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mountains. The latter story was known only to the old men. Many things which cannot be enumerated here confirm its main outlines, and indicate that the tribe had come in contact with the semi-civilization of the Mexican Indians and through long centuries had slowly migrated northeast and then northwest. The migration was in waves, the Aricaras being the pioneers and going on up the Missouri, then followed the Skidi band of Pawnees who were in Nebraska many years before the Grand, the Tapage and finally the Republican bands followed them. One significant fact may well be mentioned: The Pawnees offered human sacrifices--the last ones occurring since they became subject to the United States.

      Pawnee society had progressed so far that there were distinct tokens of the beginning of the feudal system. Strong, far-sighted war chiefs gathered around themselves groups of youth and even old men who were glad to do the work of their households, serve under them

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Site of Ancient Pawnee Village. Scene of General Thayer's Treaty of 1855,
Three Miles Southeast of Fremont, Neb.

in war and the chase, for the share that fell to them of the chief's food, protection and glory. We shall find similar associations among the Sioux,--with some differences. There were jealousies and differences of custom and speech between the four bands, but during a large part of the past century they were united under one chief of the whole Pawnee nation,--Pita-Leshar-u, a really great leader, the memory of whose name is still cherished by many white people.

     The constant wars of the Pawnee nation made great gaps in their numbers which were never filled. In the very earliest days of contact with whites they probably had 20,000 people, but the first careful estimates of their numbers made early in the nineteenth century by counting their lodges put them at 10,000. The Pawnee country was directly in the path of the early routes of travel across the plains. The white man's liquor and diseases made large inroads upon the tribe. Their enemies



made fiercer attacks upon them. In 1832 the Skidi band was severely defeated on the Arkansas river by Comanches, losing several hundred. In 1847 the Sioux, seven hundred strong, raided a Pawnee village and killed eighty-three. In 1854 the Cheyennes and Kiowas cut off a band of 113 Pawnees and not one escaped. In 1873 a Sioux war party of six hundred attacked four hundred Pawnees while hunting buffalo in Hitchcock county and killed eighty-six. When they moved to Oklahoma in 1875 there were a few more than two thousand. The census taken in June, 1902, disclosed 638 remaining.

     On both sides of the Missouri river from Rulo to Niobrara were the early day homes of the Otoes, the Omahas and the Poncas. These were small tribes, numbering between one and two thousand people each when first encountered by white men. They were near relatives in blood, being members of the great Siouan

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Indians Skinning a Buffalo

family. Their languages were so much alike that they could converse and for most of the historic period they were at peace with each other and often intermarried. To the Otoe tribe had joined itself the small remnant left of the Missouri band. The chief seat of the Otoes and Missouris a century ago was in Saunders county, about twelve miles north of Ashland. Later their main village was in Sarpy county, though they hunted and camped over the entire region from the Platte river south to the mouth of the Nemaha. In the early part of the last century the Otoe nation had a great chief, Ietan. He made his little people widely feared by his own ability as a fighter and organizer, but was killed April 29, 1837, in a fight with some of the young men of his own tribe. No successor to him in prominence and ability has ever appeared. The tribe was greatly reduced by whisky introduced by fur traders. It early ceded all its lands except a

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@ 2002 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller