Guide The Tribe of Seven-Hawks-Dancing

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About —, news of these sacrifices reached the East Coast; it caused a sensation among European Americans. Before this, US Indian agents had counseled Pawnee chiefs to suppress the practice, as they warned of how it would upset the American settlers, who were arriving in ever greater number.

Superintendent William Clark in St. Louis had pointed out the government's view on the ceremony to a visiting Pawnee delegation already in Two Skidi leaders, Knife Chief and his young relative Petalesharo, spearheaded the reformist movement. Knife Chief ransomed at least two captives before a sacrifice. Petalesharo cut loose a Comanche captive from the scaffold in and carried her to safety.

Louis contained the account of a sacrifice. The ancestors of the Pawnees were speakers of Caddoan languages , who had developed a semi-sedentary neolithic lifestyle in valley-bottom lands on the Great Plains.

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Unlike other groups of the Great Plains, they had a stratified society with priests and hereditary chiefs. Their religion included cannibalism and human sacrifice. At first contact, they were distributed widely through modern Oklahoma and Kansas, and they reached modern Nebraska about Other Caddoan-speakers lived to the south, in modern Texas, forming a belt of related populations along the eastern edge of the Great Plains. Their unfortified villages of well-scattered grass lodges and earth lodges reflected an assumption that large raiding parties would not arrive without warning; their inhabitants could not rapidly co-ordinate defense against a large party of enemies.

Some would even hunt buffalo , though without horses this was difficult and dangerous.


The first written records of Caddoans comes from Coronado 's entrada in With cavalry, steel weapons, and guns he had forced his way through the Apaches, Pueblos, and other nations of the modern southeastern US, but they had no gold. Coronado's interpreter repeated rumours or confirmed Coronado's fantasies that gold was to be had elsewhere in a location named Quivira. After more than thirty days journey, Coronado found a river larger than any he had seen before. This was the Arkansas , probably a few miles east of present-day Dodge City, Kansas.

The Spaniards and their Indian allies followed the Arkansas northeast for three days and found Quivirans hunting buffalo. The Indians greeted the Spanish with wonderment and fear, but calmed down when one of Coronado's guides addressed them in their own language.

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Coronado reached Quivira itself after a few more days of traveling. He found Quivira "well settled Coronado believed that there were twenty-five settlements in Quivira. Both men and women Quivirans were nearly naked. Coronado was impressed with the size of the Quivirans and all the other Indians he met.

They were "large people of very good build". He found nothing but straw-thatched villages of up to two hundred houses and fields containing corn, beans, and squash. A copper pendant was the only evidence of wealth he discovered. The Quivirans were almost certainly Caddoans, and they built grass lodges as only the Wichita were still doing by Coronado was escorted to the further edge of Quivira, called Tabas, where the neighboring land of Harahey began. He summoned the "Lord of Harahey" who, with two hundred followers, came to meet with the Spanish.

He was disappointed in his hopes for riches. The Harahey Indians were "all naked — with bows, and some sort of things on their heads, and their privy parts slightly covered". Hyde identifies them as Awahis, the old Caddoan name for the Pawnees, possibly including the ancestors of the Skidis and the Arikara. Another group, the Guas, may have been known later as the Paniouace. He met "Escansaques", probably Apaches, who tried to persuade him to plunder and destroy "Quiviran" villages.

About the Apaches of the Southern Plains obtained horses and metal weapons in sufficient quantity to make them the dread of all their neighbors. For some decades the Pawnees were the victims of intensive raiding by large bands of mounted Apaches with iron weapons, and also by war parties of Chickasaws and Choctaws from the east who had firearms as well. The Siouan groups that became Quapaws , Osages , Omahas , Poncas and Kansas also appeared on the Plains about this time, driven west by the expansion of the Iroquois , and they too raided the Pawnees.

The main form of loot was women and children, to be sold as slaves. In , Apaches brought a large number of captive children to the trading fair in New Mexico , but for some reason there were not enough buyers, so the Apaches beheaded all their slaves in full view of the Spaniards.

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Pawnee became synonymous with "Indian slave" in general use in Canada, and a slave from any tribe came to be called Panis. As early as , a reference was recorded to a Panis in Montreal.

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By when de la Harpe led an expedition to Caddoan lands at the mouth of the Arkansas River , the Pawnees had also acquired horses and metal weapons from French traders, and they were attacking Apaches in turn, destroying their villages and carrying off Apache women and children. In , the Villasur expedition was sent to the Pawnees in an attempt to wean the tribe away from their French connections which had been greatly magnified in Spanish imagination.

Guided mainly by Apaches, and led by an officer without experience of Indians, the expedition approached the Skidi Pawnee villages along the outflow of the Loup River into the Platte River in modern Nebraska. The expedition sent their only Pawnee slave to make contact; he did not obtain any welcome for the Spanish party and he shortly failed to return to the Spanish camp. The Pawnees attacked at dawn, shooting heavy musketry fire and flights of arrows, then charging into combat clad only in paint, headband, moccasins and short leggings. The French responded by sending Bourgmont to make peace in the French interest between the Pawnees and their enemies in He reported that the Pawnee were a strong tribe and good horsemen, but, located at the far end of every trade route for European goods, were unfamiliar with Europeans and were treated like country bumpkins by their southern relatives.

The mutual hatred between Pawnees and Apaches was so great that both sides were cooking and eating many of their captives. In the Mallet brothers visited the Skidi Pawnee. In the Skidis were reported to be ruled by a grand chief who had warriors. From about , smallpox epidemics broke out on the Great Plains, reducing the Skidi from eight large villages in to one by A Pawnee tribal delegation visited President Thomas Jefferson.

Sibley , Major S. Long , among others, began visiting the Pawnee villages. Under pressure from Siouan tribes and European-American settlers, the Pawnee ceded territory to the United States government in treaties in , , , , , and In , they settled on the Pawnee Reservation along the Loup River in present-day Nance County, Nebraska , but maintained their traditional way of life.

They were subjected to continual raids by Lakota from the north and west. Until the s, the Pawnee in what became United States territory were relatively isolated from interaction with Europeans. As a result, they were not exposed to Eurasian infectious diseases, such as measles , smallpox , and cholera , to which Native Americans had no immunity. Epidemics of smallpox and cholera , and endemic warfare with the Sioux and Cheyenne [5] : 85— caused dramatic mortality losses among the Pawnee.

From an estimated population of 12, in the s, they were reduced to 3, by , when they were forcibly constrained to a reservation in modern-day Nance County, Nebraska. The Pawnee won a "hard fought" defensive battle around , when they defeated the whole Cheyenne tribe. In , a combined Indian force of Cheyennes and invited Kiowa and Kiowa Apaches attacked a Pawnee camp in Kansas during the summer hunt. Like other groups of Native American scouts, Pawnee warriors were recruited in large numbers to fight on the Northern and Southern Plains in various conflicts against hostile Native Americans.

Because the Pawnee people were old enemies of the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche and Kiowa tribes, they served with the army for fourteen years between and , earning a reputation as being a well-trained unit, especially in tracking and reconnaissance. As noted above, the Pawnee were subjected to continual raids by Lakota from the north and west. The Pawnee had gained permission to leave the reservation and hunt buffalo.

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The site is known as Massacre Canyon. Because of the ongoing hostilities with the Sioux and encroachment from American settlers to the south and east, the Pawnee decided to leave their Nebraska reservation in the s and settle on a new reservation in Indian Territory , located in what is today Oklahoma. In , the Pawnee requested relocation to Indian Territory Oklahoma , but the stress of the move, diseases and poor conditions on their reservation reduced their numbers even more.

During this time, outlaws often smuggled whiskey to the Pawnee. The teenaged female bandits Little Britches and Cattle Annie were imprisoned for this crime. In most members of the nation moved to Indian Territory, a large area reserved to receive tribes displaced from east of the Mississippi River and elsewhere. The warriors resisted the loss of their freedom and culture, but gradually adapted to reservations.

By , the Pawnee population was recorded by the US Census as Since then the tribe has begun to recover in numbers. In , in preparation for statehood of Oklahoma, the US government dismantled the Pawnee tribal government and civic institutions.