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Rene-Robert Cavalier, a French explorer, documented meeting with the Kiowa people in the 1680s. The Kiowa people established life in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, but were forced to relocate to a reservation in Oklahoma in the 1800s. Through the years fighting, massacres by American led troops, and epidemics greatly reduced the number of tribal members. Many of the Kiowa remain in Oklahoma today. Although contemporary Kiowa people are United States citizens, with all of the rights and responsibilities, they maintain their own government and laws; they also maintain an elected council to govern the tribe. Historically, each Kiowa band had a chief who led them. In most cases, the chief had proven skills as a warrior and was selected by a tribal council. Today, the language is considered to be endangered because most of the tribal people are now native English speakers.
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