Santana Kiowa War Chief

Kiowa Medicine Lodge
Indian lodge at Medicine Creek, Kansas scene of the late Indian peace council Council at Medicine Creek lodge with the Kiowa and Comanche Indians sketched by J. Howland 1867

Of all the white people’s activities in Indian country, none enraged and disheartened the Native Americans more than the destruction of their buffalo. Hide hunter Billy Dixon reminisced that the annihilation “lay at the very heart of the grievances of the Indian against the white man in frontier days.” At the Medicine Lodge Treaty Council of 1867, the great Kiowa chief Satanta complained bitterly about the army’s shooting of his buffalo. “A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers,” lamented Satanta, “but when I go up to the river I see a camp of soldiers, and they are cutting my wood down, or killing my buffalo. I don’t like that, and when I see it my heart feels like bursting with sorrow.”Satanta was furious at the army because the two infantry companies that escorted the peace commissioners from Fort Lamed to Medicine Lodge Creek had wantonly slaughtered buffalo along the route of their march. Riding spare cavalry horses, most of the soldier hunters had dismounted to cut the tongues from the animals they had dropped; others sliced hump steaks from their kills; some merely left the dead buffalo lying where they fell and rode on to continue the bloodshed.

In response, Satanta complained to General William Hamey, asking “has the white man become a child, that he should recklessly kill and not eat? When the red men slay game, they do so that they may live and not starve.

Billy Dixon, Life and Adventures of “Billy” Dixon of AdobeW alls, Texas Panhandle (Guthrie, OK, 1914), 55; Henry M. Stanley, My EarlyTravels and Adventures in America( 1895; reprint, Lincoln, 1982), 249; Tom McHugh, The Time of the Buffalo (New York, 1972), 282-83


Kiowa White Bear Satanta

Satanta (ca. 1820 – October 11, 1878) was a Kiowa war chief. He was a member of the Kiowa tribe, born around 1820, during the height of the power of the Plains Tribes, probably along the Canadian River in the traditional winter camp grounds of his people. He was also known as Settainte (White Bear). One of the best known, and last, of the Kiowa War Chiefs, he developed a reputation as an outstanding warrior and in his twenties was made a sub-chief of his tribe, under Dohäsan, as Chief. He fought with him at the First Battle of Adobe Walls, and earned enduring fame for his use of an army bugle to confuse the troops in battle.

Satanta (Set’tainte) was born the son of Chief Red Tipi and a Spanish captive and spent his youth south of the Arkansas River enjoying the peaceful alliance between the Kiowa and Comanche tribes.


1867, Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, then commander of the Department of the Missouri, which embraced Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico

“A t a council held at Fort Lamed on 1 May 1867, Hancock said to Satanta. (Basically)
You know well that the game is getting very scarce, and that you must soon have some other means of living; you
should therefore cultivate the friendship of the white man, so that when the game is all gone, they may take care of you if necessary.

Douglas C. Jones’s study of the Treaty of Medicine Lodge reveals that the United States Peace Commission
composed of seven men, three of whom were generals in the regular army, took for granted the impending extinction of the buffalo and did not even discuss saving the herds

John M. Carroll,e d., General Custer and the Battle of the Washita: The Federal View (Bryan, TX, 1978), 182, 199; Douglas C. Jones, The Treaty of Medicine Lodge: The Story of the GreatTreatyCouncilas Told by Eyewitnesses (Norman, 1966), 119


Guarding The Buffalo

Here the term ‘soldier’ is a place of position in a tribe. Men of fighting and are willing to die.

Author of the letter: Major General Hugh Lenox Scott (September 22, 1853 – April 30, 1934) was a United States Army officer. A West Point graduate of 1876, he served as superintendent of West Point from 1906 to 1910 and as chief of staff of the United States Army from 1914 to 1917, which included the first few months of American involvement in World War I.

Guarding the Buffalo

When the Kiowa were all in one large village they guarded the Buffalo-if that was not done – men would go off secretly before sunrise in different directions and drive the buffalo far away from the village and starve everybody else- they would be exhausted looking for meat – the soldiers guard the buffalo – if they see anybody going to hunt buffalo on the wrong day they stop him – then at the right time they all go out – the soldiers scattered along the front – holding the people back, restraining their impatience until all are ready and when the principal man gives the signal they charge the buffalo – everybody kills a buffalo that way and gets enough to eat – they cut meat enough to last ten or twelve days or more – by that time the buffalo have recovered from their fright and are back again near the village – then they do it again if they use guns or pistols it frightens the buffalo that hear it for a long distance around and they leave the section – all the old men advised to use bows and arrows and spears only in that way the buffalo would be back around camp in two days – small camps did not guard the buffalo –
When they were guarding the buffalo the soldiers would whip anybody who went out to shoot deer or anything else- the buffalo when scared will usually run about three miles – then walk for four miles – then he calms down and eats grass – the elk or big bear do not get tired – no tired no stop – they are strong – they keep going the bear goes over mountain after mountain before he stops. – Hugh Lenox Scott

Apache – Arapaho – Blackfeet – Carrizo Comecrudo – Cherokee – Cheyenne – Chickasaw – Choctaw

Comanche – Cree – Crow – Kickapoo – Kiowa – Modoc – Osage – Quapaw – Senaca – Shoshone – Sioux Lakota – Sioux Oglala – Tejas

Bison Conservation Among Native Tribes  –  Horned War Bonnet or Headdress  –  The Great Buffalo Hunt at Standing Rock