The Kiowa

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The Kiowa


The Kiowa is a Native Americann tribe of the Great Plains. The Kiowa split into seven bands which made it more easier to hunt and also easier to defend against enemies. The Kiowa, like many other groups, did not stay in a permanent village. The Kiowa lived a nomadic lifestyle. To suit their lifestyle choice, they lived in tipis or teepees. Teepees were made from buffalo skin supported by wooden poles. A flap of buffalo skin served as a door. The language of the Kiowa was the Cauijoga. It was a Tanaon language that the Kiowa spoke. Like many other Native American languages, the language is endangered. Since the th emain food source of the Kiowa migrated every year, they had to use teepees to travel and follow the buffalo and their migration.

The women would wear deerskin dresses while the men wore leather leggings and sometimes breechclothes but the men were usually shirtless. When times were cold, they would wear buffalo skin robes. The Kiowa also wore moccasins on their feet. The clothes were suitable to the region because the Kiowa hunted buffalo very often and skin could not be wasted.

The Kiowa gained spiritual power by a vision quest. If a person succesfully completed a vision quest they would recieve a gaurdian spirit. The spirit would direct the person how they would paint their face, sing certain songs, and how to create special amulets. According to the traditions a man would not succeed in life he did not obtain a gaurdian spirit. The vision quest was usually only attempted by men. They would go to an isolated place where they would fast. They would only wear breechclothes and moccasins. If they wore a buffalo ski robe the hair side would face out. The seeker would have a stone black pipe with a long stem. The seeker would stay in that isolated place for four days. They would fast, smoke and pray. The Sun Dance was the only time everyone in the Kiowa tribe came together. The Sun Dance united everyone by spiritual and by social means. Traditionally, the Sun Dance was held from mid-June and mid-July. The Sun Dance was not held annually, it was only held when someone pledged it.

The Great Plains was a very dry place so the Kiowa, like many tribes, did not grow crops.There also weren't many wild edible plants either. Only some of the berries, seeds, and roots could be eaten. Meat was a main food source and a main resourceful animal, was buffalo.Buffalo was a major resource. People of all ages ate buffalo meat. Even new borns, with no teeth, were given buffalo meat to suck on. In the ummertime when there was much buffalo, people could be more picky with the meat. The tongue was the most prized part of the buffalo. During the spring, the first buffalo feast was a reason for celebration. During the winter all parts of buffalo that could be eaten, were eaten unless you wanted to starve. Other meats the Kiowa ate were antelope, deer, and elk. Other times, the Kiowa would find bird eggs that they would make into a meal. Another way Kiowa would get food, mostly vegetables, was through trade, where they could recieve squash, corn, and beans. Whenever fresh meat was not in store, the Kiowa would eat preserved meat. The meat was preserved by dring out long strips of meat.

There were many animals in the Great Plains that the Kiowa could hunt. Some of the bigger ones includeddeer, sheep, antelope, bears, mountain goats, and obviously buffalo. Some of the smaller animals included foxes, rabbits, and prairie dogs. Younger boys were not allowed to join buffalo hunts until he was 13 years old. They would help out and sharpen their skills by hunting smaller prey. The Kiowa used horses to help hunt buffalo, but before they did, they were more better known for their skills at hunting antelope. The junters would corner the antelope in a small closed off section of the Missouri River Valley, where they would kill theanimals before they could escape. Two hunting groups took this way of hunting as well. They were to Cheyenne and the Arapha. Ater the Kiowa got horses, they hunted buffalo more. The hunters would incircle the buffalo who had poor eyesight. Then they would kill them with bows or spears. Also they would kill a buffalo who tried to escape on it's own. The horses would ride on the right side of the buffalo the way they were trained to do and the hunter would aim the bow at the heart of the buffalo. The hunters would shoot two arows to make the death quick and painless. Older more experienced men wuld go for the larger prey and buffalo while the younger and smaller boys would go on smaller horses and hunt smaller prey.


Liesure TIme! SOme of the activities that the Kiowa did in their free time was sometimes a playful version of what they would have to do when they grew up. Like for young boys, they would do make-believe battles to simulate future real battles they would have to do. Another thing boys would do was pretend to hunt an dhanve shooting matches. The little girls would play with dolls that they made out of grass and skins. They would also learn how to take up and put down child-sized teepees or as they called it in their traditional language, tipis. The girls would also learn to make clothes by sewing clothes for dalls. They would also play outdoor games with pets as well. Some pets were racoons, birds, and dogs which they would tame. They could sled in the winter. Another game uses a ball of animal hair. Yet another game uses a pole to roll a hoop on the ground. SOmetimes a slight form of lacrosse was played on ice. Sometimes the adults played gambling games where the dice would be a plum pit.


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