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H. Allen Anderson

DOHÄSAN (ca. 1795–1866). Dohäsan, or Dohate, a prominent Kiowa chief, was born sometime in the mid-1790s. He was the son of a chief named Dohá (Bluff). He was of the Kata or Arikara band of Kiowas, so named because of their close trading relationship with the Arikaras in the upper Missouri valley during the tribe's early history. Dohäsan's name, which was hereditary, has been variously translated as Little Mountain, Little Bluff, or Top-of-the-Mountain. Dohäsan became principal chief of the Kiowas in the spring of 1833, after the deposition of A'date, following the massacre of his village by Osages at Cutthroat Gap, near the head of Otter Creek in Indian Territory. That episode prompted the dragoon expedition of Col. Henry Dodge to Western Oklahoma in the summer of 1834. Dohäsan was among those on hand to greet the colonel and his retinue. George Catlin, who accompanied the expedition, sketched and painted the chief's portrait. In May 1837 Dohäsan was one of the principals who signed the Fort Gibson Treaty, by which the United States government sought to end intertribal warfare in Indian Territory.

Treaties, however, did little to stifle the Kiowas' frequent raids for horses and other booty. In 1839 he successfully led his warriors out of an ambush by Mexican soldiers at Hueco Tanks near El Paso. In their roamings Dohäsan and his followers frequented the Texas Panhandle, particularly the Canadian River valley. There, on September 17, 1845, he was entered in Lt. James W. Abert's watercolor portfolio. In the summer of 1851 Dohäsan led a war party against treacherous Pawnees near the head of Medicine Lodge Creek in Kansas. In 1859, as a goodwill gesture, Maj. John Sedgwick's troops presented Dohäsan with an old army ambulance wagon. Unable to master the art of driving a team, the chief simply had a couple of Kiowa boys ride the harnessed horses as he sat in the driver's seat. Once, when federal authorities threatened to withhold annuity goods and send troops against the Kiowas if they did not cease their depredations, Dohäsan defiantly called the "white chief" a fool with the "heart of a woman." It was Dohäsan's camp that Col. Christopher H. (Kit) Carson's troops attacked and burned in the first battle of Adobe Walls on November 25, 1864; the old chief escaped to warn the villages farther down but had his horse shot from under him and lost his ambulance to the whites. In October 1865 Dohäsan signed the Little Arkansas Treaty, but he vigorously protested confinement to a reservation, declaring that the Kiowas owned all the land from the North Platte River to the upper Texas Panhandle and needed room to roam about. Shortly afterward, in early 1866, he died.

Although the principal chieftainship passed to Lone Wolf, the Kiowa tribe began to splinter into factions and never again was truly unified under one leader. A nephew of Dohäsan subsequently inherited his name. The younger Dohäsan took part in many important forays and battles staged by the Kiowas. He was part of the delegation to Washington in 1872 and participated in the Lost Valley Fight and the siege of Lyman's wagon train in 1874. He was among the last of the Kiowa leaders to surrender at the end of the Red River War in February 1875. Afterward, the younger Dohäsan lived with his family in peace on the reservation near Fort Sill until his death. In 1892 he gave his annual family calendar history, begun by his uncle, to Capt. Hugh L. Scott, who in turn donated it to the Smithsonian Institution. Dohäsan the younger died in 1893.


Mildred P. Mayhall, The Kiowas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962; 2d ed. 1971). James Mooney, Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians (Washington: GPO, 1898; rpt., Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979). Wilbur Sturtevant Nye, Plains Indian Raiders (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968). Frederick W. Rathjen, The Texas Panhandle Frontier (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson, "DOHASAN," accessed May 27, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdo47.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on July 12, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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