Cultural Video Series

Storytelling, songs, and tribal culture

This week's cultural video

Indian Education is continuing to share a series of short cultural videos for our students and families. This week, we learn about the culture, history, and traditions of the Kiowa Tribe from Kiowa elder Karen Onco.

About Karen Onco, Kiowa

Karen Onco, a Kiowa tribal member is a retired educator of 42 years. Her Kiowa name is Tsomah, which means “Stone Woman.” She belongs to the Kiowa War Mothers, an organization for mothers of veterans, and is affiliated with the Kiowa Black Leggings, an organization for male veterans. Onco also helps with the Oh-Ho-Mah Society, an organization that teaches Kiowa sons Kiowa traditions and etiquette. She is involved with the Kiowa language program as well.

Onco had been active in Indian Education as a school counselor, coordinator, and advisor and advocated many years for Indian Education issues.

As you are watching this video, answer the following questions:

  1. Where did the Kiowa tribe migrate or move from before coming to what is now Oklahoma?
  2. What language family is the Kiowa from and what are some of the informational facts about the Kiowa language?
  3. Name and describe the uses of the buffalo that are mentioned.

Kiowa Early History and Culture - Part I

As you are watching this video, answer the following questions:

  1. How did boarding schools impact the Kiowa people?
  2. What are the military societies?
  3. What influence did the Kiowa have on the art world?

Kiowa Warrior Societies and Art - Part II

Optional Extension Activity - Kiowa Designs

One beadwork design commonly seen on Kiowa clothing is a maple or oak leaf. The leaf is a special symbol to Kiowas because they had lived in Canada. Some Kiowas used to tie them on men, women, and children for good luck. Today Kiowas wear them on their leggings and tribal dress.


1. One piece of blank white paper or a printer to print the design.

2. Crayons, colored pencils, or markers


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