The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, which include the Waco, are a federally recognized tribe with headquarters in Anadarko, Oklahoma. The ancestors of these allied tribal groups were precontact residents of the southern Great Plains and spoke related Caddoan languages. During the historic period their villages were located from southern Kansas south to central Texas. In the eighteenth century their traditional hunting and horticulture economy was augmented by a lucrative trading partnership with the French. By mid-eighteenth century the Waco were located among the Wichita on the Red River and with the Tawakoni on the Sabine River in Texas.
In 1855 the Waco were assigned with the Tawakoni and other tribal groups to the Brazos Indian Reservation near Fort Belknap, Texas. Hostilities with Texas settlers and authorities resulted in the removal of the Waco to the Indian Territory reservation established in 1859 for the Wichita and affiliated tribes, the Caddo, a Delaware band, and two Comanche bands. During the Civil War many residents of the reservation moved north to Kansas, returning after the war to reestablish their villages.
Although the Waco are generally identified with the Wichita as an "affiliated" tribe, who share a common culture and history, they maintained a separate tribal identity throughout the reservation era. The Waco established separate villages, and the authority of their headmen was recognized by reservation agents. When the reservation was allotted in 1901, the Waco were assigned individual land allotments as "Wichitas." At the end of the twentieth century families continued to identify their Waco heritage, although the Waco are not distinguished politically from the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Elizabeth A. H. John, Storms Brewed in Other Men's Worlds: The Confrontation of Indians, Spanish, and French in the Southwest, 1540-1796 (2nd ed.; Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996). Carolyn Garrett Pool, "The Process of Dependency: An Ethnohistorical Study of the Political Economy of the Wichita Reservation, 1867-1901" (Ph.D. diss., University of Oklahoma, 1987). F. Todd Smith, The Caddos, the Wichitas, and the United States, 1846-1901 (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 1996).
Carolyn Garrett Pool
© Oklahoma Historical Society