE AND TAX COMMISSION WILL BE CLOSED THE 1ST AND 3RD MONDAY FROM 8 AM- 1PM.  TAGS WILL NOT BE ISSUED DURING THIS TIME. PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING DAYS THE TAG OFFICE WILL BE OPEN FROM 1 PM-4:30 PM ONLY:   JUNE 6TH & JUNE 20TH JULY 5TH […]

  • 14th Annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair
    April 20, 2016 1:03 PM

  • Community Visioning Meeting for Enrolled Tribal Members
    April 14, 2016 4:01 PM

    Saturday, April 30, 2016 @ 10:00 a.m. in the Community Building located at the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes  Lunch will be provided. There will also be door prizes available. The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes Executive Committee will hold a one day Community Visioning Session to gain tribal community input on the economic development vision, community priorities […]

  • Lawton IHS Centennial
    April 14, 2016 3:46 PM

    Lawton Indian Hospital will be celebrating 100 years on this date with reception to follow. More information can be found in the flyer.

  • Elder Informational Meeting
    April 14, 2016 3:45 PM

    Information from different entities providing services for elders will be available at this informational session. Meal provided. More information on this event can be found in the flyer.

  • JOM Honor Dance 2016
    April 14, 2016 3:44 PM

    JOM student awards will be presented at this event, along with a meal and honor dance.

  • Land Buy Back Program
    March 9, 2016 4:29 PM

    The Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value. Consolidated interests are immediately restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members. There are […]

  • Circuit Training
    February 19, 2016 8:37 AM

  • Great American Cleanup
    February 18, 2016 3:21 PM

  • 2016 High School Senior Assistance
    February 18, 2016 3:17 PM

Days of Darkness: 1820-1934

"Generation after generation the corn was to be used. And if the time should come that they planted corn and something else than corn came up, it would be a sign that the end of the world was at hand." - Tawakoni Jim in The Mythology of the Wichita, 1904

Although European settlements introduced new types of goods to the Wichitas, they also brought highly contagious diseases. At the same time, hostilities increased as eastern tribes were removed to Indian Territory. As such turmoil cast a lengthening shadow over the land, the Wichitas lost many people. In 1820, the once populous Wichitas, Wacos, Tawakonis, Taovayas, and Kichais were estimated at no more than 1400 persons. Truly the "days of darkness" had begun.

This trend continued even with the signing of the first American-Wichita treaty at Camp Holmes in 1835. There can be no doubt about the sincerity of the Wichitas who persuaded their Comanche allies to attend and sign this agreement which recognized their right to their traditional homeland. This treaty also contains the first official usage of the name "Wichita" for the Wichita, Waco, and Tawakoni people.

After the Texas Republic was established in 1836, the Wichitas were forced to defend their lands against the intrusions of white settlers. Not until 1855, after Texas joined the United States, was a reservation for the Wichitas established on the Brazos River. However, continued hostilities from neighboring settlers led to the Wichita removal from Texas to lands on the Washita River. There they joined their northern relatives in what is now west-central Oklahoma.

Although a reservation and agency were established, the Wichita people were not able to remain in this land. In 1863, they were forced by Confederate troops to leave their reservation and flee north to Kansas. While in Kansas from 1863 to 1867, the Wichitas had no land to farm and few friends to help them in their time of trouble. Many people starved. Others suffered from smallpox and cholera epidemics that swept through their villages. Only 822 people returned to Indian Territory in 1867.

Traditional Wichita religion encompassed a belief in the supernatural powers of elements of the earth and the sky. Animals often appeared to men in dreams or revelations to become lifelong guardian spirits.

Once settled on the reservation, some became members of the churches established by Christian missionaries. Others turned to the peyote religion, later chartered as the Native American Church, which combined elements of traditional and Christian beliefs. Many Wichitas took up the Ghost Dance religion of the 1890's. They believed in the prophecy of Wovoka, a Paiute from Walker Lake, Nevada. According to Wovoka, people would be reunited with their dead friends and relatives in a land of plentiful game where there would be neither sickness nor death.

Government agents worked to destroy the Ghost Dance religion as well as other elements of Wichita culture. Children were placed in boarding schools where they were forbidden to speak their own language. Even the reservation established in 1872 was not to remain theirs. Led by Tawakoni Jim, the Wichita resisted the breaking up of their assigned lands. However, in 1900 their reservation was divided into allotments of 160 acres per person with the remainder declared "surplus lands" and opened to settlement. Allotment brought about the final destruction of the Wichitas' grass house villages and their communal way of life.

Next: A New Beginning