Indians of Nebraska

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The name Nebraska comes from an Oto Indian word meaning "flat water".

Tribes and Bands of Nebraska

The following list of tribes is compiled from:

  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Ethnology, Bulletin # 30 1907.
  • Swanton, John W. The Indian tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution Bureau of Ethnology, Bulletin #45. (

Many of these tribes or bands lived in or had only minimal association with the area now known as Nebraska. Some of them are only mentioned in treaties as parties to the cession of land in Iowa to the federal government.

Arapaho, Arikara, Cheyenne, Comanche, Dakota, Flandreau, Sioux, Fox, Iowa, Kansa or Kaw, Kansas, Kiowa, Oneida, Missouri, Omaha, Oto, Pawnee, Ponca, Santee-Sioux, Sac (also spelled Sauk), Sioux, Stockbridge-Munsee, Tonkawa, Winnebago


As identified in the National Atlas of the United States of America, the following reservation names in bold are current federally-recognized reservations:

  • Iowa Reservation:
  • Omaha Reservation: Federal, under jurisdiction of Winnebago Agency, Tribe: Omaha
  • Ponca Reservation:
  • Sac and Fox Reservation:
  • Santee Sioux Reservation: Federal, under jurisdiction of Winnebago Agency, Tribe: Santee Sioux
  • Winnebago Reservation: is a federal reservation, under the jurisdiction of the Winnebago Agency. The primary tribe is the Winnebago. The reservation is mostly located in Thurston County, Nebraska, with a small segment in Woodbury County, Iowa, just east of the Missouri River.


Isaacs, Katherine M., Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook Volume 11 Appendices. Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations. Appencix E. Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991

Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Agencies were created as an administrative division of the federal government to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.

  • Flandreau Agency
  • Great Nemaha Agency
  • Omaha Agency 1856-1876
  • Otoe Agency
  • Pawnee Agency
  • Ponca Agency
  • Red Cloud Agency 1873-77
  • Rosebud Agency 1878
  • Santee Agency
  • Santee Sioux Agency
  • Spotted Tail Agency 1874
  • Winnebago Agency, Winnebago, NE 68071 
  • Yankton Agency


Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc., 1974 (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o)

Indian Schools

  • Genoa School
  • Grant Institute
  • Omaha School
  • Santee School

Half-Breed Tract

In the early 1800s, a tract of land was set aside by the federal government in Nebraska for the descendants of French fur trappers and other Europeans who had inter-married with Native Americans. These individuals were called "half-breeds." Thus the tract of land came to be known as the "Half-Breed Tract." Similar tracts were established in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Another similar tract was reserved in Nemaha County for "half-breeds" of the Oto, Omaha, and Iowa Tribes and for the Yankton and Santee Bands of the Sioux Tribe. The tract was on land belonging to the Otoes and the other tribes paid them for the right to give their descendants land there.


Records of the Indian Tribes of Nebraska may be found in the National Archives or in the Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Family History Library

Central Superintendency of Indian Affairs M856- 108 films Family History Library 1st film 1602893

Dakota Superintendency 1861-1970 & 1877-1878 13 films: M1016 1st  Family History Library film 1549631

Many Indian records have been microfilmed and copies are housed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. To find American Indian records in the Family History Library Catalog look in the Subject Search under the name of the tribe, such as:



You can also look in the Locality Search under:



To see a partial list of records the Family History Library has about Indians in Nebraska, click here.

See Also:

Nebraska History for calendar of events

Nebraska Military for a list of forts