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Wichita Indian Tribe

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The Wichita are a tribe of Native Americans, indigenous inhabitants of North America, who speak Wichita, a Caddoan language.

The Wichita, a semi-sedentary people, occupied northern Texas in the early 1700's and were involved in trade with other Southern Plains Indians on both sides of the Red River and as far south as Waco. The Wichita lived in huts made of forked cedar poles cover by dry grasses, but would abandon them in the winter to go hunt American Bison.

The Wichita were known to tattoo their faces and bodies with solid and dotted lines and circles. They called themselves "raccoon-eyed people" (Wichita kiriki:r?is) because of the tattooed marks around their eyes. They wore clothes made of tanned hides, the women often decorating their dresses in elk teeth.

The first records of the Wichita Tribe come to us from Francisco Vazques de Coronado, a Spanish explorer who encountered a belt of villages in 1541 in what is now south-central Kansas. He is recorded as saying:

"There are not more than twenty-five towns, with straw houses, in it, nor any more in all the rest of the country that I have seen and learned about . . . All they have is the tanned skins of the cattle they kill, for the herds are near where they live, at quite a large river. They eat meat raw like the Querechos [the ] and Teyas [the ]. They are enemies of one another...These people of Quivira [later known as the Wichita] have the advantage over the others in their houses and in growing of maize."

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