Omaha Shield


                                     Photograph courtesy OTHRP Archives

Young Omaha Woman and child

Umonhon Historical Timeline:


1630 Oral tradition records first contact with European (probably French traders)

1673-74 Louis Jolliet and Father Jaques Marquette with five other Frenchmen started down the Mississippi River in two canoes.  At the end of June they passed by the mouth of the Missouri and became the first known white men to see the river.  Marquette Map shows the Umonhon close to the Otoe and Ioway

1702 LeSueur supplied additional information to the mapmaker Delisle when he returned to France.  Delisle's 1702 map shows a "village des Mahas" on a tributary of the Missouri

1708 Sioux War Count Hides: Brought home Omaha horses.

1714 Etienne Veniard de Bourgmand, a young French officer, visits an Umonhon village 200 leagues above the Platte River, possibly a White River village.  The Ponca have wandered to the Black Hills; they returned and accompanied the Umonhon (Chouteau Creek near Lake Andes) farther perhaps than any white man has ascended before him.

1718 Delisle map depicts the "Maha, 'a wandering nation'" the village is also depicted on the west bank of a tributary of the "Big Sioux"

1723 Renaudiere: Summarizing information gained from vayageure states that the Maha were 90 leagues above the mouth of the Platte on the north bank.

1725 Sioux War Count Hides: Brought home ten Omaha horses

1731 Sioux War Count Hides: Came from killing one Omaha and danced

1743 Sioux War Count Hides: The Omahas came and killed them in the night

1744 Sioux War Count Hides: Brought home Omaha horses

1751 Sioux War Count Hides: Omahas came and killed two in the lodge

1752 Sioux War Count Hides: Destroyed three lodges of Omahas

1758 Governor Dekerlerec's report places the Maha 80 leagues above the Iowa, who in turn are 10 leagues above the Platte.  Report also says that the Omaha are still little known to the French. Sioux War Count Hides: Killed two Omahas who came to camp on the war path

1762 Treaties between France and Spain for the cession of Louisiana to the latter. -- Don Caferino Cevallas, archivist of the Department of State, Spain.  Done at Fontainebleau, on the 3rd of November 1762.  Sioux War Count Hides:  Brule/Omaha hostilities in the Baptiste.  Good winter count.

1775 Pedro Piernas [Lieutenant Governor of upper Louisiana] reported from St. Louis May 19 on the nations with which we are accustomed to trade in pelts in the dependency of the Missouri River.  The Mahas were on his list.

1777 Franciso Cruzat's [Spanish trader Lieutenant Governor of Upper Louisiana} reports to the Spanish Crown show that the Omaha were enmeshed in the expanding trade network of the Europeans.  Cruzats lists two traders, August Chouteau and Sylvestre Labbadie and three others who had been granted licenses to trade among the Omaha and their chief is said to be "El Pajaro Negro" [Blackbird]

1777-1800 Blackbird's chieftainship.

1780's-90's After the rise of Blackbird as chief of the Omaha, an Omaha leader named Little Bow seceded with 200 followers and reoccupied the vicinity of the mouth of Bow Creek.  This village is not mentioned by any of the narrators of traditional history but is prominent among early explorers.  This village was abandoned before 1794-95.  Probably when Little Bow died and the village could not hold out against Dakota groups.

1790 Jacques d'Eglise was licensed in August to hunt on the Missouri; presumably started upriver in the late summer.  At the Omaha Village he met Pierre Montarty and got more trading goods.

1793 Pedro Vial and his two companions left St. Louis.  The Mahas who were located about 30 leagues distant had about 1,100 warriors.  James Mackay was born in Scotland and came to America about 1776.  He was first employed by the British in Northwest Territory, and later in 1793 he changed allegiance to the Spanish.  He was chosen to be manager of the Missouri Company's affairs on the upper Missouri.

1795 James Mackay [Scottish-born] Spanish citizen went on his third expedition with 33 men.  He set out from St. Louis in late August on a journey which was intended to open up commerce in the unknown parts of the upper Missouri, and to attempt explorations as far as the Pacific.  They arrived at the Omaha Village of Chief Blackbird on November 11, 1795.  At Maha village some distance above, Mackay built a fort and trading post where he spent the winter but he sent his lieutenant, the Welshman John Evans, to explore farther upstream.  Mackay named the fort, Fort Charles, after King Charles of Spain.

1796 El Barkon de Carondalet:  At the city of New Orleans in May a commission as chief of the Me'has was presented to Wa'shing'a'sar'be [Blackbird].


                                     Photograph courtesy OTHRP Archives

Young Omaha boy and girl







     Omaha Bustle


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