Kansa (kănˈsô) [key], people whose language belongs to the Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages), also known as the Kansas or Kaw. Closely related to the Osage, from whom they separated probably not long before white settlers met them, they shared the typical Plains culture and began farming only after the buffalo had disappeared from the Plains. They were at the mouth of the Kansas River when white traders reached them, but had moved westward to the mouth of the Saline River by 1815, when the United States made its first treaty with them. By treaties of 1825 and 1846, the Kansa ceded most of their lands and accepted a reservation on the Neosho River at Council Grove, Kans., where they lived until 1873. They were then placed on a reservation in Oklahoma, next to the Osage tribe. Their lands were allotted to them on an individual basis rather than to the whole tribe. There were about 1,100 Kansa in the United States in 1990.
See W. E. Unrau, The Kansa Indians (1971).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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