Kaáⁿze Íe


A Siouan Language

Kanza (also known as Kaw, Kansa, Konze, or Kansas), along with Quapaw, Omaha, Ponca, and Osage, is a Dhegiha Siouan (pronounced they-GEE-hah SOO-un) language. This branch of five is a member of a larger group called Mississippi Valley Siouan, which also includes Dakotan (Lakota, Dakota, and Nakoda), Winnebago (Ho Chunk), and Chiwere (Ioway, Otoe, and Missouria). In turn, the Mississippi Valley languages are part of a much larger family simply called The Siouan Language Family. This is a big family known today to consist of more than 20 related languages, all of which presumably came from a prehistoric language that scientists call Proto-Siouan. 

A Dhegia Language

The Dhegiha languages are very similar in terms of their vocabularies and their grammars. In fact, some have said that they are merely dialects of the same language. Nevertheless, there are degrees of relatedness within this small branch. Kanza is most similar to Osage. It’s a little less similar to Omaha and Ponca (which are very close indeed), and fairly removed from Quapaw. You can witness some of the similarities and differences for yourself by comparing a few words in the chart at right. Some say that a speaker of Omaha can freely understand someone speaking Ponca, and vice versa. The same was once said of Kanza and Osage, too. Dhegiha cultures are clearly related to one another, as well. In the traditional period, the Dhegiha tribes shared many of the same kinship patterns, mourning and war customs, and dances.

Kanza Language

Educational Resources

The following is a compiled list of online courses and downloadable documents regarding Kanza Language education and preservation.

Kanza Learning Site

The Kaw Nation headquarters for our youth language powwow, youth language fair, and online language classes.

Basic Kanza Language Course

This is an eight chapter course designed to teach the basics of the Kanza Language.

Kanza Practical Vocabulary

This document contains approximately eight hundred of the most common words used in ordinary conversations.

Kanza Kinship

This document contains phrases used when referring to bloodline family members per Lewis Henry Morgan

Compiled Prayers

This document contains a complied list of eight different Kanza prayers

Kanza Verbs

This will help us better understand how verbs are used in the Kanza Language

Camping With Kanza

This document incorporates Kanza Langauge lessons into family camping activities.

Get In Touch

Language Director: Desiree Storm Brave

Email: languagedir@kawnation.gov

Phone Number: (580) 269-2739