Upcoming Events
  • Native Youth Preventing Diabetes Camp
    DUE by June 1, 2015

    For more information see the flyer to the left. For registration packet, see here.

  • Wichita Travel Plaza Cashiers Needed

    The Wichita Travel Plaza is hiring part-time entry level cashiers.  Applicants must possess a valid Oklahoma drivers' license, have reliable transportation and be able to work flexible schedules.  Apply in person at The Wichita Travel Plaza 1 mile North of Anadarko.  Applications are available onsite.  Indian preference applies.

  • BIA TREES Pathways Program
    Apply by June 2015

    Tuition assistance, internships, and job placement, available to Native American and Alaska Native forestry and natural resources students. More information can be found in this flyer

  • 2015 Annual General Council Meeting
    July 18, 2015

    2015 Annual General Council Meeting will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2015. More details to be posted later. 

  • Annual Dance
    August 13 – 16, 2015

    The Annual Dance this year will be August 13 - 16, 2015. More details to come.

  • Texas Archeological Society Scholarship Program
    June 13-19

    The Texas Archeological Society (TAS) cordially invites you to participate in the annual field school to be held at Tait-Huffmeyer 7T6 Ranch site near Columbus, Texas, on June 13-19. Activities at this year's field school will focus on excavation, pedestrian survey, and artifact processing. Additional information about this year's field school can be found on the attached flyer or at the following URL: http://www.txarch.org/Activities/fschool/fs2015/.

     

    The TAS Native American Scholarship Program is offering up to two representatives from each tribe financial assistance to attend the field school (no previous experience required!). Since 2003, the TAS Native American Program has provided over 90 scholarships to members from 17 Native American Tribes to attend the annual field school. These scholarships are sponsored by donations from members of the TAS and other local archeological societies, the Council of Texas Archeologists, archeological contracting firms, foundations, and others. The scholarship program increases the level of understanding among the many people who have called Texas home. The program allows our members to meet, talk with, and learn from the native peoples whose traditions and lifeways are tied to Texas archeological sites. Additional information about the Native American Scholarship Program can be found at the following URL:   http://www.txarch.org/scholarships/native.html.

Wichita Language
ko:s
eagle
More Wichita Words
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Wichita Tribes Blog
  • White House to Host Tribal Youth Gathering
    May 12, 2015 12:23 PM

    WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, July 9, 2015, the White House will host the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, DC, to provide American Indian and Alaska Native youth from across the country the opportunity to interact directly with senior Administration officials and the White House Council on Native American Affairs. The Tribal […]

  • Summer Youth Program NOW ENROLLING
    May 12, 2015 11:05 AM

    The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes Juvenile Services Program will be hosting a Summer Youth Program for enrolled tribal members and descendants (descendants must provide proof of eligibility for example father/mother CDIB card or other documentation).  The program will focus on those between the ages 6 – 15 years old.  It will be hosted at the […]

  • Texas Archeological Society Scholarship
    May 12, 2015 8:22 AM

    The Texas Archeological Society (TAS) cordially invites you to participate in the annual field school to be held at Tait-Huffmeyer 7T6 Ranch site near Columbus, Texas, on June 13-19. Activities at this year’s field school will focus on excavation, pedestrian survey, and artifact processing. Additional information about this year’s field school can be found on […]

  • Wichita Food Distribution Program Demos
    April 10, 2015 11:46 AM

  • Oklahoma Inter-tribal Diabetes Coalition Golf Scramble
    April 10, 2015 11:45 AM

  • WDEP Hosts Great American Clean-Up
    April 10, 2015 11:43 AM

  • Tribal Princess Birthday Honor Dance
    April 10, 2015 11:42 AM

  • Job Application Class today!
    February 12, 2015 9:45 AM

  • Informational Meeting for Elders in the Community
    January 13, 2015 4:01 PM

  • Seeking Tribal Administrator
    January 13, 2015 12:15 PM

    The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes has an opening for the position of a Tribal Administrator. Under the supervision of the Wichita Executive Committee, position is responsible for the daily administration and overall operation of Tribal Programs. DUTIES: Responsible for the efficient operation of all tribal programs, submission of proposals for funding and implementation of the […]

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