Indian Nation Indian Territory Archives

 Kaw/Kanza Nation



Welcome to the Kaw/Kanza Nation Archives of the state of Oklahoma!


Kaw is an abbreviation (first written by early French traders) of ak'a, from the Siouan dialects, "south wind." The "wind" tie came from the tribe's role in an Omaha war ceremonial that recognized the power of the wind in aiding warriors. Outside of Oklahoma, the tribe is often referred to as Kanza.

This is one of the five Indian tribes in the Dhegiha group of the Siouan linguistic family (Kaw, Osage, Omaha, Ponca and Quapaw). The Kaw tribe has the same language as the Osage.

The Dhegiha group first lived along the Ohio River Valley as on tribe. They later moved down the Mississippi River and split into five separate tribes. The Kaw settled in Kansas and Nebraska until the 1820's, when they gave up their homeland under a series of treaties. In 1846, they moved to a reservation in Kansas and in 1872, sold their Kansas reservation to the U.S., buying a reserve in Indian Territory from the Osage. After suffering deplorable conditions in Kansas, they arrived in Indian Territory. They struggled to regain strength, yet their population diminished from 553 to 194, only 16 years later. By 1904, the Kaw had agreed to accept allotments9part of a movement pushing I.T. toward statehood).

Known for conservatism and resisting change from tribal customs, these were a warlike people living mainly by hunting buffalo-though they grew small crops. They built dome-shaped, earth-covered homes-a skill learned from their enemies, the Pawnee. Many old mixed-blood families bear French names, the result of intermarriage with early French traders. Today the admixture of French blood among the Kaw is large.

Charles Curtis, seen as the most prominent Indian in recent American history (a U.S. representative and senator, and in 1929, the vice president of the U.S.) 

Mrs. Lucy Tayiah Eads was the first and only female chief of the Kaw tribe; also, the adopted and only child of Chief Washunga.


Kaw/Kanza Nation Archivist

Linda Simpson

Oklahoma State Archivist

Gene Phillips

Help the Kaw/Kanza Nation Archives grow, kindly submit data

The information found below has been submitted to The USGenWeb Archive Project. It is offered free to all who visit. The ownership - copyright stays with the submitter. Please read and respect the copyright on all submittals.

If you have any cemetery records, bible records, deeds, applications for citizenship in the  Kaw/Kanza Nation, please send them  as an attachment in an e-mail to  Linda Simpson. Please be sure to identify that it is for the Kaw/Kanza Nation It also needs to be a plain text file, no HTML and no images. This ensures that everybody will be able to read it, no matter what kind of web browser. Here is a help file.

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File Name




Submitted By

Emporia News 1870

Trip with the Kaw



Linda Simpson

Emporia News 1870

Reserve Found in I.T.



Linda Simpson



Vital Records
File Name Description Size Date Submitted By




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