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The name Nebraska comes from an Oto Indian word meaning "flat water".
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... and from Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America. 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.
Arapaho, Arikara, Cheyenne, Comanche, Dakota, Flandreau, Sioux, Fox, Iowa, Kansa or Kaw, Kansas, Kiowa, Oneida, Missouri, Omaha, Oto, Pawnee, Ponca, Santee-Sioux, Sac (also spelled Sauk), Sioux, Stockbridge-Munsee, Tonkawa, Winnebago
Many of the reservations in Washington are small, with one agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs having responsibilities for the tribes residing on several reservations. Most of the records kept by the federal government about the tribes will be found in the appropriate agency.
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.
The following list of reservations has been compiled from the National Atlas of the United States of America, the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America, 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.
- Iowa 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
- 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.
Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Agencies were created as an administrative division of the federal government 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.
- Council Bluffs Agency
- Flandreau Agency
- Great Nemaha Agency
- Omaha Agency 1856-1876
- Otoe Agency
- Pawnee Agency
- Ponca Agency
- Red Cloud Agency 1873-77
- Rosebud Agency -- actually located in South Dakota, but marginally associated with Nebraska
- Santee Agency
- Santee Sioux Agency
- Spotted Tail Agency -- actually located in South Dakota, but marginally associated with Nebraska
- Upper Missouri Agency
- Upper Platte Agency
- Winnebago Agency, Winnebago, NE 68071
- Yankton Agency
- Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc., 1974 (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o)
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...)
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 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
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
Many Indian records have been microfilmed and copies are housed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. To find American Indian records in the Family History Library Catalog look in the Subject Search under the name of the tribe, such as:
You can also look in the Locality Search under:
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.
Nebraska History for calendar of events
Nebraska Military for a list of forts
- ↑ Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907. Available online.
- ↑ Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
- ↑ National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations 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.
- "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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