The Ponca Tribe

The Ponca Tribe is a relatively small tribe. In 1780, the tribe was estimated at 800 members. Since being relocated to the reservation in Ponca, Oklahoma, abd a few to norteastern Nebraska,the tribe has grown slightly to 939 members. This tribe sent 30 delegates to the congress. The Ponca are so similar to the Omaha, they are often considered to be one people. The Ponca lived under the protection of the powerful Pawnee, who claimed the whole Platte region. Since they have occupyied a subordinate position, they have never been prominent in tribal history.

The Ponca tribe shares many of the same characteristics as the Kiowa.The Ponca had corn and earth-covered lodges, both of which they probably obtained originally from their allies, the Pawnee. Most of them now live in frame houses, but others still prefer theses old time earth-lodges. They wore the prairie moccasin, breech-cloth, and buckskin dress. The men wore the scalp-lock, usually having the rest of the hair braided and hanging down in front on each side of the head. Unlike other tribes who have a build that is sinewy and thin, clear-cut features, the semi-agricultural Ponca show the effect of a partial grain diet in rounder faces and portlier figures.

To see more images from the Indian Congress, visit the Indian Congress Photo Gallery. This collection includes over 500 photographs ofNative Americans, including portraits of individuals, groupphotos of families and photographs of various activities.

The library also has the original "Secretary's Report" from the TransMississippi Exposition. This document includes a section on the The Indian Congress by Mr. W. V. Cox, Secretary of the Government Exhibit Board. It also contains the Report of Captain Mercer, manager of the Indian Congress.

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