War - 49 - Horse Stealing

Canyon Records
Kiowa Dance Group Singers. Singers: Bill Koomsa, Sr. Lead Singer, Billy Hunting Horse, Wilbur Kodaseet, Bill Koomsa, Jr., Lonnie Tsotaddle, Georgia Dupoint, Ann Koomsa, Martha Koomsa Perez, Pearl Woodard.
Notes by Glenn H. White

The Kiowa have always been regarded as one of the great tribes of the plains. In the past they were known for bravery and courage in battle. Principally a rural people today, they are considered to be one of the progressive, forward-looking Indian groups in southwestern Oklahoma.

The name Kiowa is from their own name, Gaigwu or Kaigwu, meaning "principal people." It was also the name of one of the size divisions that made up the tribal camp circle when they came eastward to the plains from their original home in the Rocky Mountains.

Early in their history, they formed two important alliances. One was with a small band of Apache, now known as the Kiowa-Apache. This alliance continues to this day in Oklahoma. About 1790 they made a permanent peace with the Comanche after a long period of warfare. This alliance was the basis for the Kiowa-Comanche Reservation in Oklahoma where they were settle by the United States.

The largest settlement of Kiowa in Oklahoma today is near Carnegie in Caddo County. Over 3,300 reside on or adjacent to the original reservation. All tribal land is owned jointly with the Comanche and Apache tribes of Oklahoma and includes 4,373 tribally owned acres and 229,926 acres of allotted land. Tribal headquarters are in Anadarko.

Lead singer Bill Koomsa, Sr. has to be considered as one of the outstanding Indian singers in the United States today. He is the son of Bob Koomsa, who was a prominent Kiowa singer and who had been a member of the committee which adopted the Kiowa Flag Song after World War I. Bill Koomsa, Sr. learned many of the old songs from his Dad, and has preserved them.

Bill, Sr. is able to sing a great variety of Kiowa songs. He was one of the group which began the revival of the Gourd dance in 1941. For many years he was prominent in the Oklahoma pow wow circle, but seldom participates today. However, his dance group performs annually at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonials, and at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque.

Also present during the recording session was William Taneahdooah, a revered elder, and singer with Bill Koomsa, Sr.'s father, Bob Koomsa.


Many of the songs in this album are recorded for the first time, and have not been heard for many years. CANYON RECORDS is honored to have a small part in helping to perpetuate this aspect of the rich Kiowa culture.

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Native Words



Horse Stealing Song 1 "We seldom sing them anymore. It's kind of a trot dance. The women sing and dance, and it's principally for warriors. There's no words to the songs. You can tell whenever they're going to have the horse stealing songs – they roll the drums a little bit." Kiowa
Horse Stealing Song 2 Kiowa
Horse Stealing Song 3 Kiowa
Old Kiowa War Dance Song 1 These songs are infrequently sung today. They are old songs dating back fifty or more years to when the old chiefs danced. None of the songs contain words. The 'war-whooping' in the background was provided by Georgia Dupoint, and such sounds are called "lulus." Kiowa
Old Kiowa War Dance Song 2 Kiowa
Old Kiowa War Dance Song 3 Kiowa
Old Kiowa War Dance Song 4 Kiowa
Old Kiowa War Dance Song 5 Kiowa
Old Kiowa War Dance Song 6 Kiowa
Old Kiowa War Dance Song 7 Kiowa
Ruffle Dance Song A short song sung two times through. The rumbling of the drum signals its beginning. Kiowa
Kiowa 49 Song 1 "Anymore, that 49 is mostly for young people. Just a social. They used to have a 49 way back in years, but it wasn't called that then. I remember when the name 49 came for that particular dance. It must have been around 1924. A picture show came to this area called IN THE DAYS OF 49. It was greatly advertised. One night as we were dancing this dance, a character drove up, pointed to the dancers and yelled "In the Days of 49." so, the name came into existence, the 49 Dance.

Some of the modern Kiowa 49 songs contain English words. Very few ever had Kiowa words in them.

The original purpose of the dance was . . . well, it was more or less a farewell dance. A warrior was going to go on the warpath. They had that social dance as more of a farewell dance before the warriors would leave on their journey. Originally they called is a War Journey Song."
Kiowa 49 Song 2 Kiowa
Kiowa 49 Song 3 Kiowa
Kiowa 49 Song 4 Kiowa
Kiowa 49 Song 5 Kiowa
Kiowa 49 Song 6 Kiowa
Kiowa 49 Song 7 Kiowa
Kiowa 49 Song 8 Kiowa
Kiowa 49 Song 9 Kiowa