The Wichita Indians

The Wichita Indians: People of the Grass House

by Susan A. Holland ~ photography by Mike Rooney


The Wichita Indians shared the Great Plains, in the central United States, with a variety of animals, including millions of bison, elk, and birds.

The Wichita built their homes of poles and prairie grass, which grew up to 12 feet tall. These unique, beehive-shaped grass houses were exclusive to the Wichita, housed extended families, and could last up to 14 years. Tools, fashioned from chert and bison bones, were used to construct homes and cultivate garden plots.


“It is Susan’s fondest hope, and mine as well, that this volume will serve not as an introduction to the archaeology of the Lower Walnut Settlement, but will pique the interest of readers to explore the rich history and ethnography of the Wichita peoples.”

-Marlin F. Hawley (Project Director on the Arkansas City, Kansas, project for the Kansas State Historical Society from 1991 to 1997. He co-authored two chapters in the final report and has numerous other publications associated to Kansas.)


This book contains so much information. – This author writes about the Wichita Indians from her experience as director for the Kansas State Historical Society’s field archaeology laboratory, based in Arkansas City, Kansas in the mid-1990s. This experience inspired her to research the ways of the Wichita Indians which she references. Pictures and illustrations support the information presented allowing the reader the enjoy this easy to read book. – ML


Susan, a native of Topeka, Kansas, received a degree in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff.

After pursuing a career in the west, southwest, and Hawaii, she returned to Kansas where she was employed by the Archeological Office of the Kansas State Historical Society on a field project at Arkansas City, Kansas. The excavation contained numerous Wichita Indian sites.

Susan was accustomed to seeing visible  remains of prehistoric features in other areas where she had worked. Wichita sites in Kansas were a different story. Perishable house remains had completely disappeared, and only hidden sub-surface cache pits remained. These pits proved to be a rich source of artifacts and information about the Wichita Indians.

Susan is the author of Symbolism of Petroglyphs and Pictographs near Mountainair, New Mexico, the Gateway to Ancient Cities and How a Boy Earned His Name.


For Mike, being reared on a farm outside of Topeka, Kansas, instilled a deep love of the outdoors and Mother Nature. With an Economics degree from Washburn University, Mike survived thirty-five years in the corporate world when he “retired” for his thirty-five year passion for photography.

Along the way Mike received some very nice recognitions. In 1997, Mike won an international contest hosted by Kodak that resulted in his photography hanging in the National Geographic “Hall of Fame” along with some of the most outstanding photography in the world. His work has also been published in several Kansas! calendars and magazine.


978-1-939054-41-8 (hardcover, gloss laminate)

978-1-939054-40-1 (softcover, perfect binding)

Trim Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″

Pages: 60

Interior: Color

The Wichita Indians

The Wichita Indians

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