Kickapoo Tribe
Kansas Native Americans
by William G. Cutler (1883)

The Kickapoos were associated with the other more powerful tribes occupying the country watered by the Ohio, Wabash and Miami Rivers, in the treaty made at Greenville in 1795 by Gen. Wayne, and in those of 1803, at Fort Wayne and Vincennes, by William Henry Harrison.


By these and succeeding treaties, the tribe ceded all their lands on the Wabash, White and Vermilion Rivers, that of July 30, 1819, including their principal village on the southeast bank of the Wabash, "in which their ancestors formerly resided, and consisting of a large tract, to which they have had, from time immemorial, and now have, a just right." They also ceded lands in the valley of the Illinois River, of which "the said Kickapoo tribe claim a large portion by descent from their ancestors, and the balance by conquest from the Illinois nation, and uninterrupted possession for more than half a century." In consideration of these cessions, they were given a tract of land situated on, and south of, the Osage River in Missouri. The tribe were living on the Wabash River at the time this treaty was made, and removed to Missouri the following year.

October 24, 1832, the Kickapoos ceded their country on the Osage River in Missouri, and, on the 26th of November of the same year, were granted a reservation situated north of the Delawares in the Indian Territory. It was described as follows: "To begin on the Delaware line, where said line crosses the Left Branch of Salt Creek; thence down said creek to the Missouri River; thence up the Missouri River thirty miles, when measured on a straight line; thence westwardly to a point twenty miles from the Delaware line, so as to include in the lands assigned to the Kickapoos at least twelve hundred square miles."

By treaty of May 18, 1854, the above-described tract was ceded to the United States, "saving and reserving in the western part thereof 150,000 acres for a future and permanent home" for the tribe. By the terms of the treaty, the specified sum of $20,000 was to be paid the tribe, they to support themselves thereafter.

June 28, 1862, a treaty was made, setting apart a portion of the reserve to be divided and held in severalty by members of the tribe, the remainder to be sold, the Atchison & Pike's Peak Railroad Company having the privilege of buying the lands at $1.25 per acre. The company bought 123,832 acres at that price, lying principally in Brown County. The lands were advertised for sale in 1866. Those of the tribe who chose to remove to the Indian Territory, numbering about six hundred, were allotted a portion of the Sac and Fox Reservation.

The first location of the Kickapoos in Kansas was on the southeast corner of their reservation, near Fort Leavenworth. They were more industrious and their habits were generally more correct than those of many of the tribes to the north. The more rapid improvement of this tribe was in a large measure owing to the influence of Kenekuk, the "Kickapoo Prophet," who removed to the Indian Territory with the tribe, and founded a religious sect among them, teaching and practicing himself the doctrines of sobriety, industry and honesty. The Prophet numbered among his adherents a large proportion of the tribe.

Missions.--A Methodist Mission was founded in 1833. It was under the direction of the Missouri Conference, and under the direct superintendence of Rev. J. C. Berryman. A school was established, which, in 1835, numbered forty. The children were boarded at the mission house.

The Catholic Mission was founded in May, 1836, by Fathers Van Quickenborn and Hoeken and two lay brothers. A mission house was built near the junction of Salt Creek with the Missouri. This mission was afterward merged in that of St. Mary's on Sugar Creek. The Catholic Mission was founded for the benefit of the Pottawatomies residing on the Kickapoo Reservation.

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