Oklahoma extract from
John Reed Swanton's

The Indian Tribes of North America

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(Oklahoma) Extract from

The Indian Tribes of North America

by John R. Swanton
Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145—1953
[726 pages—Smithsonian Institution]
(pp. 299-307)


Alabama. This was one of the tribes of the Creek Confederacy, part of which accompanied the Creeks to Oklahoma early in the nineteenth century and settled near Weleetka, where a small station on the Frisco Railway bears their name. (See Alabama.)

Apache. The name was given to a tribe or rather a group of tribes. (See Jicarilla under Colorado; Kiowa Apache, under Kansas; Lipan under Texas; also Apache under New Mexico.)

Apalachee. A few individuals of this tribe removed to Oklahoma from Alabama or Louisiana. Dr. Gatschet learned the names of two or three individuals about 1884. (See Florida.)

Arapaho. In early times the Arapaho ranged to some extent over the western sections of Oklahoma, and part of them (the Southern Arapaho) were finally given a reservation and later allotted land in severalty in the west central part along with the Southern Cheyenne. (See Wyoming.)

Biloxi. A few Biloxi reached Oklahoma and settled with the Choctaw and Creeks. (See Mississippi.)

Caddo. The Caddo moved to Oklahoma in 1859 and were given a reservation in the southwestern part about Anadarko, where they were allotted land in severalty. (See Texas.)

Cherokee. The Cherokee were moved to a large reservation in the northeastern part of Oklahoma in the winter of 1838-39. After nearly 70 years of existence under their own tribal government they were allotted land in severalty and became citizens of the United States. (See Tennessee.)

Cheyenne. The history of the Southern Cheyenne parallels that of the Southern Arapaho as given above. (See South Dakota.)

Chickasaw. The Chickasaw moved to the present Oklahoma between 1822 and 1840. They had their own government for many years but are now citizens. (See Mississippi.)

Choctaw. This tribe moved to Oklahoma about the same time as the Chickasaw though several thousand remained in their old country. Like the Chickasaw they had their own national government for a long time but are now citizens at large of Oklahoma. (See Mississippi.)

Comanche. The western part of Oklahoma was occupied by the Comanche during their later history, and they were finally given a reservation in the southwestern part of it, where they were allotted land in severalty and given the privileges of citizenship. (See Texas.)

Creeks. The tribes constituting the Creek Confederacy came to Oklahoma between 1836 and 1841 and were given a reservation in the northeastern part, where they maintained a national government until early in the present century when their lands were allotted in severalty, and they became citizens. (See Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.)

Delaware. In 1867 a part of the Delaware were removed from Kansas to the northeastern part of what is now Oklahoma and incorporated with the Cherokee Nation. Another band of Delaware is with the Caddo and Wichita in southwestern Oklahoma. (See New Jersey.)

Foxes. A few Fox Indians accompanied the Sauk (q. v.) to Oklahoma in 1867. (See Wisconsin.)

Hitchiti. This is a subtribe of the Creek Confederacy. (See Georgia; also Creeks and Creek Confederacy above and under Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.)

Illinois. In 1868 the surviving Illinois Indians, principally Peoria and Kaskaskia, previously united with the Miami bands, Wea and Piankashaw, moved to Oklahoma and occupied a reserve in the northeastern part of the State under the name Peoria. (See Illinois.)

Iowa. Part of the Iowa were moved from Kansas to a reserve in central Oklahoma set apart in 1883; they were allotted land in severalty in 1890. (See Iowa.)

Iroquois. Some Iroquois Indians, together with the Tuscarora, some Wyandot, and probably Indians of the former Erie Nation, all under the name of Seneca Indians, were given a reservation in northeastern Oklahoma, where their descendants still live, now as citizens of the United States. (See New York and Ohio.)

Jicarilla. This was one of those Athapascan tribes known as Apache. In early times they ranged over parts of western Oklahoma. (See Colorado.)

Kansa. In 1873 the Kansa were moved to Oklahoma and given a reservation in the northeastern part of the State. (See Kansas.)

Kichai. In very early times this tribe lived on, or perhaps north of, Red River, but later they worked their war south to the headwaters of the Trinity. In 1859 they returned to the north side of the river in haste in fear of attack by the Texans and have since lived with the Wichita in the neighborhood of Anadarko. (See Texas.)

Kickapoo. In 1873 some Kickapoo were brought back from Mexico and settled in the central part of Oklahoma, where all but a certain portion of the Mexican band were afterward gathered. (See Wisconsin.)

Kiowa and Kiowa Apache. These tribes formerly ranged over much of the western part of this State. (See Kansas.)

Koasati. The Koasati were one of the tribes of the Creek Confederacy. They removed to northeastern Oklahoma with the rest of the Creeks and settled in the western part of the Creek territory. (See Alabama and Louisiana.)

Lipan. The Lipan were the easternmost band of Apache; some of them are with the Tonkawa. (See Texas.)

Miami. Part of the Miami were brought from Indiana and given a reservation in the extreme northeastern part of Oklahoma along with the Illinois (q. v.). (See Indiana.)

Mikasuki. Some of these Indians accompanied the Seminole to Oklahoma and as late as 1914 had a Square Ground of their own. (See Florida.)

Missouri. The remnant of the Missouri came to Oklahoma with the Oto in 1882 and shared their reservation. (See Missouri.)

Modoc. In 1873, at the end of the Modoc War, a part of the defeated tribe was sent to Oklahoma and placed on the Quapaw Reservation where a few yet remain. (See Oregon.)

Muklasa. A small Creek division said to have kept its identity in Oklahoma. (See Alabama.)

Munsee. A few Munsee accompanied the Delaware proper to Oklahoma and 21 were reported there in 1910. (See New Jersey.)

Muskogee. This was the name of the principal tribe or group of tribes of the Creeks (q. v.).

Natchez. A small band of Natchez accompanied the Creeks to Oklahoma and settled near Eufaula, where they later became merged in the rest of the Creek population. Another band of Natchez settled in the Cherokee Nation, near Illinois River, and a very few still preserve something of their identity. (See Mississippi.)

Nez Percé. Chief Joseph's band of Nez Percé were sent to Oklahoma in 1878, but they suffered so much from the change of climate that they were transferred to Colville Reservation in 1885. (See Idaho.)

Okmulgee. A Creek tribe and town belonging to the Hitchiti division of the Nation. Its name is perpetuated in the city of Okmulgee, former capital of the Creek Nation in Oklahoma. (See Georgia.)

Osage. The Osage formerly owned most of northern Oklahoma and after they had sold the greater part of it still retained a large reservation in the northeast, which they continue to occupy, though they have now been allotted land in severalty. (See Missouri.)

Oto. In 1880 a part of the Oto moved to the lands of the Sauk and Fox Indians in Oklahoma and in 1882 the rest followed. (See Nebraska.)

Ottawa. When they surrendered their lands in Michigan and Ohio, some Ottawa bands including those of Blanchard's Fork and Roche de Boeuf migrated to Kansas, and about 1868, to Oklahoma, settling in the northeastern part of the State. (See Michigan.)

Pawnee. The Pawnee moved to Oklahoma in 1876 and were given a reservation in the north central part of the State, where they have now been allotted land in severalty. (See Nebraska.)

Peoria. (See Illinois.)

Piankashaw, see Miami.

Ponca. In 1877 the Ponca were moved by force to Oklahoma and, though some individuals were finally allotted land in severalty in their old country, the greater part settled permanently near the Osage in northeastern Oklahoma.

Potawatomi. The Potawatomi of the Woods were moved from Kansas to Oklahoma in 1867-81 and given a reservation in the central part of the State. (See Michigan.)

Quapaw. Lands were granted to the Quapaw in the extreme southeastern part of Kansas and the extreme northeastern part of Oklahoma in 1833. In 1867, they ceded all their lands in Kansas and have since confined themselves within the limits of Oklahoma, though a large part have removed to the reservation of the Osage. (See Arkansas.)

Sauk. In 1867 the Sauk ceded their lands in Kansas in exchange for a tract in the central part of Oklahoma, where they have continued to live down to the present time. (See Wisconsin.)

Seminole. The greater part of the Seminole were removed to Oklahoma after the Seminole War in Florida. (See Florida.)

Seneca, see Iroquois.

Shawnee. The Absentee Shawnee moved from Kansas to what is now central Oklahoma about 1845; in 1867 a second bands which had been living with the Seneca in Kansas, also moved to Oklahoma but settled in the extreme northeastern part of the State; and in 1869 the third and largest section removed to the lands of the Cherokee by agreement with that tribe. (See Tennessee.)

Tawakoni. Said to refer to "a river bend among red hills," or "neck of land in the water." The synonyms should not be confounded with those of the Tonkawa. Also called:

Three Canes, an English form resulting from a mistaken attempt to translate the French spelling of their name, Troiscannes.

Connections.The Tawakoni belonged to the Caddoan linguistic stock and were most closely connected with the Wichita, the two languages differing but slightly.

Location.They were on the Canadian River about north of the upper Washita. (See also Texas.)


Flechazos, on the west side of Brazos River near the present Waco.

History.The Tawakoni were first met in the above location in company with the Wichita and other related tribes. Within the next 50 years, probably as a result of pressure on the part of more northerly peoples, they moved south and in 1772 they were settled in two groups on Brazos and Trinity Rivers, about Waco and above Palestine. By 1779 the group on the Trinity had rejoined those on the Brazos. In 1824 part of the Tawakoni were again back on Trinity River. In 1855 they were established on a reservation near Fort Belknap on the Brazos, but in 1859 were forced, by the hostility of the Texans, to move north into southwestern Oklahoma, where they were officially incorporated with the Wichita.

Population.Mooney (1928) includes the Tawakoni among the Wichita (q. v.). In 1772 Mézičres reported 36 houses and 120 warriors in the Trinity village and 30 families in the Brazos village, perhaps 220 warriors in all. In 1778-79 he reported that these two towns, then on the Brazos, contained more than 300 warriors. Sibley (1832) reported that in 1805 the Tawakoni, probably including the Waco, numbered 200 men. In 1859 they were said to number 204 exclusive of the Waco. The census of 1910 records only a single survivor of this tribe.

Tawehash. Meaning unknown. Lesser and Weltfish (1932) suggest that this group was identical with a Wichita band reported to them as Tiwa. They have been given some of the same synonyms as the Wichita (q. v.).

Connections.The Tawehash belonged to the Caddoan linguistic stock and were related closely to the Wichita, Tawakoni, Waco, and Yscani.

Location.Their earliest known home was on Canadian River north of the headwaters of the Washita.


In 1778 Mézičres found two native villages to which he gave the names San Teodoro and San Bernardo.

History.The Tawehash were encountered in the above situation by La Harpe in 1719. They moved south about the same time as the Tawakoni and other tribes of the group and were found on Red River in 1759, when they defeated a strong Spanish force sent against them. They remained in this same region until in course of time they united with the Wichita and disappeared from history. Their descendants are among the Wichita in Oklahoma.

Population.Most writers give estimates of the Tawehash along with the Wichita and other related tribes. In 1778 they occupied two villages aggregating 160 lodges and numbered 800 fighting men and youths.

Tonkawa. In 1884 the remnant of the Tonkawa were removed to Oklahoma and the next year settled on a reservation near Ponca, where they were finally allotted land in severalty. (See Texas.)

Tuskegee. A Creek division believed to be connected linguistically with the Alabama Indians. It removed to Oklahoma with the other Creeks and established itself in the northwestern part of the allotted territory. (See Alabama.)

Waco. According to Lesser and Weltfish (1932), from Wehiko, a corruption of México, and given the name because they were always fighting with the Mexicans. The same authorities report that the Waco are thought to have been a part of the Tawakoni without an independent village but separated later. Also called:

Gentlemen Indians, by Bollaert (1850).
Houechas, Huanchané, by French writers, possibly intended for this tribe.

Connections.The Waco were most closely related to the Tawakoni of the Wichita group of tribes belonging to the Caddoan Stock.

Location.They appear first in connection with their village on the site of the present Waco, Tex., though their original home was in Oklahoma with the Wichita.


Quiscat, named from its chief, on the west side of the Brazos on a bluff or plateau above some springs and not far from the present Waco.

History.According to native informants as reported by Lesser and Weltfish (1932), the Waco are formerly supposed to have constituted a part of the Tawakoni without an independent village. It has also been suggested that they may have been identical with the Yscani, but Lesser and Weltfish identify the Yscani with another band. Another possibility is that the Waco are descendants of the Shuman tribe. (See Texas.) In later times the Waco merged with the Tawakoni and Wichita.

Population.In 1824 the Waco had a village of 33 grass houses and about 100 men, and a second village of 15 houses and an unnamed number of men. In 1859, just before their removal from Texas, they numbered 171. They are usually enumerated with the Wichita (q. v.), but the census of 1910 returned 5 survivors.

Connection in which they have become noted.Almost the sole claim to special remembrance enjoyed by the Waco is the fact that its name was adopted by the important city of Waco, Tex. It also appears as the name of places in Sedgwick County, Kans.; Madison County, Ky.; Jasper County, Mo.; Smith County, Miss.; Haralson County, Ga.; York County, Nebr.; Cleveland County, N. C.; Stark County, Ohio; and in Tennessee; but it is uncertain whether the designations of all these came originally from the Waco tribe.

Wea, see Miami.

Wichita. From wits, "man." Also known as:

Black Pawnee, common early name.
Do'gu'at, Kiowa name, meaning "tattooed people."
Do'kana, Comanche name, meaning "tattooed people."
Freckled Panis, from above.
Guichita, Spanish form of the name.
Hinásso, Arapaho name.
Höxsúwitan, Cheyenne name.
Ki'-˘i-ku'-˘uc, Omaha name.
Kirikiris, Kirikurus, or Kitikitish, reported as own name but properly the name of one of their bands.
Mítsitá, Kansa name.
n wassábe, Ponca and Omaha name, meaning "Black bear Pawnee."
Paneassa, various early writers.
Panis noirs, early French name.
Panis piqués, early French name.
Pányi Wacéwe, Iowa, Oto, and Missouri name.
Picks, from Panis piques.
Pitchinávo, Comanche name, meaning "painted breasts"
Prickled Panis, referring to their tattooing.
Quirasquiris, French form of native name.
Quivira, from chronicles of Coronado expedition.
Sónik'ni, Comanche name, meaning "grass lodges."
Speckled Pawnee, referring to their tattooing.
Túxquet, see Do'gu'at.

Connections.The Wichita were one of the principal tribes of the Caddoan linguistic family.

Location.Their earliest certain location was on Canadian River north of the headwaters of the Washita. (See also Texas).


Most of the so-called subdivisions of the Wichita were independent tribes, some of which, including the Tawakoni, Waco, Tawehash, and Yscani, have been treated separately. The others—Akwits or Akwesh, Kirikiris, Isis (see Yscani), Tokane (see Yscani), and Itaz— were probably only temporary bands. Mooney (1928) also mentions the Kirishkitsu (perhaps a Wichita name for the Kichai) and the Asidahetsh and Kishkat, which cannot be identified.

History.The Wichita rose to fame at an early period owing to the fact that they were visited by Coronado in 1541, the Spaniards calling the Wichita country the province of Quivira. They were then farther north than the location given above, probably near the great bend of the Arkansas and in the center of Kansas. A Franciscan missionary, Juan de Padilla, remained 3 years among them in the endeavor to convert them to Christianity, but he was finally killed by them through jealousy on account of his work for another tribe. In 1719 La Harpe found the Wichita and several allied tribes on the south Canadian River in the territory later embraced in the Chickasaw Nation. Within the next 50 years they were forced south by hostile northern and eastern tribes and by 1772 were on the upper courses of the Red and Brazos Rivers. In 1835 they made their first treaty with the United States Government. They continued to live in southwestern Oklahoma until the Civil War, when they fled to Kansas until it was over. In 1867 they returned and were placed on a reservation in Caddo County, Okla., where they have since remained.

Population.In 1772 the Wichita and the Tawehash seem to have had about 600 warriors. Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1780 the confederated Wichita tribes had a population of about 3,200. Bolton (1914), on information derived from Mézičres, estimated about 3,200 for the Wichita proper in 1778. In 1805 Sibley estimated the Wichita at 400 men. In 1868, 572 were reported in the confederated tribes. The census of 1910 gives 318, including the remnant of the Kichai. In 1937 there were 385.

Connection in which they have become noted.Although a tribe of considerable power in early days, the Wichita will be remembered in future principally from the prominence of the city of Wichita, Kans., which bears their name. It is also the name of counties in Kansas and Texas a ridge of hills in southwestern Oklahoma called the Wichita Mountains, a river in Texas, and places in Oklahoma, besides Wichita Falls in Wichita County, Tex. The identification of this tribe with the Province of Quivira gives it additional interest.

Wyandot. In 1867 a part of the Wyandot who had been living in Kansas was removed to the northeastern corner of Oklahoma where they have since remained. It is probable that this body includes more of the old Tionontati than of the true Wyandot. (See Ohio.)

Yscani. Meaning unknown. Also spelled Ascani, Hyscani, Ixcani.

Connections.This was one of the confederated Wichita tribes and therefore without doubt related to them in speech, and thus of the Caddoan linguistic family.

Location.The Yscani are first mentioned in connection with the Wichita and allied tribes on the South Canadian in the territory later assigned to the Chickasaw Nation. Part, however, were reported to be living 60 leagues farther toward the northwest.

History.The Yscani evidently moved south from the above-mentioned location at the same time as the other tribes. They kept particularly close to the Tawakoni, with whose history their own is almost identical. As the name Yscani disappears from the early annals shortly before the name Waco appears in them, it has been thought that the Waco were the Yscani under a new name, but Lesser and Weltfish (1932) identify the Waco with the Isis or Tokane, perhaps both. (See Waco above.)

Population.In 1772 their village was reported to contain 60 warriors, and about 1782 the entire tribe was said to have about 90 families.

Yuchi. Although originally an independent tribe, the Yuchi united with the Creeks before coming west, and they settled in the Creek Nation, in the northwestern part of that territory, where their descendants still live. (See Georgia.)