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3 _{~latin Small Letter Turned T~}{~latin Small Letter Open O~}iwe´re_ (_people Of This Place_)
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Cegiha





According to tribal traditions collected by Dorsey, the ancestors of the
Omaha, Ponka, Elwapa, Osage, and Kansa were originally one people dwelling
on Ohio and Wabash rivers, but gradually working westward. The first
separation took place at the mouth of the Ohio, when those who went down
the Mississippi became the Kwapa or Downstream People, while those who
ascended the great river became the Omaha or Up-stream People. This
separation must have occurred at least as early as 1500, since it preceded
De Soto's discovery of the Mississippi.

The Omaha group (from whom the Osage, Kansa, and Ponka were not yet
separated) ascended the Mississippi to the mouth of the Missouri, where
they remained for some time, though war and hunting parties explored the
country northwestward, and the body of the tribe gradually followed these
pioneers, though the Osage and Kansa were successively left behind. Some
of the pioneer parties discovered the pipestone quarry, and many
traditions cling about this landmark. Subsequently they were driven across
the Big Sioux by the Yankton Indians, who then lived toward the confluence
of the Minnesota and Mississippi. The group gradually differentiated and
finally divided through the separation of the Ponka, probably about the
middle of the seventeenth century. The Omaha gathered south of the
Missouri, between the mouths of the Platte and Niobrara, while the Ponka
pushed into the Black Hills country.

The Omaha tribe remained within the great bend of the Missouri, opposite
the mouth of the Big Sioux, until white men came. Their hunting ground
extended westward and southwestward, chiefly north of the Platte and along
the Elkhorn, to the territory of the Ponka and the Pawnee (Caddoan); and
in 1766 Carver met their hunting parties on Minnesota river. Toward the
end of the eighteenth century they were nearly destroyed by smallpox,
their number having been reduced from about 3,500 to but little over 300
when they were visited by Lewis and Clark, their famous chief Blackbird
being one of those carried off by the epidemic. Subsequently they
increased in numbers; in 1890 their population was about 1,200. They are
now on reservations, mostly owning land in severalty, and are citizens of
the United States and of the state of Nebraska.

Although the name Ponka did not appear in history before 1700 it must have
been used for many generations earlier, since it is an archaic designation
connected with the social organization of several tribes and the secret
societies of the Osage and Kansa, as well as the Ponka. In 1700 the Ponka
were indicated on De l'Isle's map, though they were not then segregated
territorially from the Omaha. They, too, suffered terribly from the
smallpox epidemic, and when met by Lewis and Clark in 1804 numbered only
about 200. They increased rapidly, reaching about 600 in 1829 and some 800
in 1842; in 1871, when they were first visited by Dorsey, they numbered
747. Up to this time the Ponka and Dakota were amicable; but a dispute
grew out of the cession of lands, and the Teton made annual raids on the
Ponka until the enforced removal of the tribe to Indian Territory took
place in 1877. Through this warfare, more than a quarter of the Ponka lost
their lives. The displacement of this tribe from lands owned by them in
fee simple attracted attention, and a commission was appointed by
President Hayes in 1880 to inquire into the matter; the commission,
consisting of Generals Crook and Miles and Messrs William Stickney and
Walter Allen, visited the Ponka settlements in Indian Territory and on the
Niobrara and effected a satisfactory arrangement of the affairs of the
tribe, through which the greater portion (some 600) remained in Indian
Territory, while some 225 kept their reservation in Nebraska.

When the cegiha divided at the mouth of the Ohio, the ancestors of the
Osage and Kansa accompanied the main Omaha body up the Mississippi to the
mouth of Osage river. There the Osage separated from the group, ascending
the river which bears their name. They were distinguished by Marquette in
1673 as the Ouchage and Autrechaha, and by Penicaut in 1719 as the
Huzzau, Ous, and Wawha. According to Croghan, they were, in 1759, on
White creek, a branch of the Mississippi, with the Grand Tuc;
butWhite creek (or White water) was an old designation for Osage river,
and Grand Tuc is, according to Mooney, a corruption of Grandes Eaux,
or Great Osage; and there is accordingly no sufficient reason for
supposing that they returned to the Mississippi. Toward the close of the
eighteenth century the Osage and Kansa encountered the Comanche and
perhaps other Shoshonean peoples, and their course was turned southward;
and in 1817, according to Brown, the Great Osage and Little Osage were
chiefly on Osage and Arkansas rivers, in four villages. In 1829 Porter
described their country as beginning 25 miles west of the Missouri line
and running to the Mexican line of that date, being 50 miles wide; and he
gave their number as 5,000. According to Schoolcraft, they numbered 3,758
in April, 1853, but this was after the removal of an important branch
known as Black Dog's band to a new locality farther down Verdigris river.
In 1850 the Osage occupied at least seven large villages, besides numerous
small ones, on Neosho and Verdigris rivers. In 1873, when visited by
Dorsey, they were gathered on their reservations in what is now Oklahoma.
In 1890 they numbered 158.

The Kansa remained with the Up-stream People in their gradual ascent of
the Missouri to the mouth of the Kaw or Kansas, when they diverged
westward; but they soon came in contact with inimical peoples, and, like
the Osage, were driven southward. The date of this divergence is not
fixed, but it must have been after 1723, when Bourgmont mentioned a large
village of Quans located on a small river flowing northward thirty
leagues above Kaw river, near the Missouri. After the cession of Louisiana
to the United States, a treaty was made with the Kansa Indians, who were
then on Kaw river, at the mouth of the Saline, having been forced back
from the Missouri by the Dakota; they then numbered about 1,500 and
occupied about thirty earth lodges. In 1825 they ceded their lands on the
Missouri to the Government, retaining a reservation on the Kaw, where they
were constantly subjected to attacks from the Pawnee and other tribes,
through which large numbers of their warriors were slain. In 1846 they
again ceded their lands and received a new reservation on Neosho river in
Kansas. This was soon overrun by settlers, when another reservation was
assigned to them in Indian Territory, near the Osage country. By 1890
their population was reduced to 214.

The Kwapa were found by De Soto in 1541 on the Mississippi above the mouth
of the St Francis, and, according to Marquette's map, they were partly
east of the Mississippi in 1673. In 1681 La Salle found them in three
villages distributed along the Mississippi, and soon afterward Tonty
mentioned four villages, one (Kappa = U{~LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED K~}aqpaqti, Real Kwapa) on the
Mississippi and three (Toyengan = Tanwan-ji{~LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED K~}a, Small Village; Toriman =
Ti-uadciman, and Osotonoy = Uzutiuwe) inland; this observation was
verified by Dorsey in 1883 by the discovery that these names are still in
use. In early days the Kwapa were known as Akansa, or Arkansa, first
noted by La Metairie in 1682. It is probable that this name was an
Algonquian designation given because of confusion with, or recognition of
affinity to, the Kansa or Kanze, the prefix a being a common one in
Algouquian appellations. In 1687 Joutel located two of the villages of the
tribe on the Arkansas and two on the Mississippi, one of the latter being
on the eastern side. According to St Cosme, the greater part of the tribe
died of smallpox in October, 1699. In 1700 De l'Isle placed the principal
Acansa village on the southern side of Arkansas river; and, according to
Gravier, there were in 1701 five villages, the largest, Imaha (Omaha),
being highest on the Arkansas. In 1805 Sibley placed the Arkensa in
three villages on the southern side of Arkansas river, about 12 miles
above Arkansas post. They claimed to be the original proprietors of the
country bordering the Arkansas for 300 miles, or up to the confluence of
the Cadwa, above which lay the territory of the Osage. Subsequently the
Kwapa affiliated with the Caddo Indians, though of another stock;
according to Porter they were in the Caddo country in 1829. As
reservations were established, the Kwapa were re-segregated, and in 1877
were on their reservation in northwestern Indian Territory; but most of
them afterward scattered, chiefly to the Osage country, where in 1890 they
were found to number 232.





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