Relations with Other Tribes

Horses Bring Greater Mobility
The presence of Euro-Americans had a profound impact on the Kaws’ relations with other Native American tribes. The Spanish brought horses to the central plains and by the early 1700s the Kaws had become accomplished equestrians. Horses afforded the Kaws and their Indian neighbors greater mobility over longer distances which increased the frequency of both peaceful trade but also raids and counter-raids between the tribes.

Horses became enormously important as a means for men to attain wealth and stature. Like all of the Indians living in this area, the Kaw warriors took considerable pride in being able to steal horses from their enemies. 
Upon returning from a successful raid, a Kaw warrior would be subject to much praise if he were to have captured and herded home a dozen or more of the enemies’ horses. Once the great Kaw warrior, Ne-ca-que-ba-na, returned to the Kaw villages near Council Grove with a drove of one hundred fifty horses he had captured from the Pawnees. Ne-ca-que-ba-na distributed the horses to the three principal Kaw chiefs.
Fur Trade Promotes Competition
Another European-induced factor which strained relations between the Kaws and their Indian neighbors was competition in the fur trade. From about 1700 on the Kaws had become dependent on European and American-provided trade exchanged for animal pelts delivered by the Indians. 
Competition was keen, sometimes becoming violent, between the tribes vying for the best hunting and trapping grounds. Often the white traders played tribes off against each other and at times promoted intra-tribal factionalism to gain a commercial advantage.
The main enemy of the Kaws were the Pawnees, a large tribe living in present-day north-central Kansas and central Nebraska. Throughout the 1700s the Kaws had captured Pawnee people and sold them to the French as slaves. 
In 1812, the Pawnees attacked the Kaws’ Blue Earth Village. Under the brilliant leadership of Burning Hart, the outnumbered Kaws defeated the Pawnees, who lost eighty of their best warriors and nearly all of their horses. The Kaws attacked the Loup River Pawnees in late 1812 and lost thirty of their most prized warriors. This reduction in warrior numbers made it hard for the Kaw to compete for a fair share of the natural fur and skin supply.

In addition to the Pawnees, Kaw adversaries included at various times the Iowas, Sac and Fox, Otoes, Kiowas, Cheyennes, and even the powerful Osages. After an American-arranged truce between the Osages and the Kaws in 1806, the two tribes retained peaceful relations and Osage-Kaw marriages became commonplace.

Emigrant Indians Compete for Resources
In 1825 the Kaws gave up considerable land in present-day Kansas and Missouri for a smaller reservation. Much of the land vacated by the Kaws was divided among other Indian nations that had been forced to abandon their eastern homes. Among these tribes were the Cherokee, Chippewa, Delaware, Iowa, Iroquois, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Munsee, Ottawa, Peoria, Piankashaw, Potawatomi,Quapaw, Sac and Fox, Shawnee, Stockbridge, Wea, and Wyandot. These tribes, often referred to as "emigrant Indians," competed with the Kaw in hunting and trapping the dwindling bison herds and other fur-bearing animals.

Raids between other tribes and the Kaws continued almost to the time the Kaws were removed from Kansas. On June 3, 1868, seeking to avenge a defeat they had suffered at the hands of the Kaws the previous winter, a large contingent of Cheyenne warriors in full war regalia approached Council Grove from the west. Part of them rode down Main Street, terrifying a good many whites, some of whom barricaded themselves in the Kaw Mission.

Santanta - Kiowa Chief
The Cheyennes engaged the Kaws about three to four miles southeast of Council Grove. The Kaws dug in along the creek banks and timber while the mounted Cheyennes rode back and forth in open country, shouting and bluffing charges while staying out of range of the Kaw rifles. Many shots were fired during the four-hour skirmish, but only one Kaw and one Cheyenne warrior were wounded. The Cheyennes retreated late in the afternoon, looting a few area farmsteads as they went.
The Kaw
Everyday Life
Relations with other tribes
Charles Curtis

Who was the only person of Indian descent to become a vice-president of the U.S.?