Kiowa Apache

ETHNONYMS: Prairie Apache, Semat

The Kiowa Apache are a small Athapaskan group who at the time of sustained contact with Europeans in the early nineteenth century lived in the northwestern plains. Later they relocated to the general area of the Oklahoma Panhandle and adjoining sections of Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. They now number about nine hundred and are associated with the Kiowa and Comanche in southwestern Oklahoma. The Kiowa Apache speak an Athapaskan language closely related to Jicarilla Apache and Lipan Apache. All other Apache groups were forced to migrate to the southwest under pressure from the Comanche, but the Kiowa Apache remained on the plains and since that time have not had any political connection with other Apache tribes. They were able to resist the Comanche through their close relationship with the Kiowa. The Kiowa Apache became one of the seven bands of the Kiowa, camping with them in the Summer to hunt bison and celebrate common rituals. There was also some intermarriage with the Kiowa. Along with the Kiowa they obtained horses early, and as a result the bison became the mainstay of their subsistence economy. Agricultural products were obtained through trade with the Pueblos and other sedentary peoples.

Throughout the nineteenth century, the Kiowa Apache maintained generally friendly relations with Whites. In the twentieth century, they at first shared a joint tribal constitution with the Kiowa and Comanche and then in 1972 ratified their own constitution, placing tribal governance in the hands of a tribal business council. Most Kiowa Apache children now attend public schools, and many continue their education at vocational schools or college.

See also Kiowa


Bittle, William E. (1971). "A Brief History of the Kiowa Apache." University of Oklahoma, Papers in Anthropology 12:1-34.

McAllister, J. Gilbert (1970). Dä vé ko: Kiowa-Apache Medicine Man. Texas Memorial Museum Bulletin no. 17. Austin.

Whitewolf, Jim (1969). Jim Whitewolf: The Life of a Kiowa Apache Indian. New York: Dover Publications.

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