Chickasaw begins 322-mile Washita River adventure
CHEYENNE, Okla. – Chickasaw master craftsman and artist Richard Thomas plans to kayak more than 320 miles down the Washita River to honor the memory of Southern Cheyenne tribal leader Black Kettle, who died near here 149 years ago.
Black Kettle lost his life in the 1868 “Battle of the Washita,” which some historians characterize as a massacre, as George Armstrong Custer led his men in a daybreak attack on the Cheyenne’s winter encampment.
Thomas said the trip is also intended to pay tribute to all tribes whose territory embraces the Washita’s muddy meanderings through western, central and southern Oklahoma.
He plans to slip his personally-outfitted kayak into the stream Friday, May 5 at the Black Kettle National Grasslands. The Washita kisses the Texas Panhandle on the west then crisscrosses several tribal nations as it flows southeasterly through what was once Indian Territory.
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office