Cutthroat Gap Massacre

Cutthroat Gap Massacre
The Cutthroat Massacre site is approximately 2.5 miles east of this marker. In the early summer of 1833 the summer before "The Stars Fell" an Osage war party attacked an undefended Kiowa camp.

The camp of Islandman, a' d' ate Principal Chief of the Kiowas, consisted of women, children , the elderly, and a few warriors. Most of the warriors were on a raid against the Utes , while others were hunting buffalo.

The Osage tracked Islandman's band from Saddle Mountain through the mountains to the camp site early one morning. The Osage raiders struck the camp. The Kiowas surprised and outnumbered were unable to organized a defense. The few warriors tried to hold the Osage back to allow the women and children and elderly to flee. There were many courageous acts of bravery in the camp. It has been estimated that 150 Kiowas were killed.

Kiowa warriors found the camp destroyed and decapitated bodies laying where they had fallen . Before leaving the Osage put the heads of there victims in camp cooking pots. They took the sacred Tai-me Medicine Bundle, two captives, a boy named "Thunder" and a girl named "White Weasel" and many horses. Thunder died during captivity. White Weasel was returned to her family in 1834 by the First Dragoon Expedition.

For allowing the camp to be surprised, the disgraced Islandman was removed as Principal Chief To-hau-san was chosen to replace Islandman and served as principal chief from 1833 until his death in 1866.

Little Bear recorded the massacre on his calendar. It was known to the Kiowas as "the summer that they cut off their heads". The site of the massacre later became known as "Cutthroat Gap"

Later Chief To-hau-san with the assistance of United States Indian agents negotiated with the Osage tribe for the return of the Tai-me Medicine Bundle.

While To-hau-san was chief the Kiowas resisted all efforts by the United States to pacify them and it is said that he never lost a battle he fought with the United States Cavalry.

Oklahoma Historical Society

Kiowa Historical Society


Highway 54, 2.6 miles south of Copperton, OK. East side of road.