Ponca Indian Tribe
Indian Tribes
Native American Indian Nations
Abenaki  Acoma  Algonquin  Anishinaabe  Apache
  Arapaho  Assiniboine  Athabascan  Aztec  Blackfeet  
Blackfoot  Caddo  Cayuga  Cheraw  Cherokee
  Cheyenne  Chickasaw  Chicora  Chinook  Chippewa
  Choctaw  Chumash  Coeur d'Alene
  Comanche  Costanoan  Cree  Creek (Muskogee)  Crow  
Dakota  Delaware  Dene  Edisto  Euchee  Flathead
  Gros Ventre  Gwitchan  Haida  Haudenosaunee  
Havasupai  Hidatsa  Ho-Chunk
  Hopi  Huron  Iowa  Iroquois  Kaw  Kawaiisu
  Kickapoo  Kiowa  
Lakota  Lenape  Lumbee  Maliseet  Mandan  Mattaponi
  Maya  Menominee  Metis  MicMac  Mojave  Mohawk  
Mohegan  Mohican  Monacan  Muscogee  Nanticokes
  Narragansett  Navajo  Nez Perce  
Nipmuc  Odawa  Ohlone  Ojibwe  Omaha  Oneida
Onondaga  Osage  Paiute  Pima  Ponca  Potawatomi  
Powhatan  Pueblo  Quapaw  Sac  Salish  Seminole
  Seneca  Shawnee  Shinnecock  Shoshone
Sioux  Tsalagi  
Tuscarora  Ute  Wea  Wichita  Winnebago  Wyandot
  Yavapai  Yokut  Zuni  
" I was born upon the prairie where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures, and where everything drew free breath. I want to die there, and not within walls." - Ten Bears, Comanche Chief

Family Tree Search

Free Genealogy Search

Free People Search

  Cherokee Indians!

Register for our FREE Newsletter!
Enter your E-mail Address
Enter your First Name
Subscribe    Un-Subscribe  
Received Newsletter Format: Plain Text HTML
This information will not be used for any other purpose
or made available to others for any reason what so ever.
Newsletter includes: American Indian Issues, Genealogy,
Website News, Updates, Etc.

 American Indian Tribes Map & Encyclopedia

Click here to visit Comanche Lodge!

The Ponca are a Native American tribe which currently has about 1300 members and which has its tribal headquarters in Niobrara, Nebraska.

At the time they first appeared in written history, the Ponca lived around the mouth of the Niobrara River, Nebraska. According to tradition they moved there from an area east of the Mississippi just before Columbus' arrival in the Americas. The Ponca appear on a 1701 map by Pierre-Charles Le Sueur, who places them along the Missouri. In 1789, fur trader Juan Baptiste Munier was given an exclusive licence to trade with the Ponca at the mouth of the Niobrara. He founded a trading post at the point where the Niobrara joins the Missouri and found about 800 Ponca residing there. Shortly after that, the tribe was hit by a devastating smallpox epidemic and in 1804, when they were visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition there were only about 200 Ponca. Later in the 19th century, their number rose to about 700. Unlike most other Plains Indians, the Ponca grew maize and kept vegetable gardens.

In 1858 the Ponca signed a treaty where they gave up parts of their land in return for protection and a permanent home on the Niobrara. In 1868 the lands of the Poncas were included in the Sioux Reservation by mistake. The Poncas became thus plagued with raiding Sioux who claimed the land as their own. When Congress in 1876 decided to exile several of the northern tribes to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma, the Ponca were on the list. After inspecting the lands which the US government was offering for their new reservation and finding it unsuitable for agriculture, the Ponca chiefs decided against a move down to this Indian Territory. Hence, when governmental officals came in early 1877 to move the Ponca to their new land, the chiefs refused, citing their their earlier treaty. Most of the tribe refused and had to be moved by force. In their new location, the Ponca struggled with malaria, a shortage of food and the hot climate, and one in four died within the first year.

Chief Standing Bear was among those who had most vehemently protested the tribe's removal. When his eldest son, Bear Shield, lay on his death bed, Standing Bear promised to have him buried on the tribe's ancestral lands. In order to carry out his promise, Standing Bear left the reservation in Oklahoma and travelled back toward the Ponca homelands. He was then arrested for doing so without government permission. This lead to a famous trial, in which it was established for the first time that native Americans are "persons within the meaning of the law" of the United States and that they have certain rights as a result.

In 1881, 26,236 acres (106 kmē) of Knox County, Nebraska were returned to the Ponca and about half of the tribe moved back north. The tribe continued to decline and in 1966, it was officially terminated and its assets were dissolved. However, in the 1970s, efforts started to reinstate the tribe and on October 31, 1990, the Ponca Restoration Bill was signed into law. Currently, the Ponca are trying to rebuild a land base on their ancestral lands.