Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly6:4 (Fall 1986). Copyright © 1986 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


When white explorers encountered them in their Wisconsin homeland, the Kickapoo Indians lived in separate and widely scattered bands. I Although individuals referred to themselves as Kickapoos and identified with the major tribal group, over time the dispersed bands adopted additional cultural traits suitable to different regions and conditions. Environmental factors, proximity to white settlers, missionary pressure, and interaction with other tribes all produced a drift toward cultural pluralism.

Although noted for their conservatism, the Kickapoos were willing to adopt material culture traits that were to their advantage. This trend intensified after a portion of the tribe settled in Kansas in 1833 as a result of President Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy. A great number of the Kickapoos were discontented in their new homes, however, and after a brief and restless stay most of them journeyed south to Texas, Mexico, and the Indian Territory, where other tribal members had already settled.