Kickapoo - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Traditionally, the Kickapoo religion has been an intrinsic part of every facet of life. The religion is animistic and includes a belief in manitous or spirit messengers. The supreme deity is Kisiihiat, who created the world and lives in the sky. Kisiihiat is assisted by a pantheon of manitous, or manitooaki (plural), who are embodied in the earth, objects of nature, and natural forces, and who serve as spirit messengers. There is also a culture hero, Wisaaka, the son of Kisiihiat, who created the Indian world and taught the Kickapoo to build their houses, which are a vital element of the Kickapoo religion. Religious practice is organized around sacred bundles, misaami, for clans and herbal societies. The religion is protected and practiced almost fanatically among the Mexican Kickapoo, whereas the Kansas Kickapoo have been strongly affected by Christianity. Most Oklahoma Kickapoo practice the traditional religion, but some other Religions, such as the Native American church and Protestant denominations, have made some impact.

Religious Practitioners. Each bundle society and clan has a leader to perform the various rituals associated with its Respective sacred pack. Religious leaders have long years of training in order for them to attain the knowledge necessary to the performance of rituals, and they exercise considerable influence socially and politically.

Ceremonies. A highly ritualized cycle of ceremonies plays a part in maintaining the cultural integration of Kickapoo Society in Mexico and Oklahoma, but less so in Kansas. A display of lightning and thunder, usually in early February, signifies the beginning of the New Year and hence the cycle of ceremonies. Festivals include clan and bundle rituals as well as ceremonies and dances that encompass all village Members. Special ceremonial foods play a role in these feasts and are eaten with ceremonial ladles.

Arts. Dancing and singing are important to Kickapoo Ceremonial life as are the instruments of accompaniment such as drums, flutes, and rattles. Some dances and songs are owned by individuals and may be performed only at their invitation.

Medicine. Religious ritual and herbal treatments are combined in traditional medical practices. A wide variety of plants are used in curing rituals and may be conducted by clan leaders, members of bundle societies, and individuals. The Buffalo Dance and Woman's Dance are often associated with treatment of illness and infertility. Modern medicine is accepted by all three Kickapoo groups, sometimes in combination with traditional healing.

Death and Afterlife . Death is accepted with some equanimity and is surrounded with little display of emotion or prolonged mourning. The spirit will journey to a place in the West and reside there happily. There is some fear of the spirits of the dead, however, and children and surviving spouses are considered at risk. Burial takes place after an all-night wake during which chants and prayers are performed. Several times a year, clan members gather to "feed the ghosts" of deceased relatives in the belief that they, too, get hungry. Between four days and four years of death, a special friend of the same sex and approximate age will be adopted into the role of the deceased among his or her consanguineal kin.

Also read article about Kickapoo from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

I am interested in specifics of the Buffalo Dance and the Woman's Dance. Also would appreciate information on bundles for healing and on flutes and rattles. Any guidance toward existing sources of information beyond what my poor computer skills allow me to access on the web would be helpful. I have sincere, personal reasons for asking for this help. I am not an academic nor merely curious.
i wanted the culture can u give me the culture because i really need it for a prim information techology class and it is do tomorrow so please help me find the culture
Hello my name is hunter and I like to know more about the religion please
This was very helpful it helped well on my report.
Connie Sprague
Please share with me information about Kickapoo culture in Texas / Eagle Pass area with more detail regarding the role of women in marriage, parenting styles and the counseling styles of the chiefs when addressing couples or individuals.

My work in chemical dependency is leading me to work within the Texas Kickapoo tribe within a few weeks time or shorter. I think groups lead by peers may be more successful than an outsider leading.I would also really appreciate your feedback and insights which may be helpful to this population when receiving individual and family counseling.
Ricky Fuentes
i'm just beginning my spiritual journey on finding more about my culture. my father passed away awhile back and never showed me or taught me about my native heritage. please help me on my quest for my native culture . what or who do they pray or meditate to for guidance or help? do they believe in more than one god or spirits?
Thanks! That article was very useful. It gave me a lot of information!
This page is really factual. And has a lot of information. I will definitely recommend this page to others
I thought this site really interesting and helpful. I recently found out my great grandmother on my dad's side was kickapoo and would just like to get more in touch with my ancestry. If anyone could tell me speifics about important prayers or traditions you're welcome to email me, I'd really appreciate it!
This page really helped me and my friends on our project!
I thought this was very interesting and I would like to know a little more about the culture not the heritage
Juan "Bluedeer" Montes Sr.
I'm wondering, Do the Kickapoo peoples of texas practice the "Inipi"' (sweatlodge)?
Thank you, This was very helpful with my report. It would have been more helpful if you told us what the traditional religion is.
Ryan Logsdon
Hi my family recently purchased 34 acres in Polk county Missouri, and we have come across quite a few piles of rocks and in my investigation of the history of the area places either the Osage or Kickapoo living in this area. I am curious to learn a bit more about their burials and how best to respect them
Lin breeden
I too an interested in learning more about the Kickapoo modern burial traditions.
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You help me get my missing work done thanks so much with the amazing article
You helped me get my project on Social Studies done,thank you.

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