Origins of "Kia Kima"

Kia Kima originates in the Zuni language and is alternatively spelled Kiakima, KyakimaKyaki:ma, Kia-kima, K'iakima, Ki-a-kime, Kyakkima, or K'iakima. The most common spellings in modern works are Kiakima and Kyaki:ma. The common pronunciation in the Zuni language is K’yäˊkima and translated as home of the eagles

Kiakima was an ancestral Zuni village or pueblo at the southwest base of Dowa Yalanne, a mesa outside of Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, on the Zuni Indian Reservation. Dowa Yalanne is translated as Corn Mountain, but the mesa has also been called Thunder Mountain due to its role in Zuni mythology as the "House of the Gods and the making of rain, lightning, and thunder." The Spaniards called the mesa Peñol de Caquima, which was the Spanish attempt at spelling Kiakima. Kiakima was one of the rumored Seven Cities of Cibola or the Seven Cities of Gold of which the Spanish conquistadors heard rumors. The Seven Cities of Cibola included Hawikuh, Halona, Matsaki, Quivira, Kiakima, Cibola, and Kwakina. It is estimated that Kiakima was occupied from about 1400 A.D. to the mid-17th century. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (Federeck Webb Hodge ed., 1911) states that Kiakima was permanently abandoned during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 when the inhabitants fled up Dowa Yalanne for safety from the Spaniards.

Kyaki:ma is on a small hill that forms part of the lowest bench on the southern edge of Dowa Yalanne. The site is located on the east side of a spectacular re-entrant that drains the entire top of Dowa Yalanne. A major spring is located west of Kyaki:ma, and in the nineteenth century a small stream issued from this spring. Kyaki:ma overlooks the alluvial valley bottom of Galestina Wash. 

(Thomas John Ferguson, Historic Zuni Architecture and Society: An Archaeological Application of Space Syntax (1996) at 45.)

T.J. Ferguson, a scholar on Zuni archaeology, describes Kiakima's architecture as being "four irregularly shaped room blocks arranged around two plazas" and estimates approximately 834 rooms with a population of 1,085 persons.

Kiakima remains as mostly rubble with several large stones still standing. See Thomas John Ferguson, Historic Zuni Architecture and Society: An Archaeological Application of Space Syntax (1996) at 45-47.

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1918 Kia Kima Leaders Guide

1918 Leaders Guide

In relation to the Chickasaw Council, the earliest documented use of the name Kia Kima is in an article published on June 24, 1917, in the Daily Arkansas Gazette. The article begins, "Memphis Boy Scouts arrived in Hardy this week, and went into camp at Camp Kiakima, where they will remain until September." Several other newspaper articles and the 1918 Leader's Guide all use the spelling Camp Kiakima. The 1918 Leader's Guide spells it as "Camp" on the cover, but the same document uses the Kamp spelling elsewhere. By 1919, the spelling Kia Kima was in use as two separate words.

The first documented translation of the name is in the 1929 Leader's Guide: "On Saturday, June 15th, the first camp fire will be lighted and for ten weeks following[,] 'Eagles Nest' will afford the opportunity of living close to Nature in one of the finest Scout Camps in America."

The name Kamp Kia Kima and the accompanying initials were used until the fall of 1976 when the name Kia Kima Scout Reservation was adopted. The Scout Reservation designation followed the national trend reflecting that Kia Kima had multiple sub-camps (Camp Osage and Camp Cherokee) within one property.

Origins of "Kia Kima"