Identifying Forced Migration

In regards to migration, one of the most fascinating things to uncover are the causes that led to the process overall. Tracking migration for one specific group over several years requires the validation of every smaller group of Natives who may have been considered or mistaken as Wichita Indians. Here we see the various locations where the Wichita and their subgroups lived, and the constant displacement of these Natives is illustrated through the StoryMap JS’s design.

Key to Navigate MapDescription
Beginning of MapLocated on the left hand corner of the map, selecting this feature will redirect you to the first page of the Storymap presentation.
Map OverviewLocated on the left hand corner of the map, selecting this feature will redirect you to an outstretched view of the entire map provided.
Marker SelectionBy clicking on the green marker, you will be able to view the migration pattern that was created by the Wichita Indians over time.
Storymap ArrowLocated in the middle of the right hand side of the map, selecting this feature will enable the story feature of the map, and take you page by page of the presentation in order.
Two Fingers on the MapBy using two of your fingers, you can zoom in and out of the map by creating a pinching motion on the screen. This enables a closer or farther view on the map depending on your preference.

Identification of the Wichita: The Affects on Identity due to Forced Migration.

One of the most difficult tasks tackled by historians who specialize in Native American studies is validating the various bands of Indians that have been identified over time. Additionally, correctly identifying them in regards to which tribe they belong to presents an even more difficult task.

Many bands of Indians in the Northern Frontier may have been separated geographically, but it is important to understand that they belonged to a much larger tribe that essentially is unified culturally and sets them apart from the various other groups of Indians. For example, the Wichita and the many smaller bands that belonged to this culturally unified group all share unique traditions, lifestyles, languages, and essentially every aspect of their life that is unique and singular to the Wichita Indians.

Throughout Native American history, several names have been introduced by different groups of settlers to identify various bands, tribes, and villages located across the states of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. In some cases, groups of Indians these settlers encountered were identified as their own independent group of Indians, but later on were correctly identified as members of the Wichita Tribe.

The various names that are seen in the table below are the result of the documented attempts that were made to identify and name specific group of Indians independently, but later on correctly identified as the Wichita Indians. An important factor to the misidentification of these bands can often be tied back to misinterpretations that took place while translating, as well as barriers beyond the linguistic differences.

This table can be navigated by searching for a term in the search box, or simply toggling over the site in reference to the chronological order that the terms are presented in. The chronological order of the terms that have been presented has a significant amount of impact on the Wichita overall in regards to their identity as a whole.

The name that has since then resonated with the identity of the Wichita can be traced back to its first use by Anglo Americans as early as 1750 in the State of Texas.
YearTerm Origin
Before the 16th CenturyKitikiti'sh / KirikirishThere are various definitions or meanings that can be used to interpret this term; one definition explaining it as, "racoon eyes" while others have defined this term as, "pre - eminent men" or "paramount among men". This was the first term used to identify the Wichita Indians, and is derived from the Wichita's ancestors. During this time, the Wichita lived in the fertile valleys of the south - central plains that are now known as Kansas and Oklahoma.
QuivirasIn 1541, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado led the Coronado Expeditions and consequently visited parts of what is now known as the state of Kansas. The name that was given to the Indians Coronado encountered during this time was later on archeologically and historically validated as the Wichita Indians.
1719OusitasA french business trader by the name of Jean Baptiste de la Harpe recognized a band of Indians in Oklahoma he referred to as the Ousitas; this group was later on historically identified as a band of the Wichita Indians.
1750WichitaAnglo - American settlers in the state of Texas used this name to identify the Wichita Indians, and it was one of the first instances that a band of Wichita Indians was identified correctly by Anglo - Americans.
1772QuedsitasAthanese de Mézières was the commandant of a Spanish post that was located in Natchitoches, Louisiana and he visited a band of Indians along the the upper Brazos River. This group of Indians was later on historically identified as a band of the Wichita Indians.
1805WichetaA mispronunciation of the name, "Wichita", Anglo - American Settlers in the state of Texas used the term to identify this band of Indians that were specifically located along the Red River.
1850Towiach / TawehashIn reference to various groups of Indians located along the Wichita and Brazos River, the name was used to identify these smaller bands, and later on identified as Wichita Indians historically.

¹ Elam, Earl H. “Kitikiti’sh: The Wichita Indians and Associated Tribes in Texas, 1757 – 1859.” Hill College Press, 2008.
² Newcomb Jr., William W. “The People Called Wichita.” Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series, 1976.
³ Richardson, Rupert N. “The Frontier of Northwest Texas 1846-1876.” Glendale, CA: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1963.

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