Native American tribes in Nebraska

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An 1852 illustration of a Winnebago family encampment. Winnebago wigwam.jpg
An 1852 illustration of a Winnebago family encampment.

Native American tribes in the U.S. state of Nebraska have been Plains Indians, descendants of succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples who have occupied the area for thousands of years. More than 15 historic tribes have been identified as having lived in, hunted in, or otherwise occupied territory within the current state boundaries. [1]

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Nebraska State of the United States of America

Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. It is the only triply landlocked U.S. state.

Plains Indians Native Americans/First Nations peoples of the Great Plains of North America.

Plains Indians, Interior Plains Indians or Indigenous people of the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies are the Native American tribes and First Nation band governments who have traditionally lived on the greater Interior Plains in North America. Their historic nomadic culture and development of equestrian culture and resistance to domination by the government and military forces of Canada and the United States have made the Plains Indian culture groups an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.

Contents

The 19th-century history of the state included the establishment of eight Indian reservations, including a half-breed tract. Today six tribes have reservations in Nebraska. In 2006 American Indian and Alaska Native persons comprised one percent of the state's population. [2] Towns at the northern border also have relations with on reservations within South Dakota.

A Half-Breed Tract was a segment of land designated in the western states by the United States government in the 19th century specifically for Métis of American Indian and European or European-American ancestry, at the time commonly known as half-breeds. The government set aside such tracts in several parts of the Midwestern prairie region, including in Iowa Territory, Nebraska Territory, Kansas Territory, Minnesota Territory, and Wisconsin Territory.

Tribes

Tribal territory of several tribes in Nebraska Pawnee01.png
Tribal territory of several tribes in Nebraska
This section from the Lewis and Clark map of 1804 shows period Indian villages in southwest Iowa, southeast Nebraska, and northwest Missouri. The Otoe, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas tribes are specifically identified. Nodaway-lewis.jpg
This section from the Lewis and Clark map of 1804 shows period Indian villages in southwest Iowa, southeast Nebraska, and northwest Missouri. The Otoe, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas tribes are specifically identified.

Several language groups were represented by the American Indians in present-day Nebraska. The Algonquian-speaking Arapaho lived for more than a thousand years throughout the western part of Nebraska. [3] In a prehistoric period; Nebraska was home to the Arikara, who spoke a Caddoan language, as did the Pawnee; after 1823 they returned from present-day North Dakota to live with the Skidi Pawnee for two years. [4] The Kiowa once occupied western Nebraska. [5] The eastern range of the Algonquian-speaking Cheyenne included western Nebraska, after the Comanche who had formerly lived in the territory had moved south toward Texas. [6]

Algonquian languages subfamily of Native American languages

The Algonquian languages are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the indigenous Ojibwe language (Chippewa), which is a senior member of the Algonquian language family. The term "Algonquin" has been suggested to derive from the Maliseet word elakómkwik, "they are our relatives/allies". A number of Algonquian languages, like many other Native American languages, are now extinct.

Arapaho Native American tribe

The Arapaho are a tribe of Native Americans historically living on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely aligned with the Lakota and Dakota.

Arikara ethnic group

Arikara, also known as Sahnish, Arikaree or Hundi, are a tribe of Native Americans in North Dakota. Today, they are enrolled with the Mandan and the Hidatsa as the federally recognized tribe known as the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.

The Great Sioux Nation, including the Ihanktowan-Ihanktowana and the Lakota located to the north and west, used Nebraska as a hunting and skirmish ground, although they did not have any long-term settlements in the state. [7] [8]

Great Sioux Nation

The Great Sioux Nation was the political structure of the Sioux in North America at the time of their contact with Europeans and Euro-Americans. Most of the peoples speaking a Siouan language were members of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ or Seven Council Fires. The seven members are sometimes grouped into three regional/dialect groups, but these mid-level identities were not politically institutionalized. The seven smaller groups were separate members of one confederacy.

Lakota people Indigenous people of the Great Plains

The Lakota are a Native American tribe. Also known as the Teton Sioux, they are one of the three Sioux tribes of Plains. Their current lands are in North and South Dakota. They speak Lakȟótiyapi—the Lakota language, the westernmost of three closely related languages that belong to the Siouan language family.

The Omaha belong to the Siouan-language family of the Dhegihan branch, and have been located along the Missouri River in northeastern Nebraska since the late seventeenth century, after having migrated from eastern areas together with other tribes. Originally living along the Ohio and Wabash rivers to the east, the Omaha, along with the Dhegihan Ponca, moved into Nebraska in the 1670s. Other Siouan-Dheigihan tribes who moved west from the Ohio River about then were the Osage, Kansa and Quapaw, who settled to the southwestern part of the territory. At that point the Ponca split, and the Omaha settled on Bow Creek in present-day Cedar County. [9] Before 1700, the Iowa, a Siouan people whose language was Chiwere, moved from the Red Pipestone Quarry into Nebraska. [10]

Missouri River major river in the central United States, tributary of the Mississippi

The Missouri River is the longest river in North America. Rising in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, the Missouri flows east and south for 2,341 miles (3,767 km) before entering the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri. The river drains a sparsely populated, semi-arid watershed of more than 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 km2), which includes parts of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Although nominally considered a tributary of the Mississippi, the Missouri River above the confluence is much longer and carries a comparable volume of water. When combined with the lower Mississippi River, it forms the world's fourth longest river system.

Ohio River river in the midwestern United States

The Ohio River is a 981-mile (1,579 km) long river in the midwestern United States that flows southwesterly from western Pennsylvania south of Lake Erie to its mouth on the Mississippi River at the southern tip of Illinois. It is the second largest river by discharge volume in the United States and the largest tributary by volume of the north-south flowing Mississippi River that divides the eastern from western United States. The river flows through or along the border of six states, and its drainage basin includes parts of 15 states. Through its largest tributary, the Tennessee River, the basin includes several states of the southeastern U.S. It is the source of drinking water for three million people.

Wabash River tributary of the Ohio River in the United States of America

The Wabash River is a 503-mile-long (810 km) river in Ohio and Indiana, United States, that flows from the headwaters near the middle of Ohio's western border northwest then southwest across northern Indiana turning south along the Illinois border where the southern portion forms the Indiana-Illinois border before flowing into the Ohio River. It is the largest northern tributary of the Ohio River. From the dam near Huntington, Indiana, to its terminus at the Ohio River, the Wabash flows freely for 411 miles (661 km). Its watershed drains most of Indiana. The Tippecanoe River, White River, Embarras River and Little Wabash River are major tributaries. The river's name comes from an Illini Indian word meaning "water over white stones".

The Omaha separated from the Ponca at the mouth of White River in present-day South Dakota. The latter moved west into the Black Hills, but later they rejoined the Omaha. The Ponca settled at the Nemaha River while the Omaha became established to the south at Bow Creek.

South Dakota State of the United States of America

South Dakota is a U.S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States. As the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 187,200, is South Dakota's largest city.

Black Hills mountain range in South Dakota and Wyoming

The Black Hills are a small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, United States. Black Elk Peak, which rises to 7,244 feet (2,208 m), is the range's highest summit. The Black Hills encompass the Black Hills National Forest. The name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota Pahá Sápa. The hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance, as they were covered in trees.

Nemaha River basin

The Nemaha River basin includes the areas of the U.S. state of Nebraska below the Platte River basin that drain directly into the Missouri River. The major streams of the drainage include Weeping Water Creek, Muddy Creek, Little Nemaha River, and Big Nemaha River. The basin has a total area of approximately 2,800 square miles (7,300 km2), and includes much of southeastern Nebraska.

By the Treaty of 1854, the Omaha ceded most of their land to the United States. They moved to a reservation within two years and later shared their land with the Winnebago. Also known by their autonym of Ho-Chunk, the latter moved to the reservation in 1862 after an uprising by the Lakota. The US government later granted land within the Omaha reservation boundaries to the Ho-Chunk, whose descendants still live there. [11]

In 1877 the United States forced the Ponca tribe to move south to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, although they had wanted to stay on a reservation in Nebraska. The failure of the government to support the people adequately after the removal and poor conditions on the reservation led to many deaths. The US Army's detention of some Ponca leaders who returned to Nebraska was challenged in court and the case followed nationally by many Americans. It resulted in the landmark civil rights case of Standing Bear v. Crook (1872), which established that American Indians shared in certain rights under the constitution. Following the court case, the US assigned the tribe some land in Nebraska. Today the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska live in Knox County; another part of the people live on their federally recognized reservation in Oklahoma.

The Missouri lived south of the Platte River and, along with the Otoe, met with the Lewis and Clark Expedition at the Council Bluff. Like the Iowa, both tribes are part of the Chiwere branch of the Siouan-language family. [12] In 1804 the Otoe had a town on the south side of the Platte River not far from its mouth on the Missouri. On March 3, 1881 the tribe sold all of their land in Nebraska to the federal government and moved to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

In 1830 the Fox Meskwaki and the Sauk, distinct Algonquian-speaking tribes that were closely related, ceded a great deal of land in Nebraska to the United States. [13] Today the tribes are federally recognized together.

The Pawnee, which included four tribes, lived in villages along the Platte River. In the mid-nineteenth century, they ceded all of their lands in Nebraska to the United States except one reservation; in 1876 they surrendered this tract and moved to Indian Territory. The battle of Massacre Canyon on August 5, 1873, was the last major battle between the Pawnee and the Sioux. About 70 Pawnee were killed, mostly women and children. [14]

Loss of land

Between 1857 and 1862 tribes gave up, or ceded, land for sale in Nebraska in five separate treaties with the U.S. government in the years immediately leading up to the passage of the Homestead Act. [15] In 1854 Logan Fontenelle was chief and also translated the negotiations that led the Omaha to the first of five cessions of their lands to the United States. During the same negotiations, the tribe agreed to move to their present reservation to the north in Thurston County. [16] The Otoe and Missouri tribes negotiated the last of four treaties that same year, and the Pawnee, Arapaho and Cheyenne all signed treaties within a few years. [17]

In the 1870s the Nebraska Legislature petitioned the U.S. Congress for the extinction of the original holders' land rights in the state by drafting the following statement:

Whereas, the Indians now on special reservations in Nebraska hold and occupy valuable and important tracts of land, which while occupied will not be developed and improved; and Whereas the demand for lands which will be improved and made useful, are such that these Indian lands should no longer be held, but should be allowed to pass into the hands of enterprising and industrious citizens;...

[W]e urge upon our delegation in Congress to secure the removal of all Indians now on special reservations in Nebraska to other... localities, where their presence will not retard settlements by the whites. [18]

Tribes and treaties

There are 18 separate treaties between American Indian tribes and the U.S. government for land in Nebraska which were negotiated between 1825 and 1892. By the 1850s the Pawnee, Omaha, Oto-Missouri, Ponca, Lakota, and Cheyenne were the main Great Plains tribes living in the Nebraska Territory. [19]

U.S. government treaties with American Indian tribes for land in Nebraska. [17]
TribeYearNotes
Kansas1825Ceded much of severe southeast Nebraska.
Oto1830The severe southeastern corner of Nebraska.
Oto1833Southeast Nebraska, near the mouth of the Platte, included land where the Moses Merill Mission was located.
Pawnee1833South-central Nebraska.
Pawnee1848A small tract along the Platte River in central Nebraska.
Omaha1854Almost all of east-central and northeast Nebraska.
Oto and Missouri1854East-central Nebraska immediately south of the Platte River.
Pawnee1857All of north-central Nebraska between the Platte River and the South Dakota border.
Arapaho and Cheyenne1861All of southwestern and some of west-central Nebraska south of the North Platte River.
Omaha1865A small parcel of land compromising 1/4 of their reservation.
Lakota1875All of west-central Nebraska north of the North Platte River.
Pawnee1875A small tract north of the Platte River that included the land that became the Genoa Indian Industrial School.
Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho1876All of severe northwestern Nebraska.
Omaha1882Two parcels of land in two treaties comprising 1/2 of their reservation lands, including land for the Winnebago reservation.
Lakota1892Ceded a parcel of land including Pine Ridge, Nebraska.

Federal recognition

Today the United States government recognizes several tribes in Nebraska. They include the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, the Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska, the Santee Sioux Tribe of the Santee Reservation of Nebraska, and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. [20]

Reservations

Indian reservations in Nebraska currently include land of the Ioway, Santee Sioux, Omaha, Sac and Fox, Winnebago, and Ponca. The Omaha ceded their Boone County to the U.S. government in 1854. The Pawnee gave up their Boone County lands in 1857. Nance County was a Pawnee reservation until 1875 when harassment by the whites and Sioux helped convinced the Pawnee to relocate to Oklahoma. [21] The Oto, Omaha, and Ioway ceded much of their land to the U.S. government in 1854, agreeing to settle on reservations in eastern Nebraska. That year the Nebraska Territory was organized and opened to settlement. [22]

Indian reservations in Nebraska. [23]
Reservation nameTribeEstablishedSizeHistoryNotes
Niobrara Reservation Santee Sioux 186341,000 acres (17,000 ha)Established by Act of March 3, 1863 (12  Stat.   819); treaty of April 29, 1868 (15  Stat.   637); Executive orders, February 27, 1866, November 16, 1867, August 31, 1869, December 31, 1873, and February 9, 1885. 32,875.75 acres (133.0434 km2) were selected as homesteads, 38,908.01 acres (157.4551 km2) as allotments, find 1,130.70 acres (4.5758 km2) for Indian agency, school, and mission purposes; unratified agreement of October 17, 1882.The tribal offices are located in Niobrara, with reservation lands in Knox County. [24]
Omaha Reservation Omaha185412,421 acres (5,027 ha)Established by Treaty of March 16, 1854 (10  Stat.   1043); selection by Indians with the President's approval, May 11, 1855; treaty of March 6, 1865 (14  Stat.   667); act of June 10, 1872 (17  Stat.   391); act of June 22, 1874 (18  Stat.   170); deed to the Winnebago, dated July 31, 1874: act of August 7, 1882 (22  Stat.   341): act of March 3, 1893 (27  Stat.   612); 129,470 acres (523.9 km2) allotted to 1,577 Indians; the residue, 12,421 acres (50.27 km2), unallotted.The reservation is located mostly in Thurston County, with sections in Cuming County and Burt County. [25] The tribal council offices are in Macy, [26] with the towns of Rosalie, Thurston, Pender and Walthill located in reservation boundaries.
Ogallala Sioux reservation Ogallala Sioux1882640 acres (260 ha)Established by Executive order on January 24, 1882 and sold to the U.S. government in 1899.
Oto Reservation Oto 1834160,000 acres (65,000 ha)Located near the Platte River in eastern Nebraska, the reservation was the site of the Moses Merrill Mission. It was completely sold to the U.S. government by 1884.
Pawnee Reservation Pawnee 183319,200 acres (7,800 ha)The Pawnee sold all of their land to the U.S. government by 1870.Located along the Loup River.
Ponca Reservation Ponca185827,500 acres (11,100 ha)Established by Treaty of March 12, 1858 (12  Stat.   997), and supplemental treaty March 10, 1865 (14  Stat.   675); act of March 2, 1899 (25  Stat.   892). 27,202.08 acres (110.0829 km2) were allotted to 167 Indians, and 160 acres (0.65 km2) reserved and occupied by agency and school buildings.The tribal council offices are located in Niobrara. [27] This is also the location of the historic Ponca Fort called Nanza.
Sac and Fox Reservation Sac and Fox 15,129 acres (6,122 ha)Located in southeastern Richardson County, Nebraska and northeastern Brown County, Kansas
Winnebago Reservation Winnebago18631,711 acres (692 ha)Established by Act of February 21, 1863 (12  Stat.   658): treaty of March 8, 1865 (14  Stat.   671): act of June 22, 1874 (18  Stat.   170); deed from the Omaha, dated July 31, 1874 (Indian Deeds, VI, 215). 106,040.82 acres (429.1320 km2) were allotted to 1,200 Indians; 480 acres (1.9 km2) reserved for agency, etc.; the residue, 1,710.80 acres (6.9234 km2), unallotted.The tribal council offices are located in the town of Winnebago. [28] The city of Emerson, south of First Street, as well as Thurston, is located on the reservation, as well. The reservation occupies northern Thurston County, Nebraska, as well as southeastern Dixon County and Woodbury County, Iowa, and a small plot of off-reservation land of southern Craig Township in Burt County, Nebraska.

Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation

The Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation was located between the Great and Little Nemaha rivers in Nemaha County. Because the Omaha and some other tribes had patrilineal systems, mixed-race children with white fathers had no place in the tribe; they were considered white. When it came to land allocation, they could not take part. At the same time, many frontier societies were prejudiced against such mixed-race people. The tribes asked the federal government to allot land to their mixed-race descendants, so they would be provided for. On September 10, 1860, Louis Neal received the first patent to own land there. Owners were never required to live on their property. After many sold their lands to whites, the formal designation of the reservation was eliminated in 1861. Descendants of mixed-blood pioneers still live in the area. [29] [30] The town of Barada is named in honor of Antoine Barada, an early settler who became a folk hero. [31]

Taxation

Generally, no Nebraska state taxes are imposed on an American Indian living on an Indian reservation located within the state of Nebraska. A Nebraska State Tax Exemption Identification Card and number will be issued by the Nebraska Department of Revenue, upon request to any "reservation Indian". A reservation Indian registering a motor vehicle at a location within the boundaries of an Indian reservation in Nebraska is exempt from the state motor vehicle tax but is not exempt from license and registration fees. [32]

Tribal administration

The Omaha Tribal Council office is located in Macy, with the Winnebago Tribal Council in nearby Winnebago. The offices of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and the Santee Sioux Tribal Council offices are in Niobrara. The Bureau of Indian Affairs office serving Nebraska is located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, while the Winnebago Agency office serves the Omaha and Winnebago. [33]

Contemporary issues

See also

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Cherokee Commission

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The fourth Treaty of Prairie du Chien was negotiated between the United States and the Sac and Fox, the Mdewakanton, Wahpekute, Wahpeton and Sisiton Sioux, Omaha, Ioway, Otoe and Missouria tribes. The treaty was signed on July 15, 1830, with William Clark and Willoughby Morgan representing the United States. Through additional negotiations conducted in St. Louis on October 13, 1830, Yankton Sioux and Santee Sioux agreed to abide by the 1830 Treaty of Prairie du Chien. The US government announced the treaty and its numerous adherents on February 24, 1831.

References

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