Indian Tribes of the United States Letter O-R

From the Index of the Presidential Messages and Papers 1789-1897
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Ojibwa, or Chippewa, Indians

A large tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians. In the early history of the country their hunting grounds were along the shores of Lakes Huron and Superior and across the State of Minnesota into the mountains of Dakota. Their name means "A puckering up," and is variously contended to refer to a puckering of the lips in speaking or drinking, a peculiar seam in the moccasin, and the appearance of the flesh of roasted victims. They were known by the early French explorers as Saulteurs ("People of the falls"), having been first met with at Sault Ste. Marie. They were connected in a loose confederacy with the Ottawas and Pottawatomies and known as the Three Fires. After learning the use of firearms they greatly extended their territory by successful wars upon the Sioux, Foxes, and Iroquois. They joined Pontiac and were allies of England in the Revolution. They also participated in the Miami uprising. The Ojibwas ceded lands on Lake Erie in 1805. They again broke out into hostilities in 1812, and by the peace of 1816 relinquished all their lands in Ohio and retreated westward. By 1851 the remainder of the tribe in the United States was west of the Mississippi River. They now number about 30,000 in Canada and the United States, about one-half in each.

Omaha Indians

A tribe of the Dhegiha division or confederacy of the Siouan stock of Indians. The name means "Those who went against the current." In 1815 and 1820 they ceded lands at Council Bluffs to the whites. In 1825 and 1830 they made similar treaties. In 1854 they gave up more of their lands and removed to a reservation in northeastern Nebraska. They number about 1,200.

Oneida Indians

A tribe of the Iroquois stock of Indians. They formerly occupied lands east of Oneida Lake, N.Y., and the head waters of the Susquehanna River to the south. The name means "Standing stone" or "People of stone." They usually acted independently of the other Iroquois and were not prominent in the confederacy. The early French settlers, with whom they were generally friendly, called them Oneiout. They took part with the Colonies in the Revolution. For this the British destroyed their villages. By a treaty in 1794 the Government made compensation for their losses. In 1785 and 1788 they ceded lands to New York State. In 1833 most of them removed to Green Bay, Wis., where they still remain, and others went to Canada. They number about 3,000

Onondaga Indians

The leading tribe of the Iroquois stock of Indians. Their original hunting grounds were along the shores of the creek and lake in New York which bear their name. They claimed all the country between Lake Ontario and the Susquehanna River. The name is translated to mean "On the top of the mountain." In the councils of the Iroquois confederacy they were called by a name meaning "They who keep the council fire." They fought on the side of the British in the Revolution and in the French Wars. In 1788 they ceded all their land to the State of New York except a small portion, which they still hold. They number about 900.

Osage Indians

A tribe of the Dhegiha confederacy of the Siouan stock of Indians. They are divided into the Great or Highland Osage and Little or Lowland Osage, respectively referring in the native tongue to those who camped at the top of the hill and those who camped at the foot of the hill, "wacace" in the Siouan language denoting a camp on a hill. This has been corrupted into Osage. Through wars with the whites and Indian tribes of their own stock they were driven southward into Arkansas. In 1808 they ceded lands to the Government and made further cessions in 1815, 1818, 1822, 1825, and 1839. At the beginning of the Civil War about 1,000 of them went to the Indian Territory, and in 1865 and 1868 treaties were made looking to the removal of the remainder of the tribe. The last of their lands was ceded in 1870 to the Government and they went to their reservation in Oklahoma. They number about 1,600.

Ottawa Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians. The Ottawas were first found along the Upper Ottawa River, in Canada. They were steadfast allies of the French. In 1646 they suffered defeat at the hands of the Iroquois and were driven westward along the southern shore of Lake Superior. In the early part of the eighteenth century the Ottawas established themselves about the site of the present city of Chicago, whence they spread in all directions. In 1763 they combined with other tribes in the South and West in an unsuccessful move against the English. During the Revolution they aided the British. They signed treaties in 1785 and 1789, but joined in the Miami uprising soon afterwards. They again made peace in 1795. Numerous treaties ceding territory to the United States followed, and a part of the tribe went South of the Missouri and soon lost their identity. Some of those living in Ohio migrated to the Osage country in 1836. In the same year the Michigan Ottawas ceded all their lands except reservations. In 1870 those in the Southwest were collected in the Indian Territory. They number about 5,000.


Pawnee Indians

A confederacy of tribes of the Caddoan stock of Indians. They formerly inhabited the plains of Kansas and Nebraska and the banks of the Platte and Republican rivers. This confederation has always been friendly to the Americans. By a treaty in 1833 they sold their lands south of the Nebraska. They were afterwards attacked by the Sioux and the remainder of their hunting grounds was devastated. In 1857 the Pawnees sold more of their lands, and the depredations of the Sioux continuing, the remnants of the Pawnee Confederation were removed to a reservation in Oklahoma. There are now some 800 individuals, divided into 4 tribes, the Tcawi or Grand Pawnee, Pitahauerat or Tapage, the Republican Pawnee, and the Skidi or Pawnee Loup.

Pequot, or Pequod, Indians

A former tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians. The name is translated "destroyers" or "ravagers." They were the most dreaded of all the southern New England Indians. When first known to the whites the Pequots formed one tribe with the Mohegans under Sassacus, but they seceded under Uncas and occupied a narrow strip of coast in southern Connecticut from the Niantic River to the Rhode Island boundary. They never numbered more than 3,000, though their estimated strength was much greater. In 1634 the Pequots entered into a treaty with the colonists at Boston, but failed to keep the peace. Expeditions were sent against them and they in turn attacked Wethersfield and massacred many settlers. In 1637 they were surprised at a fort near the present site of Groton, Conn., and in the battle which ensued and the subsequent one at Fairfield Swamp the tribe was nearly annihilated. Many of them were sold as slaves and the others were scattered.

Pottawatomie Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians. When first known (about 1670) they lived on the Noquet Islands, in Green Bay, Wis. At the close of the seventeenth century they were established on the Milwaukee River, at Chicago, and on the St. Joseph River. At the beginning of the nineteenth century they possessed the country around the head of Lake Michigan from the Milwaukee River, Wis., to the Grand River, Mich., extending south into Illinois and in Indiana to the Wabash River. They took a prominent part in Pontiac's War and in the War of the Revolution, when they fought on the British side, as they also did during the War of 1812. The name Pottawatomic signifies "firemakers," and has reference to their secession from the Ojibwas and making fires for themselves. A large tract was assigned to them on the Missouri. In 1867 1,400 of them became citizens, but the Prairie Band continued under the Indian Department. Their present number in the United States and Canada is about 1,500.

Pueblo Indians

A common name for several distinct tribes and nations of Indians occupying western New Mexico, Arizona, Chihuahua, Texas and the valleys of the Rio Grande and Colorado rivers,. The Zunis inhabit the largest pueblos or villages. They are distinct nations. When discovered by the Spaniards they occupied 7 villages, known as the Seven Cities of Cibola, on the site of one of which stands the present pueblo of Zuni. The Tanoan are also a distinct stock of Indians and comprise several tribes of closely allied dialects. The Tusayan is a confederacy of tribes inhabiting northeastern Arizona. The Pueblo Indians have always been friendly. The Supreme Court declared them citizens in 1857. The name was also applied by Spaniards to the early colonies established in California by authority of Philip II. Pueblo lands were vested either by proprietary right in the individual or in companies reserving to them certain rights as citizens and colonists. The first settlers were also allowed money and supplies and permitted to elect their own magistrates, of whom the chief was the alcalde. They were allowed common use of the pasture lands reserved to the Crown outside the pueblo grants.

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Website: The History
Article Name: Indian Tribes of the United States Letter O-R
Researcher/Preparer/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my Collection of Books: "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897". By James D. Richardson--a Representative from the State of Tennessee. Publisher: by Authority of Congress--1899. Ten volumes total. Copyright: 1897 by James D. Richardson.
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