Oklahoma, literally translated as "Land of the Red Man," was home to Native American tribes long before the white man came. So it was, also, in Skiatook, which is considered the Gateway to the Osage.
The last hereditary chief of the Quapaw Tribe, Ki-He-Kah-Steh, is believed to have been born somewhere around 1820. He lived west of Skiatook on Quapaw Creek. Called Tallchief by his people, Ki-He-Kah-Steh was also known as Louis Angel among the white men. As Chief of the Quapaw, he had six Chieftains under him with the tribe numbering around 1,000 members. In the book History of Oklahoma, he was called "Chief Wasista," which was in fact his wife's name.
At their home on Quapaw Creek, Ki-He-Kah-Steh and his wife had a daughter they named Maude. As Chief of the Quapaw, Ki-He-Kah-Steh bestowed upon her the honor of being the only person in the Quapaw Tribe authorized to give an infant it's Indian name. With her passing, this office is no longer in existence.
With "Moonhead" Wilson, a Caddo-Delaware Indian who brought the Peyote Religion to this area, Ki-He-Kah-Steh introduced the religion first to the Osage Tribe and then took it to the Quapaws. Today, it is called the "Native American Church."
Before his death in 1918, Ki-He-Kah-Steh was a familiar figure with his one eagle feather in his turkey beard rochet and the full eagle wing fan which he always carried. Proudly, he wore beaded moccasins, arm and leg bands which were gifts from other tribes. His tribe, the Quapaws, did not do bead work. Around his neck, he wore medals presented to the tribe by George Washington at the signing of a treaty. These medals are now in the possession of his descendants.
Know for his tremendous memory, Ki-He-Kah-Steh knew every member of his tribe personally and to whom they were related. He was looked upon as a wise and just chief.
On October 23, 1969, a new Indian Club called Kihekah-Steh (Tall Chief) Club of Skiatook, was formed. The members set as their purpose the promotion and preservation of the culture of the American Indians and the honor of all service men. Tribes represented at the inaugural meeting were Osage, Cherokee, Quapaw, Winnebago, Pawnee and Mohawk. By-Laws were adopted and officers were elected for two-year terms.
Every year since the club's organization, the Kihekah-Steh Pow-Wow has been held to remember with honor Chief Ki-He-Kah-Steh and all service men.
Come visit us in Skiatook, Oklahoma