State of Nebraska - Genealogy Trails





Early Settlers

A few Facts Regarding The Dying Race

Many interesting Ones Gathered by a Press Interviewer




By an invitation of our citizens there were present at the Centennial Celebration on the Fourth, J. W. Griest, U. S. Indian agent for the Otoes and Monsour tribe of Indians accompanied by Balliate Derion, U. S. Indian Interpreter, and the following chiefs of the tribe:

Joe John or Munshashunsha
Dreaming Big Bear
Son-gasaki or White Horse Jim Arke-ke-tah
John Muska-ga-he
Lodge Pole – the latter a brave.

This tribe once claimed and occupied all the eastern parts of the State of Nebraska, south of the Platte River –having been driven here from a country farther east, by the advance of civilization westward. They have had treaties of amicable relationship with the U. S. Government since 1814, and since that time have been entirely friendly to the whites and we have no accounts of their having violated any of their treaty obligations. They have frequently been called upon, and employed to assist in protecting the early settlers of Nebraska from the more hostile tribes of the frontier; and in the days of freight across the pains they rendered valuable service.

In 1894, when civilization was about to step across the Missouri in its unceasing strides westward, and had planed the embryo of a state where now is the flourishing town of Nebraska City, and the land of the Indians were wanted for its development; another treaty was entered into between the government and the Otoe and Missouri tribes, in which the Indians relinquished their right to all their landed possessions, except a small strip 10 by 25 miles on the southern line of Nebraska and on the waters of the Big Blue River. They were moved to this reserve in 188, the year following the ratification of the treaty, and have made that their home ever since. During a few years succeeding the confirmation of this treaty, there was due them from the government large sums of money, which in the hands of government officers having charge of the tribe and their interests, was lavishly expended in a way, that, whit is supplemented the substance gained by the chase so as to keep some of the leaders of the tribes in apparent Indian opulence, in order to require their favor for the time being, (and we believe it a fact the Indians are easily managed when they are well fed), it filled the pockets of officers, but thwarted the purposes of government and reduced their Indians towards a condition of poverty, a condition that their ability for calculation did not enable them to foresee, but while this sure to follow the lavish expenditure of means without a corresponding proliferation of so cumulation, and this the Indians, in common with many of their white neighbors, have failed to do, until a lack of substance asserted the necessity. Thus, coming in the course of natural events, the Indians have taken hold of labor and have made fair progress in agriculture. They have recently developed and brought into cultivation about six hundred acres of their rich fertile land, the products of which the present season will go very far towards the support of the tribe. The popular opinion that Indians will not labor has been effectually exploded amongst these Indians when they have been made to derive a direct personal benefit from their labor, and they present the most reasonable grounds for believing that with proper management and the continence of the present just policy towards the, there is nothing in the world to prevent them from becoming not only self supporting by industrial pursuits, but a source of revenue and wealth to the states and commonwealth in which they live, except by the service of their whit neighbors, seeking for peontary and political purposes to dispose them of their lands.

This tribe, which the title denotes, is the remnant of two one powerful tribes that had dwindled down to a very small number compared with their former greatness. They now number 400 all told, thought three years since, there were only 435. A large and commodious school building has been erected near the agency, where the children of the tribe, some of the as the parents will spare are placed and under the care of competent teachers, are instructed in domestic economy and industry, and also the school learning of a common English, interaction, and we are viewed by the rich who have had large experience in eastern schools that their progress in learning is fully equal to that of white children under similar circumstances.

Thursday, July 5, 1876
Daily Nebraska Press (Nebraska City, Nebraska) Page: 1