Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Pawnee People by Carl N. Tyson

This book, The Pawnee People, covers the history of the four different groups that make up the Pawnee Tribe starting with the earliest times and taking you right u to the modern day. It is one of the Indian Tribal Series published here in Phoenix with a 1976 Copyright. This volume is autographed by the Tribal Chief Thomas Chapman, Jr., "Big Eagle."

I procured the book in order to see what the Pawnee said about the early 1800's, about 1835-47, to be exact and learn about their history during that time period. I have read the reports of the Indian Agents during this time because my great-great-grandfather, James Case, and his two sons lived with the Pawnee and Oto as the Indian Agency's farmer on the Loup River and further north with the Otoes during that time-frame.

The Pawnees (Pani) were already a fairly peaceful, agricultural people, settled in Nebraska and Kansas (three branches in Kansas and one in Nebraska (the Skidi). But as time passed the Government and the four branches agreed to move the tribe to the reservation on the Loup. This reservation wasn't set aside until 1857; however, it was called a reservation by the Indian Agent earlier while my great-grandfather was the Agency farmer. According to The Pawnee People, a tract of land 15 miles wide and thirty miles long was designated the Reservation in 1857.

According to the reports I read on microfilm, the period 1835-47 was fairly peaceful with a couple of attacks by the Pawnee on other tribes and one large upset on the reservation where the Pawnee "revolted" against the Government's ruling over the Pawnees and the Indians ruined their crops and danced around the farmer's house with torches and a lot of yelling and screaming. No one was killed in this uprising, but it had the effect of ending the cooperation of the Indian Agency for a while.

The Pawnee People indicates about the same, except that the Pawnee at first didn't like the Loup setting because of raids by the Dakota Sioux, but they came around and finally settled there. But they would not give up their hunts in the summer and making raids on other tribes. They had a hard time settling down to an agricultural life. And the new Indian Agent was no help, rather, he was not liked by the Indians and got into a struggle with the Chief and he and his son were killed. In 1846, the Pawnee had gone on their summer hunt and the Oto burned their village. In June, the Dakota raided the mission (John Dunbar, the Presbyterian missionary) and drove off all the horses. (Note: I think this is the incident the Agent was talking about above.) And the bad times continued until the Mormons came along and gave the Indians supplies in 1847. And my great-grandfather joined up with Brigham Young and came on to Utah with him.