The Kiowas enjoy the distinction of constituting alone a linguistic family of North American Indians. The name comes from their word Ka-i-gwu, meaning “Principal People.” They lived first on the Yellowstone and the Upper Missouri. From thence they began a southern movement which brought them to notice in historic times along the Upper Arkansas and Canadian rivers. At one time, in their migration, they were in alliance with the Crows. They were at war with the Arapahos and Cheyennes until about 1840, when they began to act in concert with those tribes. They are said by plainsmen to be the most cruel and blood-thirsty of the Plains tribes. They are supposed to have killed more whites than any other tribe in proportion to their number. They were confederated with the Comanches, and, with those American Arabs, raided far into Mexico.
The tribal divisions on which the social organization rests are as follows:
- Kuato (now extinct).
The tribe is now in Oklahoma, between the Washita and Red rivers. They ceded their lands in Kansas in a treaty to which the Comanches were a party, and which will be noticed in connection with that tribe.
Additional Kiowa History