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Welcome to the Ponca Tribe Archives of the state of Oklahoma!

The name Ponca is a combination of Siouan dialects and has a symbolic connotation of 'sacred head.' References to the Ponca historical records include the variations la Pong, Panka and Punka.

The Ponca are one of five Indian tribes--Omaha, Ponca, Osage, Kansa and Quapaw--that form the group known as the Dhegiha in the Siouan linguistic family. Their dialect is the same as that of the Omaha, with whom they were usually associated, and is similar to the Quapaw tribal language.

In the early 1600's, the Dhegiha tribes migrated east to the Atlantic Coast of Virginia and the Carolinas, and then back west to the Mississippi River, where they divided. The first division (the Quapaw group) went downstream to the Arkansas River; the other four tribes (the Omaha group) moved upstream to the mouth of the Osage River in present Missouri, where they eventually separated. The Ponca then settled in southwest Minnesota and the Black Hills of South Dakota, where they were later joined by the Omaha.

After ceding their lands in 1858, the Ponca were assigned a reservation along the Niobrara River in Nebraska. In 1865, the Ponca ceded one-third of their reservation to the U.S.. But in 1876, without notifying the tribe, Congress claimed the rest of Ponca lands and provided for their removal to Indian Territory. Disheartened, a group of Ponca left their reservation to return to their Nebraska homelands, where they were arrested, tried and released. Their unfair treatment caused a national scandal, and the resulting government investigations secured better conditions for them.  One tribal band was granted homestead allotments on their old reservation on the Niobrara River, where they became known as the 'Cold Country Ponca' or 'Nebraska Ponca.' The Ponca who settled on the Salt Fork River in I.T. became known as the 'Hot Country Ponca.'


Ponca Tribe Archivist
Position open

Gene Phillips -State Archivist

Linda Simpson - Archivist-Indian Nations/Indian Territory 

Help the Ponca Tribe Archives grow, kindly submit your data.

If you have any cemetery records, bible records, deeds, applications for citizenship in the  Ponca Tribe, land patents, probate records, allotment records, etc, that pertain to the Ponca Tribe, please send them to me as an attachment in an e-mail to Interim File Manager. Please be sure to identify that it is for the  Ponca Tribe. It also needs to be a plain text file, no HTML and no images. This ensures that everybody will be able to read it, no matter what kind of web browser. Here is a help file.

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  Last Updated: 29 Aug 2009