Wichita, self-name Kitikiti’sh, North American Indian people of Caddoan linguistic stock who originally lived near the Arkansas River in what is now the state of Kansas. They were encountered by the Spanish in the mid-16th century and became the first group of Plains Indians subject to missionization.
The Wichita Indians were original people of southern Oklahoma and northern Texas, but after Europeans arrived, population pressures forced them further north into Kansas, where the city of Wichita is named for them. Most Wichita people are living in Oklahoma today.
The Ancestral Wichita people lived in the eastern Great Plains from the Red River in Arkansas north to Nebraska for at least 2,000 years.
Most of the Wichita stayed in the northern area of Texas, though. They lived on the Red River in a place called Spanish Fort. After they moved to Texas they became friends with the powerful Comanche.
Lured by French trade goods and harried by enemy Osages, the Wichita moved south to the Red River, where they occupied fortified villages and, through their alliance with the Comanche, served as middlemen in the trade between the French and the Spanish in New Mexico.
The name Wichita (pronounced WITCH-i-taw) comes from a Choctaw word and means “ big arbor” or “big platform,” referring to the grass arbors the Wichita built.
“Wichita” is evidently derived from the Choctaw word Wia chitch, meaning “big arbor” in reference to the Wichita’s large grass lodges, which resembled haystacks. The Wichita today number about one thousand and are affiliated with the Caddo and Delaware in Caddo County, Oklahoma, where many live on allotted land.
Only 822 people returned to Indian Territory in 1867. Traditional Wichita religion encompassed a belief in the supernatural powers of elements of the earth and the sky. Animals often appeared to men in dreams or revelations to become lifelong guardian spirits.
March 21, 2017 | Ashley Aulbach. Wichita is affectionately referred to as “Doo-Dah”, though the origins of this nickname are pretty unclear. Younger Wichitans suspect the name began with older generations, while some members of older generations have attributed the use of the name primarily to younger Wichitans.
Wichita, Kansas, owes its name to the early presence of the tribe in that area. Slightly darker in color than other native people of Texas, the Wichitas were distinguished by their elaborate tattoos, the scalp-lock worn by the men, and the custom of the women to remain nude from the waist up.
WICHITA TRIBAL PRESIDENTS Louis Zadoka (Elected as first President under the Governing Resolution adopted on May 8, 1961).
Wichita Facts Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World.” Wichita is the birthplace of Pizza Hut and White Castle fast-food chains. A.A. Hyde discovered Mentholatum in 1894 in the current The Spice Merchant & Company building.
Turtle Island is a name for Earth or North America, used by some Indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States, as well as by some Indigenous rights activists. The name is based on a common North American Indigenous creation story.