Tribal territory of the Otoe
Otoe-Missouria Tribe Seal
are a Native American
people. The Otoe language, Chiwere
closely related to that of the Iowa
were once part of the Siouan tribes
of the Great
Lakes region, commonly known as the Winnebago.
At some point, a large group
separated themselves and began to migrate to the South and West.
This group eventually split into at least three distinct tribes:
, the Missouria
and the Otoe, who finally settled
in the lower Nemaha
Valley. Following the Louisiana Purchase, the Otoe were the
first tribe encountered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition,
meeting at a place that would become known as Council Bluffs. As the Pawnee did, they
periodically left their villages to hunt on the Great Plains for buffalo. Between 1817 and 1841, the Otoe lived
around the mouth of the Platte River in
Nebraska, and during
this time the remaining families of the Missouria rejoined them.
The tribe was
noted in the 1830s to have extreme problems with alcohol
sometimes making themselves destitute by trading vital supplies for
alcohol. As their dependance on alcohol grew, they became so
drunken they longer went on hunts for themselves, but resorted to
looting vacant Pawnee villages while the Pawnee were out hunting.
Christian missionaries built a
there. The vast majority of the Otoe-Missouria
lands, lying south from the Platte River in eastern Nebraska, were
ceded to the U.S. by treaty in
1854, leaving them with a
reservation along the Big Blue
River on the present Kansas-Nebraska border.
During the 1870s, the tribe split into two ideological factions.
The Coyote band favored an immediate move to Indian Territory,
where they believed they could perpetuate their traditional tribal
life outside the influence of the whites. The Quaker band favored
continuance on their present land, even if it meant selling the
western half of their current reservation back to the whites. By
the spring of 1880, about half of the tribe had left the
reservation and taken up residence with the Sac and fox
tribe in Indian Territory.
next year, in response to dwindling prospects of self-sufficiency
and continued pressure from white settlers, the federal agents
allowed the tribe to sell the Big Blue reservation, and the
Otoe-Missouria purchased a new reservation in the Cherokee Outlet
in the Indian Territory, in what is now Noble and Pawnee Counties, Oklahoma.
Otoe-Missouria Tribe of
Indians are a federally recognized tribe, based in Red Rock,
Meeting place of LewisClark and
- Page 200, The Pawnee Indians, by George Hyde, University of Oklahoma Press
(1988 first publication 1951, revised edition 1974), trade
paperback, 372 pages ISBN 0-8061-2094-0