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The Ponca People Essay

The Ponca people are of Dhegihan tribe belonging to the Siouan language, and they are Natives of Midwestern America. The name Ponca belongs to the Kansa, Ouapaws, and Osage clan meaning ‘Cut Throat.’ The Ponca people are subdivided into two major tribes namely Nebraska Ponca tribe and the Indians tribe of Oklahoma. The Ponca people’s historical accounts show that they originated from east of Mississippi River, then went to the Ohio Valley and after that migrated to the western side after breakage of the Iroquois war. It’s said that the Ponca tribes first lived North of Nebraska near the Niobrara River having migrated from East of Mississippi from the settlement of the Columbus people in America.

Later they migrated out of Ohio River settlements together with the Osage, Omaha, and the Quapaw tribes as a result of the Iroquois war. It’s Iroquois people who gained control of the Ohio River area whereby they made the ground their hunting area. According to Pierre Charles Le Sueur map of 1701, the Ponca tribe appear to have been present having been placed on the upper side of the Missouri area. It’s in 1789 Juan Munier Baptiste got the license to be performing trade with the Ponca people in their area of residence Niobrara River area. The Ponca people at the time were about 800 but later were hit by smallpox a deadly epidemic disease leaving on about 200 people by the time Clark Expedition and Lewis were visiting the place in 1804. However, the Ponca tribe had risen to a considerable number of about 700 people in the 19th century.

Their enemies constantly attacked the Ponca people and around 1924 the Lakotas tribe who were very hostile attacked a large number of Ponca ranking leaders including the famous smoke maker leader and only a few survived. The leaders were coming from a friendly Oglala Lakota camp at the time of the attack. Many Plain Indians were hunters, but the Ponca people main grew vegetables and maize and their only known time to be hunting was way back in 1855 when they successfully hunted Buffalos. By 1817, the Ponca people agreed to sign a treaty with the United States and also in 1825signed another one whereby they decided to regulate trade and tried to settle intertribal clashes in the plains.

The Ponca people later signed another treaty and gave up part of their land to the United States in exchange for permanent residence in their Niobrara areas of residence and protection against hostile tribes that regularly attacked the Ponca people. The Ponca lastly signed another treaty known as the Fort Laramie of the Great Sioux Reservation with the United States in 1868 whereby the US mistakenly included it in United reservation of the Sioux Lakota. They claimed all of the land leaving Ponca without any land thus forcing the US to force out the Ponca people out of their ancestral land. The Us Offered another reservation, but the Ponca leaders found out the land unfit to support agriculture their primary source of livelihood whereby they moved to the Indian territories. However, the government later came to force the Ponca people out whereby the Ponca cited their treaty which was revoked and forced out of the region.

The Ponca tribes faced a lot of problems including the US government failed to honor their signed treaties dating back from 1817 to 1865. The Ponca tribe just like other Nebraska tribes were forcefully moved out of their land witnessing their ancestral land shrinking down thus moved to the present US Oklahoma state. The US government signed four differ treaties with the Ponca people whereby the Ponca’s gave a large chunk of land to the government. Later after being moved to the Indian territories present Oklahoma state, they were only given a small piece of land as the residence with limited facilities resulting to a significant number of death after the move to the Indian territories. Later a report by Indian commissioner would reveal that the objective for revoking the signed tries mainly was because there was plan to colonize and take away Ponca people’s land. Also, The Sioux tribe was very hostile towards the Ponca tribe, and they repeatedly attacked them from the western side of Niobrara.



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