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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Che-to-pah (seated, left), led Osages at Cutthroat Gap
(6002, Oklahoma Historical Society Photograph Collection, OHS).


Located to the east of Cooperton in Kiowa County, Cutthroat Gap is the site upon which the Osage killed an estimated 150 Kiowa in spring 1833. The Kiowa had been encamped at the confluence of Rainy Mountain Creek and the Washita River when an Osage presence was detected. Because the majority of their warriors were away, raiding the Ute, the Kiowa divided into groups and dispersed into the countryside. One party was led by A'date, the tribe's principal chief.

Osage from the Three Forks area hunted bison in the Kiowa domain. Coveting Kiowa horses, one Osage party trailed A'date's band south from the Washita to the headwaters of Otter Creek. There they attacked and indiscriminately slew. Some Kiowa were decapitated, and their heads were placed in brass buckets. The Kiowa calender designated the tragedy as "summer that they cut off their heads." The Osage suffered no casualties and captured prisoners, horses, and the sacred tai-me that the Kiowa used to conduct their sun dance. For failing to defend his people, A'date was replaced as chief by Dohasan.

Kiowa-Osage relations improved after a Kiowa girl who was seized during the battle was reunited with her tribe by the Dodge-Leavenworth Expedition in 1834. The Osage returned the Kiowa tai-me in 1835, and the United States negotiated a lasting peace between the tribes in 1837.

Jon D. May


Brad Agnew, Fort Gibson, Terminal on the Trail of Tears (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).

John Joseph Mathews, The Osages: Children of the Middle Waters (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961).

James Mooney, Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians, Seventeenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Part 1 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1898).

Wilbur S. Nye, Carbine and Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill (3d ed., rev; Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Jon D. May, “Cutthroat Gap, Battle of,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=CU012.

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