By Laurie Kingery
For my November blog piece I'd like to explore another one of the lesser-known Indian tribes of Texas, the Kickapoos. Be sure and read to the end to find out about my giveaway this month!
The name always seemed like a made-up up, cartoonish name for a tribe to me, and was associated in my mind with the potent moonshine, "Kickapoo Joy Juice," of the Li'l Abner comic strip and the non-alcoholic soda pop by that name. But the real Kickapoos were a large Indian tribe in Texas, a rival to the Comanches and Lipan Apaches. They lived in wickiups, made of a rough frame covered by reed mats, grass or brushwood.
The Kickapoo tribe is an Algonquinian tribe originally encountered by the LaSalle expedition around present-day Terre Haute, Indiana. The tribal name means "Stands here and there" or "Wanderer" which probably refers to the migratory pattern of the tribe. But as white settlers came to the area in the early 1800's, tensions rose between Indians and whites. The Kickapoos allied themselves with tribal leader Tecumseh and participated in the battle of Tippecanoe and in the War of 1812. Some of them accepted land in Kansas and left Indiana. Another division went to Oklahoma. Still others had gone earlier to Texas when it belonged to Mexico, and were given land by the Mexican government in the state of Coahuila. The Mexicans hoped to use them as a buffer against American expansion, allying themselves with the Mexican military and to keep the other Indian tribes in check.
During the Civil War, when most of the Texas men were away fighting Yankees, the Indian tribes took full advantage of their absence and spread terror among the settlers. The remaining Texas state troops did their best to contain them. When the Oklahoma Kickapoos decided to join their brothers in northern Mexico, they crossed Texas and ran into McCord's regiment, who mistook them for a Comanche-Kiowa band and attacked them where Dove Creek joins the Concho River in present-day Tom Greene County. The battle of Dove Creek was the largest battle against the Indians in the Civil War, and the Kickapoos won. Further Kickapoo attacks followed, with the Indians attacking southern Texas, then easily escaping across the Rio Grande.
An interesting sidelight I found in my research on this topic was the fact that the Kickapoos have a secret language along with their regular one. It's a whistling speech mainly used in Texas and Mexico in courtship during the evenings as a cultural tradition. It's produced by cupping the hands to form a chamber. Sounds can be varied by lifting their fingers from the back of the chamber. The pitch and length of vowels and vowel clusters are represented while vowel qualities and consonants aren't. These sounds can be transmitted over long distances.
In the present, Kickapoos have a settlement near Piedras Negras near the International Bridge that leads to Eagle Pass, Texas, and have a 125-acre reservation in El Indio, Texas, where they are known as the Texas Band of the Oklahoma Kickapoos and operate the Lucky Eagle Casino.
In researching this article I am indebted to the book CAMP VERDE—TEXAS FRONTIER DEFENSE, by Joseph Luther. The pictures used are in the public domain unless noted otherwise.
And last but not least, leave a comment to be eligible for my giveaway of my latest book in my "Brides of Simpson Creek" series for Love Inspired Historicals, HILL COUNTRY CATTLEMAN! As before, if you have already read this book, you can check my website for a book of mine that you haven't read, either in this series or one of my two earlier non-series LIH books.
Blessings, Laurie Kingery
Laurie, I really enjoyed this, being interested in the Indians for many years. I have read bunches of Indian books. I had an Indian grandmother back a few generations on both sides of my parents families. Sure wish we could find out more about my Ancestors. I would love to win your book. I'm sure I would love it. Thanks for a chance.ReplyDelete
MaudeMaxine, thanks for commenting. So many of us have some Indian blood--something to be proud of, I think!Delete
Laurie, I enjoyed your posting. I have never heard of the Kickapoo Indians. I find Indian history so interesting. Since my Mother has retired, she's been researching our ancestors. I was shocked when she discovered that her grandmother (father's mother) was a full-blood Choctaw Indian. I've enjoyed reading some of your other books, but I haven't read this one. You're a wonderful author. Thank you for the chance to win this giveaway and please enter my name.ReplyDelete
Barbara, thanks! Like I said to Maude above, so many of us are part native American. Good luck!Delete
Hi Laurie, Thanks for sharing such this important and often overlooked thread in the tapestry of our country's history. Living near the capital of the Cherokee Nation has made me more appreciative of relationships between the various nations, tribes, and bands. May God bless you as you continue to write for is glory!ReplyDelete
Don't know if you saw my post last month but I wrote about the Cherokees as I am part Cherokee. Are you near the eastern band or the western band. I've been to see the eastern headquarters and travelled through the Tahlequah (sp.?) area too. Thanks for commenting.
This was such an interesting post! I love learning more about the different Indian tribes! So often we just here about the bigger and more well known ones so it's cool to hear about the lesser known tribes-Thanks! I cannot wait to read this book as I'm sure it'll be as good as the rest of the series!ReplyDelete
Abbi, thanks for commenting. Yes, I wanted to learn something about the lesser-known ones too, so I chose this subject.Delete
I have always been fascinated by the history of the American Indians and their cultures. I enjoyed learning about the Kickapoo tribe today and look forward to learning more! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your latest release. I know HILL COUNTRY CATTLEMAN is a wonderful book!ReplyDelete
texaggs2000 at gmail dot com
Britney, thanks for commenting! I appreciate you and the other faithful readers of this blog.Delete
Laurie, your post was so interesting. It is always so wonderful to learn about different people and subjects. Thank you so much for what you do and the giveaway, as well. I love the cover of your book and I know Hill Country Cattleman will be a great read.ReplyDelete
mauback55 at gmail dot com
Melanie, thank you! I'm glad the post was of interest. I always learn a lot in researching for it.Delete
I think the early photographs of Indians are so interesting. Thanks for sharing some of your research and the giveaway!ReplyDelete
colorvibrant at gmail dot com
Heidi, thanks for commenting. Good luck in the giveaway!Delete
This is why I love this website so much, I am always learning something new! Thanks for sharing about the Kickapoos. I can't wait to pass this new information along to my kids! jumpforjoy (at) gmail (dot) com.ReplyDelete
Joy, I'm glad the info will be passed along. Are you a teacher, or do you homeschool? Thanks for commenting.Delete
Laurie, Thank you for the interesting facts of the Kickapoo. I had never known about their connection to Civil War or any of their history. All very interesting facts.ReplyDelete
I have read several of your books and loved The Brides of Simpson Creek series. I had library get them for me.
Jackie, I'm glad you found it interesting. That information was all new to me too. Thanks for enjoying my books.Delete
I remember reading about the Kickapoo Indians when teaching my son. My son is still trying to whistle like they do.ReplyDelete
grammador at gmail dot com
Thanks for commenting. I would love to hear a sample of that whistling speech too. From the description I couldn't quite picture it.
Very good Laurie ! I am part Iriquious myself and love reading about indian history. I won't say I am ok with all the casinos being allowed due to our governments settling with them, its crazy here in NY. Your book sounds wonderful.ReplyDelete
Linda Marie, thanks for commenting. Yes, I think casinos are proof that living well is the best revenge, I think. :)Delete
So now I know about the Kickapoos! Thank-youl. Love to win your book. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)comReplyDelete
Hi Sharon M, Now we both (and a few other people ) know! Thanks for commenting.Delete
Sharon M, you are my giveaway winner. Please send me your snail mail address and I'll send you the book.Delete
Interesting article! I love reading about this era thank you for the chance to win this book.ReplyDelete
Wendy, thanks! I'm glad you like rreading about this era.Delete
Love Texas! Love stories about Texas and Indians. My sister-in-law is an Indian and it has been interesting to hear history from her point of view. Very surprisingly different in certain ways, especially Thanksgiving celebration. Love the post and would love to win this great book.ReplyDelete
Hi Sonja, thanks for commenting! What tribe does your sister-in-law come from? I bet she has an interesting take on history.ReplyDelete
Blessings, Laurie Kingery
Nothing was better than a Saturday or Sunday (in the 60's & 70's) of a cowboy and Indian movie on TV. And the Indians were often so scarey - that's before REALLY SCAREY entered our world. My 4 kids are adopted - 2 of them are Arapahoe Cheyenne and my husband is Choctaw. In Oklahoma IF your ancestors didn't not sign the papers after coming off the Trail of Tears then they are not registered with a tribe and are WHITE on their birth certificate. My husband is but our kids are not. History says Indians were considered lower than the Negro slaves of the day and many did not want to be known. Isn't that sad, especially since nowadays they could have had their health care provided for, housing and education!ReplyDelete
Melody, that's really interesting! And so sad that Indians had to shun their heritage in so many cases just to get by.ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting.
I love all the history that is a part of this story!ReplyDelete
I just live a few miles from Kickapoo Creek in NE Texas, south of Clarksville. Going further south from my home toward BoxElder or our last home in Lydia, we cross the Kickapoo. :)ReplyDelete