Red Cloud - 1822-1909 - Oglala Sioux leader. - Move mouse pointer over name to see comment.
Red Cloud


Geronimo - 1829-1909 - Apache leader. - Move mouse pointer over name to see comment.


Sitting Bull - 1834-1890 - Hunkpapa Sioux leader. - Move mouse pointer over name to see comment.
Sitting Bull


Chief Joseph - Move mouse pointer over name to see quote.
Chief Joseph


Favorite Natives


Favorite Native Music



Omaha & Neighbors

    Council Bluffs
    Sioux City
    Sioux Falls
    Grand Island
    Des Moines
    Cedar Rapids
    Iowa City
    North Platte
    Kansas City
    St. Louis


NE Neighbors

    South Dakota


Smokin'!Smokin'!Smokin'!Learn more.

Each of the Pow Wow info blocks below are displayed for approximately 45 days prior and throughout the event. Some larger events with websites may be displayed much earlier to help with vacation planning (as much as 120 days).

 Each event is outlined in a box. If an event date has been confirmed, the background color of the entire box will have a blueish cast to it. Keep in mind that even though an event is shown as being confirmed, sometimes the event cooridinators will still change the date, but not inform us, so make sure you verify a date before showing up.

Some events have two different colored border lines. The color of the outermost border indicates whether there is a web address for the event. The box color will be either Gold or Red. Gold is for events that have a web site. Red indicates there is no web site, so you cannot click the details to get more information. For those that do, the text and link is in lilac color, with the Gold border; the others are in light blue, with a Red border.

 If the event has two border lines, the inner box line color provides more information. An event may be canceled. In this case, the inside box is a solid cyan color. It may be canceled for just one year, or it could be canceled for all future events. An event may also be postponed. In this case, the inside box is a dashed purple color. It may be postponed for the year, or it may be rescheduled for a later date in the same year. Cyan = Canceled. Purple = Postponed.

For 2020, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, some events have switched to a "Virtual" event (all online), and others have put on a "Limited" event. For example, the Doouglas County Fair had a Limited event, meaning that the participants in competitions were allowed, but the crowds were not. The Earth Day Omaha had a "Virtual" event; everything was done online.

The colors of the inner box were chosen using the first letter of "Virtual" and "Limited." "Virtual" events use Violet as the color, but the line is a dashed line. "Limited" events use Lime as the color, but the line is a dashed line.

Lime = Limited. Violet = Virtual

Occasionally, an event comes to an end permanently, although we may not have the information that informs us that is the case. Every year, each event has to be confirmed to ensure the dates are correct. If we cannot locate information that confirms an event is still going on three years in a row, there is a good change the event has ended permanently but we do not know the details about its demise. In that case, the inner box color will be DarkPink. You should take this into consideration if you are planning to attend one of these events.

Regardless of the other details, if an event date has been confirmed, the background of the box will have a blue cast to it.



Annual Ft Union Indian Arts Showcase & Northern Plains Oyate Pow Wow
(First full weekend in August)
Confirmed (2020):
Saturday, Sunday
August 1-2, 2020
(was 11-12 days ago)

Fort Union Trading Post:
15550 Highway 1804
Williston, ND 58801

(Google Maps and Satellite maps logo)
Charla Crazy Bull
Loren Yellow Bird

63rd Annual Fort Randall Wacipi (Yankton Sioux).
(First full weekend in August)
Original date unconfirmed: (2020-08-07)
Fri, Sat, Sun
August 7-9, 2020
(was 4-6 days ago)

Lake Andes Powwow Grounds
Yankton Sioux Reservation
Lake Andes, SD 57356

(Google Maps and Satellite maps logo)
Eunice Penton: 605-491-2783
Office: 605-384-3641
More info

2020 Canton Barefoot Park Pow Wow
(88th Annual ).
(4th Weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun))
Never confirmed before being Canceled: (COVID-19 Pandemic)
Fri, Sat, Sun
August 21-23, 2020

Canton, OK 73724

(Google Maps and Satellite maps logo)
Tom Cartwright
Christina Birdshead
Arnick Birdshead
Cincie Upchego


101st Annual Southern Ute Fair Powwow
(2nd Weekend in September)
Unconfirmed (but based on the most recent confirmed year (2019):
2nd Weekend in September):

Fri, Sat, Sun
September 11-13, 2020
(in 29 days)

Sky Ute Fairgrounds
Ignacio, CO 81137

(Google Maps and Satellite maps logo)
Hilda Burch: 970-946-5175
Heather White Thunder
David Lopez: 970-553-0671
Dona Frost: 970-553-9291
Rochelle Aguilar
Tricia Leroy: 970-553-9197
Kayla Armstrong

Totem pole just for decoration.


Omaha Nation (umaNhaN)


The Omaha nation are from the Dhegiha Siouan language family group, which also includes the Ponca, Quapaw, Osage, and Kansa peoples.  Each member's language is slightly different although it is known that the language of the Omaha nation is mutually intelligible with the Ponca, who lived nearby during the early days of Omaha City.*

Omaha/Mahar/Umonhan Nation Name 

The tribal name meaning is questionable as there are more than one reference explaining its translation.  One reference says that it is derived from a word meaning, "those that go upstream (against the current)."  This phase is used to explain that the Maha nation were a clan that separated from a larger nation and then traveled upstream (up the Missouri River) to establish a new home.  The place they settled was near the Omaha reservation area way north of present day Omaha.  The location was above a stream they named E-ro-ma-ha.  Later the pronunciation evolved into Omaha as understood by the early white visitors to the area.  The nation itself became known as the Omaha nation.

Howard Wolf,* local Omaha Native American and Omaha Nation historian tells the story that somewhere around 1200 to 1400, natives moved from the Ohio River Valley area to settle nearer to our area.  On their journey, they encountered a river that was difficult to cross.  One group made it across but the remaining were split, part were trapped on a sandbar and the others were still on the opposite shore.  A windstorm came up and blew gray sandy soil all over the heads of the ones trapped on the sandbar.  The ones on the opposite shore jokingly called them bha-quda, meaning gray head.  Eventually the ones trapped on the sandbar came across.  They became known as the Iowa nation.  Those on the opposite side floated downstream and became known as the Osage, Kansa, Kaw, and Quapa nations.  The first group, referred to the group that made it across, were known as Umaha, which has become to be known to mean "against the stream" due to the Umaha being upstream from the ones that settled further downstream.  The word was later misinterpreted by the Europeans as Omaha.  It is possible that Lewis and Clark's own interpretation of umaNhaN, spelled out phonetically as Mahar influenced later interpretations of the name to become oo-mah-hah, and later oo-ma-ha.

Another interesting version of how the natives became known as the Omaha nation was retold when Jesse Lowe (Omaha's first mayor) suggested the name for the city of Omaha.

Jesse Lowe, one of the first Council Bluffs businessmen to stake out plots of land in the Omaha area suggested the city be named after the Omaha Nation, and told the story of how they got their name.  It was based on a traditional story the Omaha Indians had preserved, in that two nations had met at the Missouri River and engaged in an encounter in which all on one side were killed but one, who had been thrown into the river.  Rising suddenly from what was thought to be a watery grave, he lifted his head above the surface and pronounced the word "Omaha,"* which had never been heard before.  The meaning was that the supposedly drowning Indian was above the water and not under it as his enemies supposed, and those that heard it took that word as the name of the nation.*  This account is reported in The History of Nebraska, Volume I, written in 1882.

Missionaries appeared in the area somewhere in the early 1800s, not long after Lewis and Clark passed through.  One reference that comes from the Episcopalian church history lists the name as Omaha in 1836, however, the book was written in 1998 so the name might have been translated to a more common usage than was used in 1836.


Early on, the Omaha nation were among the North American natives that lived in earth dwellings and sometimes used bark lodges.  During times they were on the move, especially during hunting expeditions, they used the four pole tipi (teepees), covered in skins due to its flexibility.  The ease in setup-teardown, plus the poles covered with skins could be dragged by dogs (and later horses*) to transport cargo or even the elderly.  At the time the early settlers reached the Missouri River, the Omaha natives were observed living in a mixture of teepees (tipi) and mound homes.  The mound homes were not a quick build home; they required a two year preparation.  The mound is built from a buildup of dirt and prairie grasses or other plants.  The floor was made of fired clay in order that it could be cleaned easily by sweeping.  Even though there were a lot of similarities, each home was different in how they were decorated or the plants used on the mound.  Inside, the homes used a common circular layout.  Beds were made between support poles, women to the left of the entrance near where the food was prepared, and the men and boys on the right of the entrance, ready to protect the family from intruders or other dangers.

The Omaha nation migrated several times during the 16th and 17th Centuries, ranging from the Minnesota and Wisconsin area and later on settled near Sioux City, Iowa where the Missouri River and Big Sioux River meet.  This is where the Lewis and Clark Expedition met them during 1804.  This area was known as Big Village.  It was settled around 1790 and the Omaha nation remained in this area for 95 years, abandoning the area around 1845.*  In 1802, smallpox nearly decimated many nations including the Omaha nation.  Also during the Big Village era, the Omaha nation were in continued conflict with the Sioux nations, causing them to move further south, closer to Omaha.

The Omaha nation lived north of the Platte River in the middle 1800s.  Near Omaha, the Platte curves south as it heads to Plattsmouth.  In this area was where the majority of the Omaha nation lived when the early settlers started crossing the Missouri by the middle of the 19th century.

The largest gathering of the Omaha nation (approximately 1,300) was situated about three miles west of Bellevue.  The leader of the Omaha nation at the time was Big Elk (Ong-pa-ton-ga), who had thrown a block across the Missouri River around the Mormon Bridge area, charging anyone that came upstream or downstream to allow them to pass.

Interaction with settlers

Big Elk was instrumental in making arrangements for the Mormons to stay closer to the Missouri River (than the first encampment they had decided on) when other Indian nations were in disagreement over how much rent should be paid for staying on their lands.  Sadly, Big Elk journeyed to the great pow-wow in the sky the same year (1846).  He is buried in Bellevue's Pioneer Cemetery.  Big Elk was the last full-blooded chief of the Omaha nation.

Following the settling of Omaha City, the Omaha nation were an important part of the early area history.  Big Elk's grandson, Logan Fontenelle meshed well with the white settlers and left his own influence on the city of Omaha and nearby communities.  As an example, for a period of time during the middle to late 1800s, the town of Fontanelle* was a prominent community on the Elkhorn River.* Fontenelle Boulevard was the trail out of town to same, the fabulous Fontenelle Hotel was the grandeur hotel of its time, and now the Fontenelle Nature Association carries on the tradition of appreciating nature and our environment, all inspired by one man.  Although no one knows the exact spot, Logan Fontenelle is buried in Fontenelle Forest.*


The treaty of March 16th, 1854 ceded all Omaha native lands to the United States, except for Thurston County in northeast Nebraska.  A second treaty of March 6th, 1865 sold the northern part to accommodate the Winnebago Reservation.

Of note

A delegation of the Omaha nation was represented at the 1898 Trans-Mississippi International Exposition and Indian Congress in Omaha.


The Omaha nation continues to be a strong Native American nation.  The community has profited from a casino operated by the nation.  Against harsh realities, there is no better example of survivor and no better choice for the name of a great city.


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