The Ponca Tribe


The Ponca Tribe

Second Edition

James H. Howard
Introduction by Donald N. Brown
New introduction by Judi M. gaiashkibos

240 pages
57 illustrations, 1 map


June 2010


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The culture of the Ponca Indians is less well known than their misfortunes. A model of research and clarity, The Ponca Tribe is still the most complete account of these Indians who inhabited the upper central plains. Peaceably inclined and never numerous, they built earth-lodge villages, cultivated gardens, and hunted buffalo. James H. Howard considers their historic situation in present-day South Dakota and Nebraska, their trade with Europeans and relations with the U.S. government, and, finally, their loss of land along the Niobrara River and forced removal to Indian Territory. 
The tragic events surrounding the 1877 removal, culminating in the arrest and trial of Chief Standing Bear, are only part of the Ponca story. Howard, a respected ethnologist, traces the tribe’s origins and early history. Aided by Ponca informants, he presents their way of life in his descriptions of Ponca lodgings, arts and crafts, clothing and ornaments, food, tools and weapons, dogs and horses, kinship system, governance, sexual practices, and religious ceremonies and dances. He tells what is known about a proud (and ultimately divided) tribe that was led down a “trail of tears.”
The Ponca Tribe was originally published in 1965 as a bulletin of the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology.

Author Bio

James H. Howard (1925–82) is the author of The Canadian Sioux. Donald N. Brown was a professor of sociology at Oklahoma State University.
Judi M. gaiashkibos, an enrolled member of the Ponca tribe of Nebraska, is executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs and president of the Governor’s Interstate Indian Council. 


"Dr. Howard has presented a workable, concise monograph on the Ponca tribe and the book will be useful for many kinds of references."—Carol K. Rachlin, American Antiquity

Table of Contents

   Northern Ponca informants
   Southern Ponca informants
   Phonetic key
   Ponca History, by Peter Le Claire
Enter the Long-Knives
The Ponca "Trail of Tears"
Material culture and housing
Dress and adornment
Learning and art
Social organization
Religion, dances and ceremonies, and games
   Sports and games
War and peace
Life cycle
Northern Ponca-Southern Ponca: differential acculturation
Literature cited

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