History of Nebraska

Native Indian Tribe

Names of the Nebraska Indian Tribes

Nebraska is a state of the central United States in the Great Plains. There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Nebraska.

The names of the Nebraska tribes included the Cheyenne, Comanche, Chippewa, Delaware, Fox, Omaha, Fox, Kansas, Kiowa (see above picture), Missouri, Iowa Otoe, Sauk and the Pawnee.

Nebraska - Indian Territory
Indian Territory was a vast area of U.S. federal territory on the Great Plains reserved for Indians from the 1830s to the 1880s. In the 1870's the deliberate great slaughter of the northern bison herds began designed to prevent the Native Indians continuing the Great Plains lifestyle. Indian Territory eventually became the states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. By 1907, when Oklahoma was admitted as a state, Indian Territory ceased to exist.

Fast Facts about the History of Nebraska Indians
The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Nebraska resulted in the adoption of the Great Plains Indians culture.

  • Name of State: Nebraska
  • Meaning of State name: From an Otoe word meaning “Broad Water.”
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Nebraska: Great Plains and hill country
  • Culture adopted by Nebraska Indians: Great Plains Cultural Group
  • Languages: Due to the number of migrant tribes in this area people spoke a variety of languages including Siouan, Algonquian, Caddoan, Uto-Aztecan and Athabaskan
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Nomadic Hunters and farmers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Tepees were used by the nomadic hunters. The semi-nomadic tribes used tepees but also maintained permanent earth lodge villages situated along rivers, others built houses of grass. The farmers used Earth lodges

History Timeline of the Nebraska Indians

  • 10,000 B.C. : Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison
  • 9000 BC: Clovis Culture (named after artefacts found at Clovis, New Mexico. These people used a distinctive type of fluted arrow point
  • 7500 BC: Folsom Culture (named after artefacts found at Folsom, New Mexico. These people used flint arrow point in the shape of a leaf)
  • 7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools
  • 1541: Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (1510-1554) explores the area
  • 1682: René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687) explores the area
  • 1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.
  • 1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence
  • 1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land
  • 1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence
  • 1830: Indian Removal Act
  • 1830: Traders took the first wagons to the Rocky Mountains - the Oregon Trail
  • 1832: Department of Indian Affairs established
  • 1834: The First Dragoon Expedition of 1834 (also called the Dodge-Leavenworth Expedition or Pawnee expedition) was the first official contact between the US government and the Plains Indians including the Pawnee and Comanche
  • 1855: The Battle of Ash Hollow fought between the Sioux and whites
  • 1859: The Pawnees clashed with settlers, and troops were sent to subdue them
  • 1858: 1858-1859 - Wichita expedition in Indian Territory
  • 1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.
  • 1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers
  • 1863: 1863-1869 War against the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa and Comanche Indians in Kansas, Nebraska (Territory), Colorado (Territory) and Oklahoma Indian Territory
  • 1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy
  • 1870's: The deliberate great slaughter of the northern bison herds to prevent the Native Indians continuing the Great Plains lifestyle
  • 1874: Sioux expedition, Wyoming (Territory) and Nebraska
  • 1874: 1874-1875 - Campaign against Kiowa, Cheyenne and Comanche Indians in Indian Territory
  • 1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers
  • 1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.
  • 1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History of Nebraska Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Nebraska had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Nebraska Indians.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

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