Native Americans in Nebraska

Learn more about Native Americans in Nebraska by following the thousands of years of their history covered by these markers.

Republican Pawnee Village

Near here was a large permanent village of the Republican band of the Pawnee tribe which may have been occupied as early as 1777. On September 25, 1806, Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike visited the village with a small party of soldiers. He was greeted by…

Indian Treaty Monument

Erected 1933 to commemorate the treaty made with the Pawnee Tribe at Rocky Ford on North Table Creek, 1000 feet east of this site, establishing permanent friendly relations with the Pawnee Indians and insuring safety, prosperity and happiness to the…

Battle of Blue Water

On September 3, 1855, the U.S. Army's 600-man Sioux Expedition, commanded by Col. William S. Harney, attacked and destroyed a Lakota village located three miles north on Blue Creek. The fight became known as the Battle of Blue Water, sometimes…

Conflict of 1867

Near here are graves of pioneer whites caught up in the conflict between native Americans and white settlers. On July 24, 1867, Indians attacked the home of Peter Campbell near here. Campbell and his eldest son were helping a neighbor with his…

The Pebble Creek Fight

In 1872-73 white settlers were moving into the North Loup Valley. Their presence sparked occasional conflicts with Lakota Sioux wandering down from the north to hunt or raid the Pawnee Reservation near Genoa. On January 18, 1874, Sioux passing…

Winnebago Scouts

In 1863, the Winnebago Indians were moved from their home in Minnesota to a barren reservation in Dakota Territory. Groups of Winnebago soon moved down the Missouri River to the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska. In March, 1865, the Winnebago used their…

Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital

This hospital is named in honor of the first Native American woman physician. Dr. Picotte (1865-1915) was the daughter of Mary Gale and Iron Eye, also known as Joseph La Flesche, the last traditionally recognized chief of the Omaha tribe. She was…

Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital

This hospital was built in 1912 under the guidance of Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American woman physician, with the financial support of the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions and other donors. It served both Native American and…

Omaha Tribe

This was the homeland of the Omaha Tribe long before white settlers came to the Great Plains. By 1750, the Omaha occupied a large region in northeastern Nebraska and northwestern Iowa. The name "Omaha" means "those going against the…

Standing Bear and the Ponca Tribe

In 1877 the Ponca Tribe and Chief Standing Bear were forced from their Nebraska homeland along the Niobrara River to an Oklahoma reservation. Hardships followed them during the more than 500-mile trek. Standing Bear’s daughter Prairie Flower died…

Pawnee Woman's Grave

The Republican Valley was the center of one of the major buffalo ranges of the Great Plains. It was a favorite hunting ground of several Indian tribes. Pawnee, Sioux, Oto and Cheyenne spent much time here as late as 1874. These tribal hunts, however,…

Half-Breed Tract

It was an accepted custom for many early fur traders to marry into Indian tribes. As the Indians ceded their lands, the rights of the half-breed descendants were not always identified. This situation was recognized by the government in 1830, by the…

The Ponca Tribe

This is homeland of the Ponca Indians who have lived in this area since earliest recorded history. In 1868, the federal government signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie which transferred the land to the Sioux without the permission of the Ponca. Treaties…

Butte Country

Perhaps no spot in Nebraska is so surrounded by historical and geographical landmarks as this one. Numerous landmarks of the period of the Indian Wars are visible from here. The site of a legendary battle between the Sioux and Crow Indians, Crow…

The Yutan Oto Indian Village

Spanish colonial correspondence from 1777 noting the presence of an Oto Indian village on the Platte likely refers to the Yutan site, named after the Chief Iatan. Yutan would have been the first Indian settlement seen by fur trappers and military…

Oto Mission

The mission established by Moses Merrill about three miles west of here was an early attempt to make Christianity a part of the daily lives of the Oto and Missouri Indians. Merrill reached Bellevue in 1833 and visited the Oto village in present…

Oto Indians

Prehistoric Indians were the earliest inhabitants of this area. By 1760, the Oto and part of the Missouri Tribe occupied an earth lodge village near here on the west bank of the Platte River, a short distance above the mouth of the Elkhorn. Spanish…

Chief Standing Bear

The land around the mouth of the Niobrara in northeastern Nebraska is the homeland of the Ponca Tribe. In 1868 the federal government signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie that transferred this land to the Sioux. The Poncas were forcibly removed to…

Before Creighton

Archaeological evidence shows periodic Native American residence in this general area for some 12,000 years. From the mid-1600s to the early 1700s the Omaha, Ponca, Oto, and Ioway migrated from the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes to today's…

Logan Fontenelle

Logan Fontenelle, an interpreter and Omaha chief, was born at Bellevue in May, 1825. His father was Lucien Fontenelle, a noted fur trader both on the lower Missouri River and near Fort Laramie, Wyoming. His mother was a daughter of Big Elk, noted…

Pawnee

This was Pawnee Country, the last Nebraska home of an Indian Confederacy which once numbered more than 10,000, consisting of four tribes -- Skidi, Grand, Republican and Tapage. Their domain covered a large part of Central Nebraska where they lived in…

The Cheyenne Outbreak

On September 9, 1878, after a year of suffering on an Oklahoma reservation, some 300 Northern Cheyenne Indians began a trek back to their homeland. Dull Knife's band of 149 Indians were captured and taken to Fort Robinson. For months they…

Fighting in the Buttes

After escaping from Fort Robinson on January 9, 1879, the Cheyennes climbed the buttes to the south and fled through this area, pursued by Third Cavalrymen. Soldiers and Cheyennes fought sharp engagements west of here on January 11 and 13. The…

The Villasur Expedition, 1720

In June 1720 a Spanish military force led by Sir Pedro de Villasur left Santa Fe, New Mexico, to gather information on French activities near the Missouri River. The contingent included 45 veteran soldiers, 60 Pueblo Indian allies, some Apache…

Massacre Canyon

The adjacent stone monument erected in 1930 was first placed about a mile south of this area. Originally on the highway overlooking the canyon, it was moved to this location after the highway was relocated. Massacre Canyon is the large canyon about…

The Calamus Valley

The source of the Calamus River is spring-fed Moon Lake, 60 miles northwest of here. The river was named after a common marsh plant eaten by muskrats. Archeological evidence indicates that prehistoric Indians camped in the valley as early as 3,000…

The Flight of the Cheyennes

Just before 10 P.M. on January 9, 1879, the 130 Cheyennes held in the cavalry barracks made their desperate bid for freedom. After disabling the soldier guards, they fled across this ground to the White River beyond. Under heavy fire from pursuing…

Fort Robinson-Camp Sheridan-Pine Ridge Indian Agency Road

Following the 1874 establishment of military posts near the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies for the Oglala and Brule Sioux, the army laid out a forty-two-mile road to transport military and Indian supplies between the agencies and posts. Oglala…

Red Cloud Agency

Red Cloud Agency was established here in 1873 for Chief Red Cloud and his Ogalala band, as well as for other northern plains Indians, totaling nearly 13,000. Their earlier agency had been located on the North Platte near Fort Laramie. The agencies…

The Oto and Missouri Agency

After 1854 the Oto and Missouri Indian village and agency were located near here. For many years the two tribes had been living along the lower portion of the Platte River, but when Nebraska became a territory they relinquished all claims to those…

Camp Sheridan and Spotted Tail Agency

About ten miles north are the sites of Spotted Tail Agency and Camp Sheridan. Named for Brule Sioux Chief Spotted Tail, the agency was built in 1874 to supply treaty payments, including food, clothing, weapons, and utensils, under the terms of the…

The Tobin Indian Raid

Railroads played an important role in the settlement of the Great Plains. Their construction was particularly damaging to the Indian way of life, since railroads helped the military to patrol rapidly along their lines, and villages and farming…

Ponca Trail of Tears - White Buffalo Girl

A marker, 200 feet to the south, recalls the death of White Buffalo Girl of the Ponca tribe. The death of this child, daughter of Black Elk and Moon Hawk, symbolizes the tragic 1877 removal of the Ponca from their homeland on the Niobrara River to…

The Logan Creek Site

Logan Creek was named for Logan Fontenelle, a chief of the Omaha tribe killed by Oglala Sioux in 1855. The first recorded settlers in this area were the Aaron Arlington family, 1857, who settled at the site of present Oakland, and John Oak, 1863, for…

Nehawka Flint Quarries

Flint nodules embedded within subsurface Pennsylvanian Formation limestone deposits in this vicinity were an important source of stone used for the manufacture of tools and weapons by Nebraska’s prehistoric inhabitants. Several intact quarry pits…

Prehistoric Burial Site

From 1050 - 1400 the lower Platte and Missouri River valleys were home to prehistoric Indian farmers. These people lived in small villages and isolated farmsteads, cultivated corn and beans, and hunted game. The Indians built square-shaped houses…

Nebraska's Earliest Documented Burial

A distinct group of prehistoric hunter-gatherers known to archeologists as the Oxbow Complex once occupied the northern High Plains from western Nebraska to southern Canada. About 2500 B.C. a band of Oxbow people interred two of their own near here.…
Recommended reading for the tour.

Awakuni-Swetland, Mark J., “Omahas,” in David J. Wishart, ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004, 586.

Barrett, Carole A., “Sioux Wars,” in David J. Wishart, ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004, 837.

Jackson, Donald. “Lewis and Clark among the Oto.” Nebraska History. September 1960: 237-248.

Jensen, Richard E. “Agent to the Oto: The Recollections of Albert Lamborn Green.” Nebraska History. Winter 1988: 169-181.

Moore, John H., “Cheyennes,” in David J. Wishart, ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004, 569.

Overton, Daniel W. “Spending the Indians’ Money: A Quantitative Case Study of Oto-Missouria Trust Fund Disbursements, 1855-1881.” Nebraska History. Summer 1993: 72-81.

Ridington, Robin. [http://omahatribe.unl.edu/etexts/oma.0021/index.html “A Sacred Object as Text: Reclaiming the Sacred Pole of the Omaha Tribe.”] American Indian Quarterly. Winter 1993: 83-99.

Ridington, Robin and Dennis Hastings. Blessing for a Long Time: The Sacred Pole of the Omaha Tribe. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1997.

Scherer, Mark R. Imperfect Victories: The Legal Tenacity of the Omaha Tribe, 1945-1995. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1999.

Starita, Joe. “Dull Knife,” in David J. Wishart, ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004, 572.

Wishart, David J. An Unspeakable Sadness: The Dispossession of the Nebraska Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1994.

Wishart, David J., “Otoe-Missourias” in David J. Wishart, ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004, 587-588.

Wishart, David J., “Pawnees” in David J. Wishart, ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004, 590-591.