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United States Gotoarrow.png Nebraska Gotoarrow.png American Indian Research Gotoarrow.png Indians of Nebraska

The name Nebraska comes from an Oto Indian word meaning "flat water".

Contents

Tribes and Bands of Nebraska

The following list of American Indians who have lived in Nebraska has been compiled from Hodge's Handbook of American Indians...[1] and from Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America[2]. Some may simply be variant spellings for the same tribe.

Many of these tribes or bands lived in or had only minimal association with the area now known as Nebraska. Some of them are only mentioned in treaties as parties to the cession of land in Iowa to the federal government.

Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.

The following list of agencies that have operated or now exist in Nebraska has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[3], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[4], and others.

Indian Schools

The Office of Indian Affairs (now the Bureau of Indian Affairs) established a network of schools throughout the United States, beginning with Carlisle Indian School, established in 1879. Some of these schools were day schools, usually focusing on Indian children of a single tribe or reservation. Some were boarding schools which served Indian children from a number of tribes and reservations.

In addition, other groups such as various church denominations established schools specifically focusing on American Indian children. (read more...)

The following list of Indian Schools in Nebraska has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[5], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[6], and others.

Half-Breed Tract

In the early 1800s, a tract of land was set aside by the federal government in Nebraska for the descendants of French fur trappers and other Europeans who had inter-married with Native Americans. These individuals were called "half-breeds." Thus the tract of land came to be known as the "Half-Breed Tract." Similar tracts were established in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Another similar tract was reserved in Nemaha County for "half-breeds" of the Oto, Omaha, and Iowa Tribes and for the Yankton and Santee Bands of the Sioux Tribe. The tract was on land belonging to the Otoes and the other tribes paid them for the right to give their descendants land there.

Records

Records of the Indian Tribes of Nebraska may be found in the National Archives or in the Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Family History Library

Many Indian records have been microfilmed and copies are housed at the Family History Library catalog. Examples include:

  • Central Superintendency of Indian Affairs M856- 108 films Family History Library 1st film 1602893
  • Dakota Superintendency 1861-1970 & 1877-1878 13 films: M1016 1st  Family History Library film 1549631

Reservations

From the mid-1800s, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.

Sometimes, a single agency had jurisdiction over more than one reservation. And sometimes, if the tribal population and land area required it, an agency may have included sub-agencies.

The boundaries of reservations, over time, have changed. Usually, that means the reservations have been reduced in size. Sometimes, especially during the later policy of "termination," the official status of reservations was ended altogether.

For a current reservation map - Nebraska - Indian Reservations - The National Atlas of the United States of America. Federal Lands and Indian Reservations. by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Geological Survey.

The following list of reservations has been compiled from the National Atlas of the United States of America[7], the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America[8], and other sources. Those reservations named in bold are current federally-recognized reservations, with their associated agency and tribe(s). Others have historically been associated with the state or are not currently recognized by the federal government.

  • Niobrara Reservation:
  • Omaha Reservation: Federal, under jurisdiction of Winnebago Agency, Tribe: Omaha
  • Ponca Reservation:
  • Sac and Fox Reservation:
  • Santee Sioux Reservation: Federal, under jurisdiction of Winnebago Agency, Tribe: Santee Sioux
  • Sioux Reservation: for the Oglala Sioux
  • Winnebago Reservation: is a federal reservation, under the jurisdiction of the Winnebago Agency. The primary tribe is the Winnebago. The reservation is mostly located in Thurston County, Nebraska, with a small segment in Woodbury County, Iowa, just east of the Missouri River.

To find American Indian records in the Family History Library Catalog do a Subject Search and search for the name of the tribe, such as:

Searching the Family History Library Catalog

  • OMAHA INDIANS
  • WINNEBAGO INDIANS

You can also search by Locality:

  • NEBRASKA - NATIVE RACES
  • NEBRASKA, [COUNTY]- NATIVE RACES

To see a partial list of records the Family History Library has about Indians in Nebraska, click here.

See Also:

Nebraska History for calendar of events

Nebraska Military for a list of forts

References

  1. Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907. Available online.
  2. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
  3. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o.)
  4. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. (FHL book 970.1 H551g.)
  5. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o.)
  6. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. (FHL book 970.1 H551g.)
  7. National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations http://nationalatlas.gov/mld/indlanp.html
  8. Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.

Bibliography

  • "Accompanying Pamphlet for Microcopy 1011", National Archives Microfilm Publications, Appendix.
  • American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998.
  • Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981.
  • Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Publishing Company, Inc., 1974.
  • Historical Sketches for Jurisdictional and Subject Headings Used for the Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880. National Archives Microcopy T1105.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907. Available online.
  • Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.
  • National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations Available online.
  • Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Services. Available online
  • Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.

 

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