Column: Painting depicts signing of Pawnee treaty

"As early as 1827, Baptist missionaries were urging the creation of a Pawnee Agency for the tribe considered the area’s prominent residents.

In 1833, the roughly 10,000 Pawnee, who lived principally on the Loup and Platte rivers, ceded to the United States all of their land south of the Platte River, comprising “the central one third of the entire state.”

By 1846, most of the Pawnee had moved to new villages in Nance County. Those who remained in their old villages were brutally attacked by their long-time enemy the Sioux.

A subsequent treaty on Aug. 6, 1848, ceded an 80-mile strip along the north bank of the Platte, including today’s Grand Island.

Conditions remained terrible, and in the summer of 1849 alone, over 1,000 Pawnee died of cholera and malnutrition.

In May of 1855, a council was held with the Pawnee and Gen. John Thayer, representing Nebraska Territory. Little came of the dialogue, and by the next year the Pawnee continued suffering from the Sioux as well as constant encroachment by settlers.

In early 1857, a number of Pawnee chiefs were summoned to Table Creek north of Arbor Lodge near Nebraska City by James W. Denver, commissioner of Indian Affairs. By mid September, hundreds of Pawnee had camped north of Nebraska City in anticipation of the meeting."

Get the Story:
Jim McKee: Painting captures J. Sterling Morton and Pawnee treaty (The Lincoln Journal Star 12/13)