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News archive for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma

Archive for the ‘lewis and clark’ Category

Discovery Tales Come with a Fee

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by Kevin Cole

The Lewis and Clark center in Nebraska City will hold its annual salute to America’s best-known trailblazers this weekend, but now visitors will have to pay to hear about their heroics. On June 15, the National Park Service transferred administration of the five-year-old center to a local foundation. Under the Park Service, donations were accepted but admission was not charged. On June 30, the center began charging: $5.50 for adults, $4.50 for senior citizens and college students, and $3.50 for children ages 6 to 18. Children 5 and under are admitted free. An admission charge was needed to operate the Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Interpretive Trail and Visitors Center at 102 S. 67th Road, said Executive Director Erv Friesen…

Truman Black, an Otoe Tribe member living in Red Rock, Oklahoma, will talk about the expedition’s impact on Native Americans. Black will talk about the Otoe’s historic first meetings with expedition members.

Read the complete article in the Omaha World-Herald.

Submitted by BrokenClaw

July 20th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

‘First Council’ Statues Dedicated

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In the spring of 1804, the Corp of Discovery, sponsored by President Thomas Jefferson, set sail to explore the lands of the Louisiana Purchase, and to meet the Indians. After much anticipation, as the expedition was setting up camp, they were approached by their first tribe and arranged to meet with their chiefs on August 3, 1804.

First Council Casino dedicated the monument, “First Council” on July 10 that commemorates and interprets the first official meeting between Captains Lewis and Clark and chiefs of the Otoe and Missouria Indian Nations.

In June 2002, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Committee of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, commissioned a sculptor, Oreland Joe, to create life-sized sculptures including Lewis and Clark, an Otoe chief and a Missouria chief, a French interpreter and Lewis’ dog. These statues are within feet of where the original council occurred, a place Lewis and Clark named Council Bluffs in present-day Nebraska. At the request of the Otoe-Missouria tribe, Oreland Joe has created a replica of the monument to grace the entrance of First Council Casino located in Newkirk. The six figures are cast in bronze and are arranged in a setting much like you would have expected to see if you attended the historic meeting more than 200 years ago.

Lester Harragarra, a member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and a major component in having the monument erected at First Council, said, “It is an honor to have Oreland Joe recreate this historic moment in our tribe’s history. This gives us an opportunity to share a part of our culture, which we strive to incorporate in our everyday lives, not only with our own tribal members, but with everyone that visits First Council.”

Oreland Joe, who attended the dedication, is world-renowned for his work in stone and bronze sculptures. He is a native of New Mexico and is of Dine’ (Navajo) and Ute decent. Currently, Kirtland, N.M., provides home to his family and his studio. The First Council Casino is located at 12875 N. Highway 77.

» Originally published on NativeTimes.com.

Submitted by BrokenClaw

July 13th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Lewis and Clark Document Presentation

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At 10 o’clock on the morning of Aug. 19, 1804, a certificate of friendship signed by William Clark and Merriweather Lewis during the Corps of Discovery expedition was presented to a group of Otoe Indians. Two hundred years to the minute this document will be unveiled to Oklahomans by Governor Brad Henry in a ceremony in the Blue Room at the State Capital. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and the public is invited to attend. The certificate was presented to the Oklahoma Historical Society in May by a direct descendent of the warrior to whom Lewis and Clark gave it.

“A fine morning. Wind from the S. E. Prepared small present for chiefs and warriors present… at ten o’clock we assembled the chiefs and warriors, nine in number, under an awning, and Captain Lewis and I explained the speech sent to the nation from the Council Bluffs…” from the journal of William Clark, dated 19 August 1804. Among those warriors was a man named Neeswarunja (Big Ax). A certificate was given to him as a sign of friendship, signed and sealed by both Lewis and Clark.

This document was saved and passed down through generations of the Otoe Indian family, a reminder of that momentous meeting and the relationship between nations. Now almost 200 years later his direct descendants present the tangible evidence of the morning to the Oklahoma Historical Society. Joan Aitson remembers occasions when, as a child, she would be shown these documents stored in her grandmother’s trunk along with letters from the Indian agent and a certificate from the Department of Interior declaring Par-tha-niga as head Chief of the Otoes in 1894.

Amid the renewed interest in the Lewis and Clark expedition and the ramifications of the Louisiana Purchase, Joan Aitson and her daughters Kennetha Greenwood, Miriam Siemens, and Rhonda Williams, came to feel that the stewardship of the long held family documents and sharing those documents with the nation should be passed on. Also playing a part in the decision was their cousin and tribal member Joe Dent. “I believe this is one of the single most important artifacts gift to the Oklahoma Historical Society in 70 years,” said OHS Executive Director Bob L. Blackburn. “These documents are the link between the Indian tribes of the Midwest, the Louisiana Purchase, and what became the Indian Territory.”

“The Oklahoma Historical Society gratefully accepted the role of caring for these important artifacts of the Otoe people and the United States,” Blackburn added. Aitson is a recently retired state employee having worked for many years in the Legislative Reference Law Library of the State Capitol. Another document in their collection is a manuscript of the a speech to the Yankton Sioux Tribe explaining the Louisiana Purchase and its impact on the relationship of the American Indian Nations of the region and the United States.

» Originally published in the Ponca City News.

Submitted by BrokenClaw

August 19th, 2004 at 9:43 pm

Otoe-Missouria Trip to Omaha

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On July 30, the Otoe-Missouria tribe sent 75 enrolled tribal members, descendants and other tribal representatives as delegates to represent the tribe and attend the historical Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration.

Dignitaries included the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council, elders from Red Rock and surrounding communities, Otoe War Mothers, Otoe Veterans Organization and veterans as well as Otoe-Missouria tribe scholars, tribal princesses and youth. In all, 160 people traveling with the Otoe-Missouria tribe made this pilgrimage to Omaha, Neb., the homelands and former territory of the Otoe and Missouria Tribes.

This was an emotional time for many of the tribal members, to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors and see the documents that had been donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society by the Dent Family and Shunatona Family. Authentic documents presented to Otoe-Missouria tribesmen from President Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were available for public display for the first time.

The stories that had been told to them as children came to life and the sense of heritage and tradition became very strong in the realization of the loss the tribe has suffered as a result of the success of the Corps of Discovery. It was after this time that the government began making treaties with the tribes and relocation became inevitable, pushing the Otoe-Missouria tribe to its present home in Red Rock. Together with the joy and happiness for this opportunity were tears of sadness of a time remembered and deep sense of loss.

The Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery, commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to initiate the Corps of Discovery to get exclusive trade agreements from Indian tribes along the Missouria River in August 1804 made their first council meeting with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe along the Missouri River. By the time Lewis and Clark made their journey, the Otoe-Missouria were well known as a tribe who had strong trading relationships with trading companies and governments along the Missouri River. When Lewis and Clark met with the Otoe and Missouria Tribes, there was excitement in the air for the Corps of Discovery members, because they were anxious to establish a diplomatic trade relationship with the tribe.

In April of 1998 Dawn Briner and Sylvester Alley, designated representatives of the Otoe-Missouria tribe, traveled to New Town, N.D. to meet with the government agencies involved in leading the planning of the upcoming bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery II.

In August 1998 the Otoe-Missouria tribe hosted a meeting in Wichita, Kan. to discuss the involvement of the Oklahoma Tribes that met with the Corps. The Otoe-Missouria tribe had been working with the Nebraska Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Committee since 1998 to coordinate the activities and planning of this signature event. During the planning Otoe Tribal Chairman Grant was extended an invitation to make a personal visit with the Governor of Nebraska to Lincoln, Neb. at the Governor’s Mansion. “This was a productive meeting. It was our ‘Nation to State’ meeting and I think all participants enjoyed the conversations very much,” said Ron Hull, chairman of the Nebraska Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission. Alley remained the authorized representative for the Otoe-Missouria tribe the following years until April 2004, when the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council appointed a Planning Committee for the final plans of the tribes involvement.

Ron Hull stated, “Doubly fortunate we’ve had the good fortune of working with some highly talented and motivated people from the Otoe-Missouria Nation. Dawn Briner, Annette Arkeketa, Bat Shunatona, Sylvester Alley and Aaron Gawhega, appointed by Tribal Chair, Jim Grant, formed the core of our ‘Planning Committee’ representing the tribe and they have given unstintingly toward this mutually cooperative project. They made the decisions about the level of participation they wanted and we did everything in our power to help achieve these goals. From the beginning our message to the tribe was that we saw this signature event in Nebraska as an opportunity for the Otoe-Missouria Nation to have an auspicious platform from which to tell their story. That was our primary goal — to tell the story of the Otoe-Missouria from their perspective and in the manner they would choose. They came up with the ideas for the various panel discussions featured throughout the event, the history of their tribe was well told.”

Speakers from the Otoe-Missouria tribe selected for the panels were chosen for their knowledge of tradition, education and experience and their desire to represent the tribe in this historical event. Panels and speakers consisted of: Otoe-Missouria Military Panel, Marvin Diamond, Veteran, Debra Denny, Desert Storm Veteran, and Mildred Hudson; Otoe-Missouria Leadership Panel, Otoe-Missouria Tribal Council Members, James E. Grant, Chairman, Susan Arkeketa, Vice-Chairman, Myra Pickering, Secretary, Bobby Kihega, Member and Mildred Hudson, Member; Otoe-Missouria Tribal Dress Panel, Deanna Harragarra, Julia Tah & Bernadette Huber; Otoe-Missouria Youth Panel, Cody Harjo, Andrea Kihega, Jessica Moore, Shawn Tohee and Meta Tohee; and Otoe-Missouria Education and History Panel, Dr. Marlene Echohawk, Dr. Aaron Gawhega and Wilson Pipestem, Attorney. The Nebraska Commission was excited about the proposal that had been developed and very accepting to do what ever was necessary to ensure the Otoe-Missouria tribe’s participation in this signature event became successful.

The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery II Bicentennial Commemoration were held in Omaha and Fort Calhoun Neb., July 31 through Aug. 3. On July 31, 2004, Governor Johanns of Nebraska made the Welcome Home Address to the Otoe-Missouria tribe with a proclamation designating July 31 through August 3 as Otoe-Missouria Days in the State of Nebraska. Otoe-Missouria Tribal Chairman James Grant presented Governor Johanns with a gift of an OU football jersey signed by Billy Simms. Over 50,000 people attended the festivities that followed during the four days.

The Corps of Discovery Festival was held in Fort. Calhoun, Neb. at Fort Atkinson State Park. A large variety of activities took place including 1800s traders village, education tent, exhibitors tent, Native American stage and Otoe-Missouria circle. The first Tribal Council was held at Elmwood Park in Omaha, Neb. which included performances by Heartland of America Brass Quintet, Philip Glasses’ Piano Concerto No. 2 , Sacagawea performed by Paul Barnes, pianist and R. Carlos Nakai, Flutist and a dramatization by Carson Grace Becker, “Ink and Elkskin.”

» Originally published in the Ponca City News.

Submitted by BrokenClaw

August 19th, 2004 at 9:40 pm

Lewis and Clark Bicentennial

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The Otoe-Missouria tribe will be an active participant in the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration to be held July 31 – Aug. 3 in Omaha, Neb. The tribe is sending 75 delegates, most of whom are from the Ponca City and Red Rock areas, to the commemoration.

Dawn Briner, representative of the tribe, stated, “It’s a pretty big effort. Our goal for the tribe is to take our people home and help them have a wonderful experience being a part of history.” The Otoe-Missouria tribe was the first council encountered by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their historic expedition in the early 1800s. A reenactment of this 1804 meeting will occur as one of the events during the commemoration. The reenactment will take place at Elmwood Park in Omaha and will include local tribal member Dennis Black.

The effort to take representatives to the event has been ongoing for over six years. After receiving a letter from the National Park Services, Briner and others attended a meeting in North Dakota in 1998. They received a grant to hold their own meeting in Wichita in 1999. They have been working since that time to gather and coordinate representatives who will attend and participate in the event. “We’re really proud of our accomplishments so far,” Briner said. Tribal members will participate in dress, military, education and historical panels to discuss the history and current position of the Otoe-Missouria tribe. They will also engage in storytelling and dancing.

A few tribal members will be traveling to the event from locations such as Colorado, Washington D.C. and Nevada.

The Otoe-Missouria tribe currently has 1,492 members with the tribal headquarters located about 15 miles south of Ponca City on U.S. 177. They have social programs, educational programs and head start, health education programs, a wellness center, religious grounds, police force, housing and a cultural center. They also have the Seven Clans Paradise Casino and the Otoe-Missouria Deli Mart.

» Originally published in the Ponca City News.

Submitted by BrokenClaw

July 28th, 2004 at 9:51 pm