|Native American Stories and Songs
Anita Anquo--Kiowa from Salpulpa, Okalahoma
Anita Anquo lives just outside of Oklahoma City in the smalltown of Salpulpa. Anita is an older woman with a very youthful presence. Her mannerisms are quick and sharp; she laughs a lot, and when she “lulus” it can be heard from far away. Her house is filled with craft supplies and finished items, and I wanted to move in and have her teach me.
Anita is a Kiowa woman whose ancestors were brought to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears. There were nine in her family and, when her mother and father died, their lands were split among the siblings. Today the land is leased out and she and her brothers and sisters receive lease payments each year. She says when she gets those small checks her eyes fill with tears because it is from their land.
The name “Kiowa,” like so many names of native tribes, has no basis in the Kiowa language. The name they give themselves is Kwu-da and Tep-da, which means “coming out” (probably referring to the creation stories). The Kiowa are a Plains tribe and were once nomadic and moved frequently. Initially, the Kiowa had no horses but used the dog and travois to move from place to place. They hunted the buffalo by herding the animals into a corral and then running them over the edge of a cliff. The buffalo was a major source of food, clothing, and shelter. Later, they acquired horses. They ranged across the Great Plains as far north as Canada and as far south as Mexico.
The earliest historical knowledge places the Kiowa tribe in western Montana. The massive slaughter of the buffalo by white men and trophy hunters dramatically affected their lifestyle. When the sea of settlers and soldiers replaced the herds of buffalo, the Kiowa were in a tenuous position. Though they resisted with force and determination, loss of lands and life diminished the numbers of Kiowa people.
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Anita Anquo (right) and her sister wearing traditional blankets.