Upcoming Events
  • 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
ka:hi:wá:ʔa
Kiowa
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 […]

People of the Grass House: 1750-1820

"Here they lived the woman fixing up the place, building their grass lodge and shed to dry meat, Man-Fond-of-Deer-Meat doing all the hunting . . . They lived here a good long while, the woman remaining at home, the man going out hunting every day. They always had plenty of meat, and the woman raised corn, so they had plenty to eat." - Niastor in The Mythology of the Wichita, 1904

The Southern Plains is a land of seasonal changes with spring thunderstorms, hot summer days, and cool but dry winter months. The Wichitas adapted to this environment and reaped abundant harvests from the land by farming and hunting. During the spring, summer, and early fall they lived in grass house villages while the women cultivated nearby gardens. Crops were planted together in the gardens. Each summer, beans climbed the stalks of multicolored corn, and green leafed squash or "pumpkin" plants spread their vines over the ground.

As summer days shortened and crisp fall mornings dawned, women preserved their harvested corn by roasting and drying it in the sun. Pumpkins were cut into long strips and also sun-dried before being woven into mats which could be folded and stored for later use. The dried corn and pumpkin were used in meat soups or boiled for side dishes. Cornmeal was made by grinding dried corn with a wooden mortar or grinding stone. This cornmeal was then made into bread. Pumpkin mats were often traded to the Comanches or Kiowas for dried buffalo meat. Preserved foods were stored in buffalo-hide bags in underground cache pits until they were needed later in the year or when the harvest was poor and food was scarce.

During the late fall and winter, the Wichitas left their villages for extended buffalo hunts. Living in tipis with family members camping near one another, the men tried to bring in enough game to provide meat for later seasons. Women prepared the meat by thinly slicing it and hanging it to dry in the cool winter's sun. Afterwards, the meat could be transported and stored in buffalo-hide bags for future use. Through the cooperative efforts of both men and women, the annual economic cycle began as the people returned to their summer villages.

Their grass houses, vacant through the winter months, often needed repairs before they could be reoccupied comfortably. Working as a team, family members cut bundles of bluestem grass; women or boys climbed up the cedar frames to repair the walls. The houses could accommodate a family of 10 to 12 people, including a woman and her husband, their unmarried children, as well as their married daughters and sons-in-law, and their grandchildren. Most matters were decided within the individual families, although each village had leaders chosen by a council of outstanding warriors. These leaders were selected because of their demonstrated wisdom, bravery, and generosity.

Wichita ceremonial life closely followed the seasonal round of economic activities. The deer dance, a ceremony performed by the medicine men, was held when the first grass appeared, when corn ripened, and when corn was harvested. The calumet ceremony, involving the presentation of a feathered pipestem to a prominent individual, was believed to be of lasting benefit to the tribe. Other ceremonies were performed to ensure good harvests, the successful return of war parties, or the abundance of buffalo.

Next: Days of Darkness