On October 11,1878 Kiowa chief Satanta committed suicide by jumping
out his prison window. Satanta was born around 1820, probably in what
is now Kansas or Oklahoma.
He first emerged as an orator at the Medicine
Lodge Treaty council in October 1867, where he came to be known as
the "Orator of the Plains," although that title may havebeen a
tongue-in-cheek reference to his long-winded speeches rather
than sincere praise for his speaking abilities.
In 1871 Satanta and his fellow chiefs Satank and Big Tree were arrested
for their partin the Warren wagontrain raid. Satank was killed while trying
The trial of Satanta and Big Tree at Jacksboro was a celebrated
event, primarily because it marked the first time Indian chiefs were forced
to stand trial in a civil court. The jury convicted the two men and
sentenced them to hang, but Texas governor E. J. Davis commuted the
sentences to life imprisonment.
Satanta was paroled in 1873, but was re-arrested for his role in the attack
on Lyman's wagontrain in Palo Duro canyon and in the second battle of
Adobe Walls. He was imprisoned in the Texas penitentiary in Hunstville
until 1878, when, demoralized over the prospect of spending the rest of
his life in confinement, he took his own life.