The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas

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The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas

The Kickapoo Indians are Algonkian-speaking Indians, related to the Sauk and Fox, who lived at the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, probably in present Columbia County, Wis., U.S., when first reported by Europeans in the late 17th century.

The Kickapoo were known as formidable warriors whose raids took them over a wide territory, ranging as far as Georgia and Alabama to the southeast; Texas and Mexico to the southwest; and New York and Pennsylvania to the east.

Early in the 18th century part of the tribe settled near the Milwaukee River and, after the destruction of the Illinois Indians c. 1765, moved south to Peoria. One band extended as far as the Sangamon River and became known as the Prairie band; another pushed east to the Wabash and was called the Vermilion band. In 1809 and 1819, under the pressure of advancing white settlers, the Kickapoo ceded their lands in Illinois to the United States, moving to Missouri and then to Kansas. About 1852 a large group went to Texas, and from there to Mexico, where another party joined them in 1863. Some returned to Indian Territory in 1873 and later years. The remainder was granted a reservation in eastern Chihuahua State, in northern Mexico; other Kickapoo reside in Oklahoma and Kansas. Only a few Kickapoo village names have survived Etnataek, Kickapougowi, and Kithlipecanuk.

The Kickapoo lived in fixed villages, moving between summer and winter residences; they raised corn (maize), beans, and squash and hunted buffalo on the plains. Their society was divided into several exogamous, named clans based on descent through the paternal line. By the 19th century, as a result of scattering in small villages to prevent attack, central tribal authority had broken down, and chiefs of the various bands had become autonomous. From the beginning of European contact, the Kickapoo resisted acculturation in economic, political, and religious matters, retaining as many of their old ways as possible.

Before contact with Europeans, the Kickapoo lived in northwest Ohio and southern Michigan in the area between Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. Beginning in the 1640s, the Algonquin tribes in this region came under attack from the east, first by the Ottawa and Iroquian-speaking Neutrals, and then the Iroquois. By 1658 the Kickapoo had been forced west into southwest Wiscon...

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You may think that chiefs are only men. This is not true among the Kickapoo. In 1901 there were two Kickapoo chiefs. One was a man and the other a woman. The duties of a Kickapoo chief vary according to the needs of the tribe. They perform religious ceremonies, police the people, judge them on minor offenses, solve land and water quarrels and even act as a marriage counselor sometimes. The chief has advisors just like our president does. His advisors are called the Council of Elders. The Council of Elders meets with the chief to discuss all tribal matters.

Today, many Kickapoo children are sitting in the classroom. Some of their parents work in offices and factories. When they go home from school, they are taught how to be good Kickapoo and perform properly in ceremonies. Similar to how Americans are taught how to act during certain social functions like weddings and such.

So now you have met the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas. You’ve learned about their lives, seen their journeys, and traveled with them from the past to the present. In all I hope this paper gives a greater understanding of the history and a look into another culture to broaden minds.

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