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Native tribes - General divisions - The Dahcotah or Sioux race - Paw

Pahdoucahs · Arapahoes - Rapids Blackfeet Emigrant Indians from the East - Aboriginal Indians - Population and customs of Knistineaux or Crees, Ojibwas, Assineboins, Gros-Ventres, Blackfeet, Mandans, Sioux, Crows, Puncas, Omahas, Ottoes, Pawnees, Kanzas, Osages — The past condition and present prospects of the race.

From the period when thus discovered by the first white explorers, up to the present time, the valleys of the Missouri and of its western tributaries, comprising the territories of Kanzas and Nebraska, have been constantly visited by white traders, hunters or trappers. The French hunters from Louisiana and Canada were the first explorers ; but, after the establishment of the British North West Company, its agents dealt with the Indians in these wilder

On the transfer of the Louisiana purchase to the United States, in 1803, the fur trade began to come into the hands of American merchants; and, from that time, there have been American traders among those who resorted to these territories. The great exploration by Capts. Lewis and Clarke, in 1805, 1806, 1807, gavo a key to the geography of the region; but, up to the present moment, a few trading houses, military stations and missionary posts are the only habitations of white men west of the State of Missouri and of the Missouri river. There is not, at this moment, August 1, 1854, a town or village of whites in KANZAS or NEBRASKA.


The region is still in possession of the Indian tribes. And they, with some changes of position, retain on the whole much the same general divisions and homes as are described to us by their first discoverers. Their population has generally diminished.

The most of these tribes belong to the great Dahcotah or Sioux family of the Indian race. This is the same family which inhabited the region between the Missouri and Mississippi, now Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In NEBRASKA the Mandans, Minetaries and Crow Indians speak a variety of the Dahcotah dialect. Eight other tribes speak it with little variation. Among these are the Ogillalahs, with whom Mr. Parkman made his Indian visit, described with great spirit in “The California Trail.” Two of these tribes, the Osages and Arkansas, belong only in part in Kanzas. Their homes are farther south. The Arkansas were driven from the Kanzas river not long before the discovery by the French. The Ottoes, with whom the Missouris have joined themselves, and the Omahaws, now live on the west side of the Missouri, near the mouth of the Platte or Nebraska



river. The Puncas, a hundred miles above, use the same dialect.

Of Indians using the Dahcotah language, there are, therefore,

In NEBRASKA, Mandans and Crows, or Upsarokas, neither of which tribes call themselves Dahcotahs; and Puncahs and Omahas, who acknowledge their Dahcotah origin.

In KANZAS, Ottoes, Kanzas, Osages, Arkansas and Ogillalahs. Farther west than the Ottoes and Omahas, on the Nebraska or Platte river, are the Pawnees, whose language is entirely unlike that of the Dahcotahs, and that of

any other Indians known to us. They have occupied the neighborhood of this position at least since 1719.

Another division of Pawnees are the Ricaras, sometimes called the Black Pawnees.

South and west of the villages of these tribes, range small bodies, of various names, as Kaskaias and Kioways, who use a different language from any of the others, and may be regarded as remnants of the Pahdoucahs, described by the early explorers, but not now found under that name.

With these the Arapahoes have lately united themselves. They speak a distinct language, however, having emigrated from the hunting-seats of the Rapid Indians, who belong in the north-western parts of Nebraska, between the head waters of the Missouri and Saskachawin. These Rapid (or Fall, or Paunch) Indians are generally found on the Brit

ish side of the line. Their hunting-grounds, however, come as far south as the Yellowstone.

The Blackfeet, who occupy the western part of Nebraska, are one of the most powerful Indian tribes remaining. Their hunting-grounds extend as far north as the 52d degree of latitude, and take in all the region of the Upper Missouri and its waters, from the mountains as far east as the 103d meridian of longitude. Their population is estimated at thirty thousand.

Besides these tribes, which have inhabited this region since its history begins, there are, in the territory of KANZAS, a few small tribes, which have been removed thither by treaties with the United States government. These are the Wyandots, Kickapoos, Sacs and Foxes, Peorias and Kaskaskias ; Ottowas ; Chippewas ; Weas and Piankshaws, Pottawatomies, Shawnees and Delawares. These are, in number, very insignificant. But they hold, by treaty, the right to some of the best lands in Kanzas, and the officers of the United States government have endeavored, therefore, and with some success, for the last year, to make treaties with them for the purchase of parts of their territory. Of these treaties we shall give some account in a subsequent chapter. It is intended, in all of these treaties, to give to each individual in each tribe his own quota of land, and not to attempt again their removal to a distant location.

The Shawnees occupy a belt of country immediately south of the Kanzas river, running westward one hundred

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miles from the Missouri line, and about fifteen miles in width; a district one-fifth as large as Massachusetts. They are but nine hundred and thirty in number. Among them are some quite good farmers, a few of whom hold a few slaves.

Immediately south of their reservation are the small reservations of the Weas and Piankshaws, and of the Peorias and Kaskaskias. These are the only tribes who consented to sell, when invited by the Indian commissioner last

year. They hold, together, only two hundred and fiftysix thousand acres, and are very few in number.

West of them are the Chippewas, thirty in number, and the Ottowas, two hundred and forty-seven in number. The Chippewas hold eight thousand three hundred and twenty acres, and the Ottowas three thousand four hundred acres only. This is mostly prairie land.

The Wyandots occupy one of the most eligible tracts in Kanzas, which they purchased of the Delawares. It is the fork between the Kanzas and Missouri rivers. They are five hundred and fifty-three in number, and own only twenty-three thousand nine hundred and sixty acres of land.

On the Osage river is a reservation belonging to Sacs and Foxes, removed from the Upper Mississippi.

On the Missouri, just south of the northern line of Kanzas, is a reservation for the Iowas, another for the Sacs and Foxes, from Missouri, and next them, a colony of " Halfbreeds."

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