Kickapoo Indians spoke the Proto-Algonquian language and originally lived between the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron and Lake Ontario, about 3,000 years ago.
Kickapoo loosely translates as Ahe moves about, now here, now there@Csupposedly a reference to the frequent and extensive movements of the tribe.
When first mentioned by the French in 1640, the Kickapoo tribe were living to the west of Lake Erie in southeast Michigan; however, not long afterwards they and other Algonkian groups were driven westward into Wisconsin by the Iroquois. In the early 1700s the Kickapoo tribe was being Apushed@ out of Wisconsin and into Illinois and Indiana by the Sioux Tribe. In 1765 a band of Kickapoo Indians moved to a village on the Missouri River to the west of St. Louis. Warfare was intermittent between the Kickapoo and Sioux tribe. After the treaty of 1819 more Kickapoo Indians moved to Missouri. After the Blackhawk War the treaty of 1832 was signed, moving the Kickapoo tribe from Missouri to its new reservation north and west of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The Kickapoo tribe originally lived in small nomadic groupsCcalled bandsCwho subsisted by hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants over a wide area. As they were forced south into more temperate climates, the Kickapoo learned to plant, cultivate, and harvest food crops. They still pursued their semiannual hunting trips.
In the first stages of contact between Indians and Europeans, it is probably most accurate to consider European traders as late-comers on the North American trading scene, who were forced to compete with the older, established Indian participants in the continental network of trade routes and regional trade centers.
Walnut Valley Times, June 20, 1873.
The Kickapoos formerly lived in the United States, but crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico in order thence to raid into Texas with the protection of international law. Mackenzie has at length disappointed them. An effort is now being made to bring the valuable Kickapoos back into the U. S. domain, that they may be better taken care of. Great caution should be used not to take in the Kickapoos and their Mexican grounds besides, as that would shock the fine moral sense of some of the Democratic party.
[INDIANS: KICKAPOOS. ARTICLE FROM TRAVELER.]
Winfield Courier, Thursday, November 20, 1873.
Mr. A. C. Williams, of Leavenworth County, Kansas, has been appointed special agent for the Mexican Kickapoo Indians, to be located at the junction of Bitter Creek and the Sha-kas-ka River, twenty-five miles southwest of this place. A portion of the tribe, consisting of one man, fourteen women, and twenty-two children, passed through here last Monday, accompanied by the agent, teamsters, and O. P. JohnsonCthe guide. The people were all looking hearty and in good spirits, although they really are prisoners of the United States, having been captured by Gen. Mackenzie last spring, while raiding into Mexico, and held as prisoners at Fort Gibson, until the 6th of this month, when they were placed under charge of the agent and started for their reserve. One hundred Kickapoo warriors are on the road to their reserve, and will arrive in about three weeks. Mr. Williams leaves for Fort Sill today, to meet them. They are mounted, and own a number of ponies, although they are poorly clad. The balance of the tribe, numbering some six or seven hundred, will come up in the spring. Their supplies will be purchased at this place, as far as possible. O. P. Johnson has the contract for building two log housesCa commissary store and a dwelling house. The remainder of the buildings will not be commenced until next summer.
Arkansas City Traveler.
Walnut Valley Times, November 21, 1873.
The Kickapoo Indians arrived at Arkansas City a few days since on their way to their reserve twenty miles south of that place.
[ITEMS FROM ARKANSAS CITY TRAVELER.]
Winfield Courier, September 11, 1874.
We are informed by E. P. Kinne, Esq., that Agent Gibson of the Osages came up to the state line a few days ago and took the Kickapoos down with him to the agency.
The Kickapoo Indians were supplied with rations sent to the Militia before they could be removed to the Sac and Fox Agency, where Mr. Gibson has concluded to take them.
Winfield Courier, September 11, 1874.
Quite a number of "the boys" of this city are serving in the Arkansas City militia, which brought the Kickapoo squaws up to Arkansas City for "protection" last week, and now they are patrolling the border and running down into the Territory occasionally.