Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas


Last Updated: 12 months

The Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas is a federally recognized tribe in the United States. The Kickapoo were once one of many Great Lakes Tribes that occupied the western portion of the woodland area in southern Michigan near Lake Erie until the Iroquois forced them out during the Iroquois War of 1641-1701.

Official Tribal Name: Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas

Address:  1107 Goldfinch Road, Horton, KS 66439
Phone: (785) 486 2131 or Toll Free 1-877-864-2746
Fax:  (785) 486 2801

Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Kiikaapoi is the traditional name of this tribe. The word Kiikaapoi comes from Kiwigapawa, meaning “he stands about” or “he who moves about, stand now here, now there,” according to the Smithsonian Institution Handbook of American Indians.

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Mispellings:


Name in other languages:

 Kikapu – Spanish

Region: Northeast

State(s) Today: Kansas. Other Kickapoo tribes live on reservations in Texas, Illinois,  Oklahoma, and northern Mexico.

Traditional Territory:

The Kiikaapoi were one of many Great Lakes Tribes that occupied the western portion of the woodland area in southern Michigan near Lake Erie. When the Iroquois War (1641-1701) occurred, it forced the Kickapoo to move into Wisconsin.

The Kickapoo never returned to Michigan, instead they found an opportunity to eliminate their adversary, the Illinois Tribes and conquer the lands they claimed in the present-day Illinois and western Indiana. The Kickapoo and their allies occupied this territory throughout the remainder of the 1700’s and on into the middle of the 19th century. Up until around 1832, the Kickapoos resided in the Illinois country.

The Kickapoo Tribe lived in Wisconsin and Illinois in the days prior to diplomatic relations with the United States government.  The Kickapoo Tribe was first encountered by the Catholic Missionary Father Allovez between the Fox- and Wisconsin Rivers in Southern Wisconsin about 1667. A few years later, they moved south into Illinois, gradually extending their area around the Sangamon River and toward the east along the Vermillion and Wabash Rivers. They
played a prominent role in the history of this area up to the end of the War of 1812.

Confederacy: Kickapoo


The Kickapoo Tribe entered into 10 treaties with the United States government from 1795 to 1854.

In 1795, the first treaty between the Kickapoo Tribe and the United States was signed at Greenville. Later treaties (1809 and 1819) provided for the cession of all Kickapoo land claims in Illinois which consisted of about one half of the state. In exchange they were promised land on the Osage River in Missouri.

By 1820, most of the Kickapoos had moved to the new Missouri location but not to stay for long. The area had long been the hunting grounds of the Osages, and they protested the intrusion, claiming that the Kickapoos would spread out over the Osage country and would kill the game.

In St. Louis in July of 1820, the Kickapoos signed an amendment to the 1819 treaty granting them lands in Missouri, and accepted instead a reserve in Kansas. However, not until 1832 did the action to remove the Tribe get seriously underway. On October 24, at Castor Hill, St. Louis County, Missouri, the tribal leaders signed an agreement to leave Missouri for Kansas. Heading the list of signers were Pa-sha-cha-hah (Jumping Fish) and
Kennakuk, the famous Kickapoo prophet.

The new reservation in Kansas consisted of 1200 square miles located in the present counties of Brown, Atchison, and Jackson. This was reduced to 150,000 acres located at the head of the Delaware River in Brown County in a treaty signed on March 16,1854. In 1864, another treaty was signed which further diminished their land holdings to an area measuring five miles by six miles. Land sales since then have reduced this to 3338 acres in tribal holdings and 3653.41 acres in individual ownership.

Reservation: Kickapoo Reservation (KS) /Sac and Fox Nation (KS-NE) joint use area

The Kansas Kickapoo Reservation is located in Brown County, Kansas, 5 miles West of Horton, Kansas. Kansas Highway 20 runs east and west across the southern portion of the reservation.
Land Area:  The Reservation is six miles long and five-miles wide. There are 3653 acres of allotted land and 3338 acres of tribal land. 
Tribal Headquarters:  The Tribal Office is located six miles west of Horton on Highway 20, ½ Mile North, ¼ mile west at Senior Citizens Complex.
Time Zone:  

Population at Contact:

Original numbers of the Kickapoo have been placed at around 4,000 collectively. In 1684 French traders estimated that there were about 2,000 Kickapoos. 

Registered Population Today:

About 1,600 enrolled members, (not counting the bands residing in Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico), with 783 tribal members living on or near the reservation. 

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

 Automatic Enrollment:

1. Must possess at least 1/4 degree of Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas blood.

2. Must have both parents enrolled with the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas.

General Enrollment:

1. Must possess 1/4 Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas blood

2. Must have one parent enrolled with the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas.

3. Must be voted on for acceptance by the General council.

Needed Information:

1. Certified Birth Certificate.

2. Social Security Number.

3. If the father’s name does not appear on the Certified Birth Certificate a Paternity Affidavit is required.

Genealogy Resources:


Charter:  The Kickapoo Tribe operates under a constitution consistent with the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934
Name of Governing Body:  Kiickapoo Tribal Council
Number of Council members:   7
Dates of Constitutional amendments:  Act of June 15, 1935
Number of Executive Officers: 
 The Tribal Council consists of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and three additional Council members, all of whom are elected by the Tribal membership.


The Tribal Council Chairman serves as the administrative head of the Tribe. The Tribal Chairman, Officers and Council members serve two year staggered terms at-large without regard to residence in a particular district of the reservation.

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Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Sac & Fox Tribe and Shawnee Tribe – Both belong to the Algonquin linguistic family and have similar customs and languages.

Today, the Kickapoo are divided into four separate bands, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, the Kickapoo Tribe in Oklahoma, the Texas Band of Kickapoo, and the Mexican Kickapoos.

Traditional Allies:

Originally, the Kickapoos were allies of the Ojibway, Ottawa, and Sauk and Fox tribes. Together these tribes fought against the Illini and the British. They also fought with Tecumseh in the Shawnee wars.

Traditional Enemies:

During the 1650s the Kickapoo were invaded by tribes who had moved into the Great Lakes Region in search of beaver to trade with the French. The most fearsome of these was the Iroquois nation. Their attack forced the Kickapoo to leave their traditional homeland and travel west to the Mississippi River in south western Wisconsin.

Here, however, they were to encounter the even more fearsome Dakota. Tribal fighting erupted along the Mississippi. The Kickapoo also discovered, to their dismay, that their crops would not grow nearly as well in this new place. Hunting was to take precedence as their main source of sustenance. But before long the area was hunted out. The resulting lack of food, coupled with the introduction of European diseases, made this an unhappy time for the Kickapoo.

Despite this misery the Kickapoo had not yet met the white man. Their first encounter with Europeans didn’t happen until 1665 when they were first encountered by French trappers. The Frenchmen found the Kickapoo to be aloof and wary of the strange newcomers. Neither were they interested in the white man’s religion.

One French trader, however, was able to gain the confidence of the Kickapoo. His name was Nicolas Perrot. Perrot was allowed to establish a trading post on the Mississippi, not far from the Kickapoo village. Mainly due to this friendship the Kickapoo joined an intertribal alliance with the French against the Iroquois League of Nations in 1687. This war was to be fought out over the next 14 years, to end in the defeat of the Iroquois.

The alliance with the French was soon broken when the Europeans tried to stop their native allies from attacking their traditional enemies who were also French trading partners. This resulted in the First Fox War, in which the Kickapoo played a prominent part. After three years of bitter fighting the Kickapoo finally agreed to peace terms.

During the mid 1750’s the Kickapoo left the Wisconsin area and headed south to the prairies of Illinois and Indiana. Here they had better buffalo hunting as well as easier access to British traders. The Kickapoo,however, were still extremely wary of all contact with the whites and would generally only trade with them through the intermediary of their neighboring tribes.

During this time the Kickapoo separated into two separate bands. The Prairie Band lived in Northern Illinois and were allied with the Sauk and Fox. To the south the Vermillion band were friendly with the Illinois. The Prairie Band, however, were hostile to the Illinois.

During the American Revolution the Kickapoo tried to remain neutral. By the mid 1870’s, however, they were engaging on an increasing number of raids against the Americans. The Kickapoo were prominent in Little Turtle’s War, which began in 1790. After the capture of many of their women and children in 1792, however, they withdrew from the tribal alliance.

In 1795 they signed the Treaty of Fort Greenville, by which they ceded all of their territory in Ohio. Further treaties in the early 1800s moved the Kickapoo west of the Mississippi, to the territory of Missouri. But they were not moved easily. Lacking cohesion and with no strong leadership, individual groups rebelled, only to feel the force of the American Government.

It took until 1834 for the Army to move all of the Kickapoo to their new home in Missouri. But problems with white squatters arose in Missouri. The Kickapoo were moved on to Kansas, and in the 1880s were allotted some territory in Oklahoma. This is where the majority of Kickapoo live today.

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Art & Crafts:

Kickapoo artists are known for their pottery, quillwork, and woodcarving.

Kickapoos and other eastern American Indians also occasionally crafted wampum out of white and purple shell beads to use as regalia, currency, and commemoration of important events. Like European tapestries or Celtic tartans, the designs and pictures on wampum often told a story or represented family affiliations.

Elaborately carved wooden war clubs were used in battle.





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Wedding Customs


Famous Kickapoo People:

Kennakukfamous Kickapoo prophet
Pa-sha-cha-hah (Jumping Fish) –

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