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Native American Tribes - N-O

Index  Previous   A  B  C  D  E-I  J-K  L-M  N-O  P  Q-R  S  T-V  W  X-Z  Next

 

Nakota, aka: Yankton, Yanktonai - Nakota is the name they give themselves and means "Allies" or "Confederates," expressing their intimate relationship with the Dakota and Lakhota Sioux tribes. The Yankton lived in the southern part of what is now South Dakota, and the Yanktonai lived to the north. They lived in teepees and were in most other respects of the Plains Culture. They generally displaced the more sedentary Arikara in the north, in the south they fought the Pawnee. They now live on the Crow-Creek and the Lower Brule Reservations in central South Dakota.

 

Mohawk FlagNanticoke - Originally, the Nanticoke lived in Delaware and Maryland. The Nanticoke people were known for their sympathy to escaped slaves, many of whom they sheltered.  Today, many Nanticoke people still live in Delaware, while others have joined the  Delaware (Lenape) and Munsee groups in their forced migrations.

Narragansett - There were more than 10,000 Narragansett in the early 1600s but this had dropped to half that number by 1674.   Narragansett lost almost 20% of their population in a single battle with the English in December of 1675. Massacre and starvation soon killed most of the others. By 1682 less than 500 Narragansett remained. They were allowed to settle with the Eastern Niantic on a reservation at Charlestown, Rhode Island. Though increasingly racially intermixed, the Narragansett have been able to maintain their reservation, organization and population through the years. Federally recognized since 1983, the Narragansett tribal rolls currently list over 2,400 members, most of whom still reside in Rhode Island.

Natchez - The Natchez are a Native American people who originally lived in the Natchez Bluffs area, near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi.  They were a socially advanced people whose language has no known affinities. The Natchez are noted for having distinct social classes which dictated their responsibilities and privileges. Male offspring were of the class next below that of their father, whereas female offspring retained the status of their mothers. In 1729, they had a number of battles with the French and afterwards their social system collapsed and the survivors were either enslaved by the French or given refuge by the Chickasaw, Creek and Cherokee. Today, most Natchez families and communities are found in Oklahoma, mainly within the Cherokee and Creek nations. The last speaker of the language died in 1965.  More ...

Navajo - Native Navajo economy relied on agriculture and livestock such as sheep, goats and horses. They planted fields of corn, beans and squash and practiced hunting and gathering to obtain even more plant foods. Navajo life became difficult after western contact. The whites wanted them to stop raising sheep because of soil erosion and actually killed many of the Navajo's livestock. With the loss of their sheep, they did not know how to support themselves. Many Navajos left the government reservation to seek wage labor. Some served as migrant workers in seasonal harvesting, others went to cities for employment in factories, while others helped with railroad construction and operations. Located in northern New Mexico , southern Utah , and northern Arizona, the Navajo today accept changes made in the past and have made every effort to create a promising future for themselves. More ...

Nauset - Shortly after Columbus' voyage to the New World in 1492, a steady stream of European explorers, fishermen, and adventurers began regular visits to the coast of New England. Located on a landmark as obvious as Cape Cod, the Nauset had contact with Europeans at an early date, but these first meetings were not always friendly. Through the years, the native community at Mashpee has become associated with the Wampanoag, although many of its members are descendents of the Nauset. The current population is about 1,100.

 

Neutrals - The tribe was originally located in southern Ontario north of Lake Erie. Their territory also included a some of western New York (east and south of Niagara Falls) and a portion of southeastern Michigan near Detroit. In 1641 2,000 warriors of the Neutrals attacked a large, fortified Asistagueronon village in central Michigan (presumed by location to have been Mascouten). After a ten-day siege, the village was overrun, and 800 prisoners taken. Women and children were taken back to the Neutrals' villages, but the men were blinded and then left to wander aimlessly in the woods until they starved to death. Eventually, the tribe drifted south, migrating into several other tribes.  Some of the blood of the Neutrals probably still flows in the veins of the Seneca in Oklahoma.

 

Nez Perce FlagNez Perce - The largest ethnic group in the Columbia Plateau, in western Idaho, north east Oregon, and south east Washington, the Nez Perce were closely related to the Cayuse, Tenino and Umatilla tribes to their west. Their name means "pierced noses," given to them by French traders. Acquiring horses in the mid 1700s, they quickly became known for their outstanding horsemanship.  Friendly with the white man at first, this changed when the United States withdrew their reservation status of the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon in 1875. Chief Joseph soon led his band in the Nez Perce War. In 1877, his band was forced to retreat from the Walla Walla tribe, traveling 1,800 miles with the U.S. Army in pursuit. The army caught up with the band in Montana, and Chief Joseph surrendered. In a speech that has become famous, he concluded with "Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more, forever."  More ...

 

Nipmuc - The Nipmuc generally lived along rivers or on the shores of small lakes and seem to have occupied the area for as far back as can be told. Like other New England Algonquin, the Nipmuc were agricultural. They changed locations according to the seasons, but always remained within the bounds of their own territory. Part of their diet came from hunting, fishing, and gathering of wild food, but as a rule they did not live as well as the coastal tribes who had the luxury of seafood. Each group was ruled by its own sachem, but there was very little political organization beyond the village or band level.  Only two identifiable groups of Nipmuc have survived to the present day. Both are recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have nearly 1,400 members, 250 of whom live in Connecticut (which has not recognized the Nipmuc). The Hassanamisco have a small two acre reservation at Grafton, Massachusetts. The Chaubunagungamaug have a privately owned ten acre reservation in northeast Connecticut. Although both groups have applied, neither is federally recognized.

 

 

 

 

 

Navajo Stringing a bow, 1913

Navajo stringing a bow, 1913, photo by Roland Reed.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!

Nootka - A confederacy of twenty or more tribes of mountainous western Vancouver Island who all speak closely related dialects belonging to the Wakashan language family. They had a hunter-gatherer economy with extensive reliance upon fishing, including the hunting of whales. Well crafted dugout canoes were used to ply the ocean. The Sky and Thunder gods were important in their religious beliefs, as were the Wolf Spirits. At a certain point in their lives, Nootka boys were abducted by men impersonating Wolf Spirits. They were taken away and taught wolf songs and dances. In a mock battle before men of the tribe rescued their boys and drove away the Wolf Spirits. The Nootka also practiced the ritual giving away of wealth known as "potlatch," the word itself coming from the Nootka patchatl, "sharing." Today the Nootka live in 18 villages  scattered about western Vancouver.

Ojibwe - The Ojibwe and Chippewa are the same tribe, but are pronounced a little differently due to accent. Ojibwe is used in Canada, although the Ojibwe west of Lake Winnipeg are sometime referred to as the Saulteaux. In the United States, Chippewa was used in all treaties and is the official name.

Omaha - The Omaha were a powerful Siouian nation living in Nebraska. Their name means "those going against the wind or current" and is sometimes shortened to Maha. The Omaha belonged to that section of the Siouan linguistic stock which also included the Ponca, Kansa, Osage, and Quapaw. The Omaha were originally farmers who lived in villages and supplemented their diet with fish and game. However, with the introduction of the horse, they assumed more of the attributes of a plains culture tribes. Their primary enemies were the Sioux. They had many societies, both secret and open. They are well known for their Heducka Dance, a kind of war dance that seems to have derived from the Pawnee. It is also known as the Grass Dance because of the practice of tucking grass into their belts to symbolize enemy scalps. The northern part of the old Omaha reservation was ceded to the Hotcâgara and is now their Nebraska reservation. More ...

 

Onondaga - An important tribe of the Iroquois confederation, formerly living on the mountain, lake, and creek bearing their name, in the present-day Onondaga County, New York, and extending northward to Lake Ontario and southward to the Susquehanna River. Their name means "People of the Hills." On November 11, 1794, the Onondaga Nation, along with the other Haudenosaunee nations, signed the Treaty of Canandaigua with the United States, in which their right to their homeland was acknowledged.  Today, the nation is a member of the Haudenosaunee group of tribes, which have been united for

several hundred years by complementary traditions, beliefs and cultural values. Sometimes referred to as the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations, the Haudenosaunee originally consisted of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations. The Tuscarora migrated from the south and peacefully joined the Confederacy in the early 1700's, bringing to six the number of nations united by Haudenosaunee traditional law. The present-day territory of the Onondaga Nation is approximately 7,300 acres just south of Syracuse, New York with their tribal headquarters located at Nedrow, New York.

 

Osage FlagOsage - Of Siouan linguistic stock and Plains culture, the Osage were situated on the Osage River just south of the Missouri River in what is now western part of the state of Missouri. However, they ranged as far as Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. They call themselves Niúko'nska, "People of the Middle Waters." Most of the year they farmed, living in villages whose dwellings were similar to the lodges of the Winnebego, but when on the tribal hunt, they lived in teepees. One of their hunting techniques was to drive herds of buffaloes off cliffs. The Winnebego occasionally warred against them. They first came in contact with Europeans in the early 1700s, and eventually allied themselves with the French against enemy tribes, and

later became scouts for the U. S. Army. The Osage, being rich in land, subsequently sold most of it to the American Government, from which came oil and mineral fees to the Osage. Today, the Osage Nation claims more than 10,000 members. More ...

 

Oto, Otoe, OH toh - The Otoe were once part of the Siouan tribes of the Great Lakes region, commonly known as the Winnebago. At some point; however, they began to migrate southwest where they were located just north of the Missouri River and west of the Mississippi River in what is now northern Missouri and Iowa. This group eventually split into at least three distinct tribes: the Ioway, the Missouria and the Otoe, who finally settled near the Platte River in southeastern Nebraska. Following the Louisiana Purchase, the Otoe were the first tribe encountered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, meeting at a place that would become known as Council Bluffs. In the earliest times, the Oto lived in villages and practiced farming, but eventually they adopted the culture of the plains. In 1881 they moved to a reservation in Oklahoma with the Missouria. Today the Otoe-Missouria remain a federally recognized tribe, based in Red Rock, Oklahoma.

Ottawa, Odawa - An Algonquain tribe, the Ottawa were closely related to the Anishinaabe and Potawatomie. In the 17th century, the Ottawa occupied the lands north of Lake Huron. The Ottawa and Ojibwe were part of a long term alliance with the Potawatomie tribe, called the Council of Three Fires and which fought the Iroquois Confederacy and the Sioux. The Ottawa allied with the French against the British and the Ottawa Chief Pontiac led a rebellion against the British in 1763. A decade later, Chief Egushawa led the Ottawa in the American Revolutionary War as an ally of the British. In the 1790s, Egushawa again fought the United States in a series of battles and campaigns known as the Northwest Indian War. Most live in their original homeland in southern Ontario and Michigan state, although some Ottawa were deported to Oklahoma by the US government and others assimilated into Ojibway bands. There are about 15,000 Ottawa today.  More ...

Ouachita.- A former Caddoan tribe, the Ouachita resided the Black or Ouachita River in northeast Louisiana. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, a Louisiana colonizer, encountered them in 1700 encountered some of them carrying salt to the Taensa, with whom   they were intending to live.  Later, when Bienville reached the main Ouachita village, he found about five houses that held some 70 men. Some time later, it is thought that the Ouachita Natchitoch and their identity was soon lost. 

 

Continued Next Page

 

Nez Perce tipis in Montana, 1871

Nez Perce tipis in Montana, 1871.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!

 

Navajo weaving, 1915

Navajo weaving, 1915, photo by William J. Carpenter.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

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