Fletcher, Alice C. (Alice Cunningham), 1838-1923. The Omaha tribe

Table of Contents

Publication Information

The Omaha Tribe

I Location; Linguistic Relationships

Tribal Concept; The Name Omaha

The Five Cognate Tribes—evidence Of Former Unity

The Ponca Tribe A

Rites And Customs Of The Gentes

1. Waça'be Gens

2. Thi'xida Gens

3. Ni'kapashna Gens

4. Po N' Caxti Gens

5. Washa'be Gens

6. Wazha'zhe Gens

7. Nu'xe Gens

Legendary Accounts A

The Peace Pipes

The Organization Of The Tribe

The Wazha'zhe Gens

How White Eagle Became A Chief

Recent History; Personal Names

The Osage, Or Wazha'zhe, Tribe A

Recent History; Organization

Kinship Groups A

Adoption Ceremony

Legendary Accounts

The Present Tribal Organization

Wazha'zhe Group

Ho N' Ga Group

Wa'tsetsi Group

The Water People

Personal Names

The Kansa Tribe A


The Quapaw Tribe A


Ii Environment; Resultant Influences

Omaha Sacred Legend

Early Habitat And Conditions

Western Movements

Contact With The Arikara

Separation Of Ponca From Omaha; Finding Of Horses

Meeting With The White Men B

Influence Of Traders

The Omaha Country

Villages On The Missouri

The Village



Historic Villages And Places

Tribes Known To The Omaha

Fauna And Flora Known To The Omaha






The Human Body As Known To The Omaha

Miscellaneous Terms Used By The Omaha

Natural Objects And Phenomena



Points Of The Compass

Divisions Of Time

Weather Signs


Iii Rites Pertaining To The Individual

Introduction Of The Omaha Child To The Cosmos

Introduction Of The Child Into The Tribe

Ceremony Of Turning The Child

Consecration Of The Boy To Thunder

Ceremonial Introduction To Individual Life And To The Supernatural

Iv Tribal Organization

Basic Principles

The Hu'thuga—the Omaha Tribal Form

Gentes Of The Omaha Tribe

Ho N' Gashenu Division (a) A

We'zhi N Shte Gens (1) A

I N Ke'çabe Gens (2)

Ho N' Ga Gens (3)

Waxthe'xeto N Subgens ( A )

Washa'beto N Subgens ( B )

Tha'tada Gens (4)

Waça'be Itazhi Subgens ( A )

Xu'ka Subdivision ( A' )

Wazhi N' Ga Itazhi Subgens ( B )

Ke'i N Subgens ( C )

Te'pa Itazhi Subgens ( D )

Ko N 'çe Gens (5)

I N Shta'çu N Da Division, Representing The Sky People (a)

Mo N 'thi N Kagaxe Gens (6)

Teçi N' De Gens (7)

Tapa' Gens (8)

I N Gthe'zhide Gens (9)

I N Shta'çu N Da Gens (10)

The Omaha Gens Not A Political Organization

Interrelation Of The Two Grand Divisions

V Tribal Government

Development Of Political Unity


Orders Of Chiefs

Wathi N' Ethe

The Council Of Seven Chiefs

Emoluments Of Chiefs And Keepers

Offenses And Punishments

Vi The Sacred Pole


Mark Of Honor

The Sacred Tents

Legend And Description Of The Sacred Pole

Sacred Packs And Contents

Anointing The Sacred Pole

Ritual Songs

Ceremony Of The Sacred Pole—conclusion

The He'dewachi

Vii The Quest Of Food

The Ritual Of The Maize

Cultivation Of Maize

Names Of Parts And Of Preparations Of Maize


Rules Observed In Butchering

Te'une, Or Annual Buffalo Hunt

The Watho N'

The White Buffalo Hide

The Ritual Of The White Buffalo Hide

The Ponca Feast Of The Soldiers



Viii Social Life

Kinship Terms

Courtship And Marriage

Care And Training Of Children


Avocations Of Men

Avocations Of Women

Cooking And Foods

Dressing And Tanning Skins

Quill Work


Personal Adornment


The Wai N' Or Robe

Personal Significance

Social Significance

Language Of The Robe



Ix Music


Songs, Singing, And Rhythm

The Wa'wa N Ceremony

The Ceremony Among The Ponca

X Warfare

Influence On Tribal Development

Wai N' Waxube

Authorization Of A War Party

Organization Of A War Party

Dress Of Warriors

Sacred War Pack And Contents

Departure Ceremonies Of An Aggressive War Party

The We'to N Waa N

Sending Out Scouts

Departure Of A Defensive War Party

Return Of A War Party

The Wate'giçtu

Graded War Honors

War Honor Decorations

The Ponca Ceremony Of Conferring War Honors

“the Crow”

The Feather War Bonnet


Contents Of The Tent Of War

The Sacred Shell

The Cedar Pole

Xi Societies

Social Societies

The Hethu'shka

The Pu'gtho N

The Ki'kunethe

The T'e Ga'xe

The Mo N Wa'dathi N And The Toka'lo

Secret Societies

The Mo N Chu' Ithaethe

The Te' Ithaethe

The Wano N' Xe Ithaethe

The I N Gthu N' Ithaethe

The Ho N' Hewachi

The One Hundred Wathi N' Ethe

The Watha'wa (feast Of The Count)

The Feast Of The Ho N' Hewachi

The Tattooing

The Washis'ka Athi N (shell Society)



Regular Meetings

The Opening Ceremony

The Public Ceremony

Ceremonies On The Death Of A Member

Magic Ceremony For Punishing Offenders

The I N' Kugthi Athi N (pebble Society)

Opening Ritual

Ritual For Sweat Lodge, No. 1.

Ritual For Sweat Lodge, No. 2

Ritual For Sweat Lodge, No. 3

Xii Disease And Its Treatment

Some Curative Plants

Xiii Death And Burial Customs

Xiv Religion And Ethics

The Keeper


Wako N' Da

Interrelation Of Men And Animals

Veneration For The Ancients

Position Of Chiefs



Warfare And Ethics

Terms For Good Traits And Good Conduct

Terms For Bad Traits And Bad Conduct


Xv Language

Xvi Conclusions

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: The Omaha tribe

Published in: if part or section of a book or monograph Twenty-seventh annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1905-06

Published By: Original publisher Twenty-seventh annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1905-06 Washington: Government Printing Office. 1911. 17-672 p., 65 plates

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication by Alice C. Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, a member of the Omaha tribe

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2010. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Omaha (NQ21)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Cultural identity and pride (186); Community structure (621); Acculturation and culture contact (177); Historical reconstruction (174); Acculturation and culture contact (177); Linguistic identification (197); Tribe and nation (619); Vocabulary (192); Traditional history (173); Ethnogeography (823); Clans (614); Cultural participation (184); Personal grooming (302); Magical and mental therapy (755); Ceremonial during infancy and childhood (852); Recreational and non-therapeutic drugs (276); Special garments (292); Warfare (726); Mythology (773); Dwellings (342); Furniture (352); Settlement patterns (361); Sodalities (575);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document In this study of the Omaha tribe, Alice Fletcher, an anthropologist who lived with the Omaha for thirty years, and Francis La Flesche, a member of the tribe, have reconstructed the life of the Omaha before white contact. All aspects of the tribal organization and social life of the Omaha are examined and relationships between the Omaha and cognate tribes (Ponca, Quapaw, Osage, and Kansa) are traced. Ethnographic information about these cognate tribes has been interfiled with the Omaha material with appropriate designations placed on the file slips. The final section of this book is concerned with the changes in Omaha culture brought about by white contact and the efforts of the people to adjust to their new way of life.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 1

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. nq21-001

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1875-1905

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Mary L. Bartlett ; 1955

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1875-1911

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Omaha Indians in USA

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Omaha Indians


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