Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma - History


At the time of contact in the mid-17th century, Kickapoo people lived in southwestern Wisconsin. By the 1750s, the Kickapoo divided into two communities, the Vermillion Band and the Prairie Band. The Vermillion Kickapoo settled on the east bank of the Wabash River in Indiana, while the Prairie Kickapoo lived along the Sangamon River in Illinois.

Initially allied with the French, the Kickapoo fought with the British in the American Revolution. Afterward, they followed the teachings of Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh. During the Black Hawk War of 1832, the Kickapoo fought along side the Sac and Fox against the United States.

To resist acculturation, the Prairie Band moved west in the early 19th century, first into Missouri, then Texas, which was still under Spanish control. Spanish officials granted the Kickapoo lands in Texas. After being part of Mexico in 1821 and gaining independence in 1836, the Republic of Texas forced the Kickapoo off their lands in 1839. Many Kickapoo moved south to Mexico. The Mexican government gave them land grants in Nacimiento.

Other Kickapoo moved north into Indian Territory, where they founded two villages, one within the Chickasaw Nation and the other within the Muscogee Creek Nation. The Kickapoo gained their own reservation in 1883, and were joined by some of the Mexican Kickapoo. On September 8, 1891, the tribe signed an agreement with the Cherokee Commission for individual allotments. Congress ratified the agreement in 1893, and their tribal lands were broken up from communal lands to individual households by allotment.

In 1936, the tribe organized as the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act.

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