Tonkawa Tribal Profile

Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma


Federal Reservation


Tribal Seal


Tonkawa Tribe

Kay County, Oklahoma


Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma

1 Rush Buffalo Road

Tonkawa, Oklahoma 74653

(580) 628-2561

Fax: (580) 628-3375




Total Area

1,232.57 acres



Federal Trust

994.33 acres

Tribally owned

994.33 acres


238.24 acres



High School Graduate or Higher


Bachelor’s Degree


Unemployment Rate


Per capita income

$ 5,556



Total Reservation Population (BIA)


Tribal enrollment (BIA)


   The Tonkawa Tribal Reserve is located in Kay County, in Northern Oklahoma. Tribal headquarters are situated on the west bank of the Chikaskia River, about 2.5 miles southeast of the town of Tonkawa. Ponca City lies just 12 miles east via U.S. 60. Oklahoma City is approximately 100 miles due south. The tribal reserve consists of 994.33 acres of federal trust land. These trust lands are supplemented by 238.24 acres in individual allotments.
   Ft. Oakland, on the original Tonkawa Reserve, was occupied by Chief Joseph’s Nez Perce from 1878 to 1885. In 1885 the Tonkawa were assigned 91,000 acres of land within this reservation. These lands were allotted, and the remainder opened for white settlement.
   The Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma is descended from the Tonkawan - speaking people of central Texas. Inhabiting a cultural convergence zone, the Tonkawa blended with the Caddoan culture to the east, the plains culture to the north, and the Coahuiltecan culture of northern Mexico. The tribe was first mentioned in 1691 by Spanish explorers; contact was also made with the French in 1719. During the mid-19th century, white settlers pressure for Tonkawa Lands spurred the federal government to settle the tribe on two small reservations in Texas. In 1859, the Tonkawas were removed to Indian Territory near present-day Anadarko. In 1862, seven agency tribes banded together and raided the
Tonkawas, and the remaining members fled to Fort Griffin, Texas, remaining there until 1884. That year, the federal government relocated the tribe temporarily to the Sac-Fox agency and then in the spring of 1885 to Fort Oakland in Indian Territory, previously inhabited by Chief Joseph*s band of exiled Nez Perce. In 1891, the Tonkawa Reserve was allotted to 73 members. The Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma incorporated in 1938.
   The Tonkawa Tribe aims to increase economic opportunity for its members while earning revenues through a tribally owned gaming facility, as well as a smoke shop/convenience store/gas station facility.
   The Tribal Committee composed of a president, vice president and secretary/treasurer, serves as the elected governing body for enrolled tribal members. Committee members serve two-year terms, with elections occurring every other year.
   The Tonkawa Tribe is organized under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, having adopting a constitution and bylaws on April 21, 1938. This constitution was amended on April 2,1977 and on September 1, 1994.
   The tribe operates a Class II/III gaming facility managed by an independent tribal entity.
   In addition to tribally owned businesses, the tribe administers federally funded programs and services in education, job training, health and diabetes care, transportation, child care and others.
   Tonkawa Tribal headquarters are accessible from Ponca City, via U.S. 60. U.S. 77 connects Tonkawa with Blackwell, 12 miles north. Interstate 35 passes just three miles west of Tonkawa, connecting with Oklahoma City and beyond. Commercial and private air service is available in Ponca City, 12 miles east. Bus lines, truck lines and express package carriers also serve Ponca City.
   A community center is located at Fort Oakland on the tribal reserve near Tonkawa. Tribal members receive electricity and gas service from regional providers.
   Tribal members receive health care through the Pawnee Agency in Pawnee, approximately 30 miles southeast of the tribal reserve. Hospitals are also located in Ponca City. Children attend Kay County Public Schools.

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Mailing Address:
     Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma
     1 Rush Buffalo Road
     Tonkawa Ok, 74653
     (580) 628 - 2561
     (580) 628 - 3375