Treaty of Medicine Lodge 1867

Treaty of Medicine Lodge  1867


By October, 1867, The people in the eastern United States pushed for the war against the plains Indians to be ended. Congress appointed a commission to make peace with the Indians, the plan being, to put them on reservations where they would not be disturbed by the whites and would stop their harassment of the frontier outposts. They were to make a treaty to end all treaties, with the Kiowa, Comanche, Kiowa-Apache, Cheyenne and Arapaho at a place near the site of present Medicine Lodge, Kansas.

It was a colorful gathering, with at least 5,000 Indians there. A squadron of the 7th Cavalry under Major Joel Elliott was there to protect the whites. While waiting for the council to begin, Major Elliott and some of his friends went on a buffalo chase, killing several, for the sport alone. This angered the Kiowa Chief Satanta and on his complaint, several of the officers were placed under arrest.

The council consisted of a series of speeches by various white men and Indians, following which the treaty was drawn up and explained to the Indians. Phillip McCusker acted as interpreter McCusker spoke only Comanche, some members of other tribes understood some and others did not. It is doubtful how much of the proceedings were understood by the Indians. Most had come because they had been told the soldiers were going to have free food.

The commissioners demanded the Indians go to assigned reservations, stop their raiding and allow the railroads to be built through the plains. In return, the Indians would be protected from the white hunters that were invading the buffalo range, they would be issued certain annuities, be provided with schools, churches, farming implements and be taught how to walk the white man’s way.

When it was their turn to talk, several Indian chiefs responded with the best oratory they were capable of. As usual the Kiowa were the most talkative. A Kiowa orator makes an excellent impression, the language is not musical, but forceful and full of emphasis. They were dignified, yet used freely graceful and expressive gestures. Satanta stated the case for his people, in part:

“All the land south of the Arkansas belongs to the Kiowa and Comanche, and I don’t want to give away any of it. I love the land and the buffalo and will not part with it. I don’t want any of the medicine lodges (churches) within the country. I want the children raised as I was. I have heard that you want to settle us on a reservation near the mountains. I don’t want to settle. I love to roam over the prairies. There I feel free and happy, but when I settle down I grow pale and die. A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers; but when I go up river I see camps of soldiers on it’s banks. These soldiers cut down my timber; they kill my buffalo; and when I see that it feels as if my heart would burst with sorrow.”

This building of homes for us is all nonsense. We don’t want you to build any for us; we would all die. Look at the Penatekas! Formerly they were powerful, now they are weak and poor. I want all my land, even from the Arkansas south to Red River. My country is small enough already. If you build us houses the land will be smaller. Why do you insist on this? What good will come of it? I don’t understand your reason. Time enough to build us houses when the buffalo are all gone. But you tell the Great Father that there are plenty of buffalo yet, and when the buffalo are gone, I will tell him. This trusting to agents for food I don’t believe in.

When the commissioners heard Satanta’s speech, it made no difference. The things he said he did not want were the things they intended to force on the Indians. They expected to civilize them without delay, and the best way to do that was to make farmers of them, coop them up in houses, make them wear white man’s clothes and send them to school and church.

What the Indians wanted most was to be left alone, provided of course, that they be permitted to raid in Texas and Mexico. But this was not to be. The white man would not be content until he killed every buffalo, antelope and bird, fenced in every plot of grass, chopped down every tree and plowed up every acre of the prairie. The Indians and the white commissioners alike, were powerless to hold back the flood of immigrants flooding across the prairie. Into the treaty was written the very things the Indians did not want as Satanta had pointed out: reservations, houses, schools, churches, plows.

This treaty changed the whole status of the Kiowa and their allies from that of independent tribes with free and unrestricted range over the whole plains to that of pensioners, dependent on the government confined to the narrow limits of a reservation and subject to constant military and civilian supervision. For them, it marked the beginning of the end.

Kiowa signers of the Medicine Lodge Treaty were:
SET-A’NGYE—————- Setting Bear, Sa-tank
SET-T’AINTE—————-White bear, Sa-tan-ta
GUATO-KONGYA——— (WA-TOH-KONK)Black Bird or Black Eagle
T’ENE’ANGO’PTE——— (TON-A-EN-KO)Kicking Bird or Kicking Eagle
TAKA’-I-BODAL————Spoiled Saddle Blanket
MANYI’-TEN—————– (MA-YE-TIN)Woman Heart
SET-PA’-GO——————- (SIT-PAR-GA/SA-PA-GA)Lone Bear or One Bear
SET-IMKIA——————–(SA-TIM-GEAR)Stumbling Bear or Pushing Bear
GAA’-BOHON—————- CORBEAU)Crow Bonnet or The Crow
SET-EMA’-I——————-(SA-TA-MORE)Bear Lying Down

Comanche Signers of the Medicine Lodge Treaty:
TI’PINADON——————- (TEP-PE-NAVON) Painted Lips
TA’SAWL———————– (TO-SA-IN, TO-SHE-WI) Silver Broach
SIACHI’NIKA—————— (CEAR-CHI-NEKA)Standing head Feather
HOWIA————————– (HO-WE-ARE) Gaps In The Woods
TAYAKWOIP—————— (TIR-HA-YAH-GUAHIP)Sore-Backed-Horse or Horse’s Back
ISANA’NAKA—————– (ES-A-NANACA)Wolf Noise or Wolf’s Name
ATESTISTI———————- (AH-TE-ES-TA) Little Horn
SA’RIYO————————- (SAD-DY-YO) Dog Fat

Apache signers of the Medicine Lodge Treaty:
BABI’-PA———————— (MAH-VIP-PAH) Wolf’s Sleeve
CHO’ASHITA——————- (CHO-SE-TA) Bad Luck
NAH-TAN———————— Brave Man
BA ZHE-ECH——————– Iron Shirt
TI’LO’TAKAI——————– (TIL-LA-KA) White Horn