Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, Inc.

Learning from the Ancestors:  Dr. Karl Reinhard and Sara Leroy-Toren Macy students in class for Learning from the Ancestors.


OTHRP's Significant Accomplishments

Genealogical Research:  Paul Brill, Genealogist. Collecting tribal genealogies and information regarding clan kinship systems and clan names using both oral histories and archival information. Photograph identification, where possible, by tribal members and those in archives are used in conjunction with genealogical information to create family and clan histories. This is an on-going process.

Omaha Archival Photographic Project: John Carter, Nebraska State Historical Society. This project involves the collecting, identifying, documenting, and cataloging of archival photographs and other historical analysis for cultural information. This is an on­going process that could begin in earnest once again with adequate funding.

Wax Cylinder Restoration and Reintroduction of Traditional Omaha Music: Dorothy Sara Lee, University of Indiana. This was a very challenging project as the old wax cylinders of recordings made in the earlier part of the 20th century of traditional Omaha music began a slow and steady deterioration. The project involved total remastering of the old recordings through a painstaking process since the originals were warped and recorded at different speeds. Remastering was extremely difficult in that the "new" recordings had to try and capture the songs without further destruction of the cylinders. Being of wax, heat, dryness, and in some cases, moisture, made the work very difficult. Identification of the different kinds of songs that were recorded was done by John C. Turner, an Omaha tribal elder in the early 1980's. He identified which songs were not only sacred and to be sung at certain times and by certain (currently non-existent) societies or clans, but also the circumstances in which they were to be performed. He also identified songs that were meant only for the ears of certain people.

Omaha Religion Project:  Robin Ridington, University of British Columbia (recontextualizing classic Omaha Ethnography - writing articles and book using inform-ation about traditional Omaha ceremonies and symbols - the book will also make extensive use of archival photographs).

Language Preservation Project: John Koontz, University of Colorado, Boulder (transcribing and documenting Omaha language).

Language Teaching Project:  Using Omaha language in the Macy public school curriculum (techniques will include video and written materials).

Omaha Central Archive Project:  Dr. Stephen Cobb, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa (project will consolidate all available ethno historic records on the Omaha Tribe and archive them at the University of Iowa with duplicate files to be kept in the proposed Interpretative Center.

Omaha Artifact Show: Joe Porter and Marsha Gallagher, Josyln Museum (museum show of Omaha artifacts from museum and private collections around the world).

Legislative Project:  Dennis Hastings, Omaha Tribal Historian and members of the Omaha Tribal Council (lobbying state legislature and assisting in drafting legislation to protect Nebraska Indian Heritage).

Historical Landmarks of the Omaha Tribe:  working to establish heritage sites such as the Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Hospital in Walthill, Nebraska.

Omaha Oral History:  a variety of projects documenting oral history of both Indians and non-Indians relating to their mutual history - one project is to identify people in the tribe who were raised by or knew women with the Mark of Honor and to interview them about their knowledge of the Hon’hewachi traditions.

We Are One” Project:  Dennis Hastings and Nebraska Educational Television (film of traditional Omaha life in 1800 designed for 4th and 5th grade curriculum in Nebraska public schools to educate both Indians and non-Indians).  Wes Studi and Rodney A. Grant began their cinematic careers through their appearances in this film.

“Sunday Morning” with Charles Kuralt:  (documentation of wax cylinder project on national media).

PowWow Film Project:  John Millard (documentation of 1983 Omaha PowWow by Department of Education, University of Nebraska at Omaha - 50 minutes explaining PowWow symbols and practice).

West Meets West:  Awarded 1993 Nebraska Arts Council’s Governor’s Art Awards for West Meets West, a collaborative performance with the City of Omaha Symphony Orchestra of contemporary Omaha tribal and symphonic music.

Maximillian and Bodmer Film:  Greg Fisher, New York. Educational television production concerning Prince Maximillian of Weide, Germany, and Bodmer contact with the Omaha's and the He'thush'ka (pow-wow) dance. Interviews with Dennis Hastings to facilitate cultural awareness.

"Dancing to Give Thanks":  Film, 1990 Award for Excellence. The "pow-wow in Nebraska is the focus of a successful collaboration among film makers, anthropologists and the Omaha Tribe. The film presents the still deeply felt spiritual and traditional values of the Omahas, although the values are under constant change, but still strongly present in both young and older dancers. A history of the collaboration with anthropologists dates back to Fletcher and La Flesche.

Return of the Sacred Pole:   Documentation of the return of the Omaha's "Venerable Man", or the "True Omaha", in writing, film and audiotape. The Tribe collaborated with the Peabody Museum of Harvard University along with Joan Mark, Robin Ridington, and other Peabody Museum officials for the return of the Sacred Pole to the Tribe in 1989. The discussions centered primarily on how the last Keeper of the Pole, in 1888 allowed Fletcher and La Flesche to remove the Pole to the Museum for safekeeping.

Return of All Omaha Tribal Artifacts from Peabody Museum:  1989. The Omaha Tribal Council worked with the staff of the Peabody Museum, as coordinated by Dennis Hastings, for the return of all the artifacts held by the Museum. Their return involved special agreements with the Museum at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, until such time the Tribe could assume possession by the completion of its own museum, i.e., the Interpretive Center. Significant among these artifacts is the Sacred White Buffalo Robe, symbolizing the buffalo hunting society that were the Omahas and one of the Sacred Pipes.

The Omahas and the History of Anthropology:  Joan Mark, Peabody Museum. This project is by Joan Mark working on books and articles regarding the history of anthropology, particularly her interest in the works of Francis La Flesche. She also assisted the Tribe in re-establishing relations with the Peabody Museum.

New Moon Moving, Interpretive Center/Museum:  Starting in 1995, the proposed Interpretive Center/Museum was designed by native Nebraskan architect, Vincent Snyder with an actual model of the design completed in 2002.  Mr. Snyder’s professional career includes associations with the noted architects Michael Graves (1986-88), where he was a design team member for the Walt Disney Headquarters Building in Burbank, California; and with Frank Gehry and Associates (1988-94), where he served a number of roles as design team member, Project Designer and Senior Associate, most notably with projects such as Festival Euro-Disneyland, Paris, France, and the Vitra Headquarters, AG, Basel, Switzerland. The design for this project has already won three awards:

             Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture
                   Faculty Design Award 2002

             Boston Society of Architects' Unbuilt Architecture
                   Design Award 2002

             50th Annual Progressive Architecture Award
                   Architecture Magazine 2003

             Yapi, a monthly journal on art, architecture and culture,
                    Istanbul Turkey, September 2002

             A 90 second movie of the museum project was used as an
                    exhibit in Verona, Italy in 2003 along with many
                    famous American and European architects that are 
                    doing other projects in stone. New Moon Moving 
                    qualifies for this exhibit because it is covered in slate.

Presentation of New Moon Moving at Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center:  A public presentation in Omaha Nebraska of Vincent Snyder’s model of the Interpretive Center/Museum design along with a talk and slide show of the development of the design by Mr. Snyder.

OTHRP Online:  2002, OTHRP joins the Jackalope Arts website. 2004, OTHRP website becomes bilingual with the addition of a French translation.  2006, OTHRP adds an Arabic translation. 

Indian Child Welfare:  A compilation of the Omaha culture including web sites and a language workbook was completed for the Indian Child Welfare Agency in Macy.  The project, underwritten by funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was designed to give a basic background for children who were adopted out of the tribe and their adoptive parents as well as adults who were finding their way back to the tribe.

Learning from the Ancestors:  Dr. Karl Reinhardt's studies of the bones of the Omaha before they were repatriated for reburial.

             Humanities, National Humanities Council, December 2002

198th Omaha Tribal He’dewachi:  A pictorial booklet designed to give the history of the modern Powwow which originated with the Omaha Tribe.  It was funded by the Nebraska Humanities Council, CasinOmaha and the tribal owned Fuel Plaza.  Featuring historic photographs of past He’dewachi and featuring excerpts from classic anthropological interviews by Francis LaFlesche, this booklet gives history back to the people.

Wau in the Window:  An outdoor mural based on a historic 1920s photograph.  This mural is located just above Macy on Highway 75 one mile north of the Highway 94 turnoff to Walthill.  Honoring Omaha Women, the work, a collaboration between Dennis Hastings and local artist Margery Coffey, is a prototype for future mural projects aimed at restoring pride in Omaha history.  This project was funded by a grant from the Nebraska Arts Council.

Voice of America:  Interview with Dennis and Margery concerning OTHRP's programs and New Moon Moving.  Translated into Croatian for broadcast.

Bringing the past to the future: An OTHRP project in the making is placement of pictures in the various institutions on the reservation. Sixty pictures have gone up in the Umonhon Nation Public Schools including a special "Hall of Honor" for Hampton Institute students. Pictures have already been placed at the Carl T. Curtis Medical Center’s Dinning Room and Lobby. A Nebraska State Humanities Council grant helped this project. Thirty pictures are being placed at the Walthill Public Schools on the reservation.

Learning from the Ancestors: Dr. Karl Reinhard and Sara Leroy-Toren teach a class at Umonhon Nation Public Schools called "Learning from the Ancestors", based upon the forensic work of Dr. Reinhard for the Omaha Tribe.

Omaha Classes in Egypt:  In 2005 Dr. Wael A. Abdelhameed, Assistant Professor of Architecture is using the plans of New Moon Moving as an exemplary example of organic and cultural architecture in his classroom.  In 2006 Dr. Ikram Elsherif is teaching Native American Literature and Omaha Culture. South Valley University in Sohag, Egypt.


Shot from the making of "We Are One" a Nebraska Educational Television production.



To contact  OTHRP, INC. directly:

RR 1 Box 79A
Walthill, NE 68067

A museum for the people, built by the people to house the artifacts and sacred items taken from the people over a century ago.  Help right a historic wrong by being a part of the return of a culture, make a donation with or without a purchase.

If you enjoyed our site or use information found on this site in your academic or professional research, please show it by making a donation to our Interpretive Center/Museum project. People helping people makes the world a better place. 

This site is the work of an all volunteer multi-cultural group of people.  We update it regularly so that it is timely and useful.  It is constantly expanding as we bring new information and new art pieces to the public.  This is a free service given willingly by people who believe in promoting artisans and in helping the Omaha people built their museum for their artifacts and sacred objects that were finally returned to them in 1991.  We ask that you join us by telling others about the site and to make a donation to the museum.  Every little bit helps.

All donations are USA tax deductible.

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