MAY 5, 1875


Born circa 1835, known also as “Striking Eagle,” Kicking Bird, of Crow and Kiowa ancestry, became leader of the Kiowa “peace faction” in 1866.  This made him intermediary between the Kiowa and federal officials and, as such, was a Kiowa representative at the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty Council.  As reservation conditions worsened, in July 1870, he led a raiding party across the Red River that resulted in a day-long fight with the U.S. Cavalry.  Subsequently, he devoted himself to peace.  In June 1874, Quanah Parker’s war faction was defeated at Adobe Walls, destroying Kiowa military power.  Kicking Bird, the only leader left with a sizable following, was made principal chief by the army.  Placed in charge of hostile Kiowas captured during the 1874–75 uprising, the army required him to choose those prisoners to be incarcerated in Florida.  He died suddenly after drinking a cup of coffee.  It was assumed, but never proved, that he was poisoned.  Kicking Bird was buried at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Source:  Brian C. Hosmer, “Kicking Bird,” Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.  Retrieved 3/1/2020,
Photo:  William S. Soule (1836-1908), circa 1870.  Public Domain.

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