Nebraska History

Omaha Indian Family
   You may think that French and Spain were the first to step on the grounds of Nebraska, but you are wrong.  The Pawnee and the Arikaras lived in Nebraska first. These people migrated northward about 500 years ago and made villages in Nebraska. By the eighteenth century, other tribal groups, including the Omaha, Ponca and Oto people, migrated to Nebraska and set up more villages beside the Missouri River. By 1800, there may have been 40,000 native people living in Nebraska.  Spanish and French explorers tried to completly change the indian's culture, but only few of the explorers succeeded in doing so. 

Spanish explorers brought horses to the Plains, and horses changed Native American culture forever. The Pawnees and Omahas began to use horses on their bison hunts to help make traveling easier.  Many other indian tribes began using these wonderful mammals.  Soon, they were using the horses all the time, during war and when hunting.

A second influence that almost changed Indian culture was the beginning of the fur trade in the eighteenth century. The Indians traded  with Europeans and began to use European guns, drink alcohol, and wear European clothing.  Sadly, this trade created some problems. Along with these trade items, the Europeans also brought diseases like measles and smallpox loosing much of the Indian population.  The Indian tribes almost became extinct at that time.  Right before the Indians were about to die out, they stopped tradding.