- A confederacy of nine tribes of the Caddo family, closely related to
the Pawnee. They formerly ranged from the middle section of the Arkansas
River in Kansas south to the Brazos River in Texas.
The Wichita gained fame at an early period
when they were visited by Coronado in 1541, the Spaniards hopefully naming
the Wichita country the Province of Quivira, a land of wealth and plenty.
However, the explorers found it anything but that.
In the early days the Wichita suffered
two epidemics of smallpox, which took many lives. They made their
first treaty of peace with the United States in 1836.
Although they lived near the buffalo grounds
and at times hunted buffalo, the Wichita were more of an agricultural people.
Their permanent homes were dome shaped, from 30 to 50 feet in diameter,
made from a framework of poles overlaid with grass. From a distance
they looked like haystacks. Around the inside of the house were beds
on elevated platforms. A fire hole was sunk in the center of the
floor and a smoke hole cut on one side of the roof. The doorways
faced east and west.
The Wichita will be remembered principally
from the prominence of Wichita, Kansas, which bears their name. It
is also the name of counties in Kansas and Texas; the Wichita Mountains
in Oklahoma; a river in Texas; and a town in Oklahoma; besides Wichita
within this Site
][ Pawnee ]