Official OTHRP Newsletter
August 2004
Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project (OTHRP)
New Moon Moving Interpretive Center/Museum

RR 1 Box 79A Walthill, NE 68067 * * * * 402-846-5454

Senator wants government
 to apologize to Native tribes

Kansas City Star reporter Scott Canon revealed that U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback -- R-Kansas has sponsored a resolution apologizing "to all Natives peoples on behalf of the United States."  He lists a few reasons as to why such an action should be considered, such as: the deadly Trail of Tears march of Cherokee from North Carolina to Oklahoma and the broader federal policies, now seen as racist that killed people and shattered cultures.  The resolution closes with this disclaimer: "Nothing in this Joint Resolution authorizes any claim against the United States or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States." 

Many Indian groups welcome the apology, but say action to reverse treaty violations would make the gesture more meaningful.  "An apology is just where you start," said Deana Jackson, spokesperson Diné Nation.  "Now let's see you step to the plate and do what you promised you would do."

Dennis Hastings, MA, Omaha, found the idea of an apology odd and inadequate.  "In a way, you look at it as nice.  But it's a little late and too far gone," said Hastings, the Director of the Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, Inc.  We want to resolve the issues before they put their sorry on the board.  I'd rather have them go home and read about our history and have their children read about our history, and then come and talk with us about it with a little meaning."

"Instead," said historian Fergus Bordewich, a consultant to OTHRP and author of Killing the White Man's Indian, "the resolution treats the complex clash between American Indians and the federal government in only the broadest of terms.  Some tribes suffered much more severely in their dealings with the government than others," he said  "Sometimes treaties bullied tribes -- that's how Hastings talks about an 1854 pact that he believes stole millions from the Omaha -- and sometimes deals served the interests of both sides."

"Not everything happened in the same way in every place," Bordewich said.  It's a very tragic history however you measure it.  The government has a lot to be sorry about.  But a blanket apology doesn't really recognize the complexity."

"These weren't just random or ad hoc actions of bad white people.  These were the official actions of the United States Government," said Susan Harjo, who belongs to the Cheyenne and Muscogee Nations  and is president of the Morning Star Institute, a tribal advocacy group.

"It's perfectly in order to apologize."  But Harjo said acts of good faith should follow -- forcing the return of Indian burial remains from museums, for instance.  Even then, "no living native person has the right to accept" the apology, she said.  "It's too big," Harjo said.  "Too much was done for too long, and too many people suffered."

The Kansas City Star May 31st article was picked up by the Knight Ridder chain of newspapers and published nationally.

Jackalope Arts .org links with Ukraine

OTHRP was surprised to hear from an Art Gallery located in the Ukraine. Lugansk Art Gallery "is a selling paintings art gallery, that offers you remarkable drawings, sculpture and paintings for sale.

A quick look at their site proved their claim was quite true.  Many lovely works of art are being offered there from places all over the world.  We are one of the few that will be representing both the Omaha Nation and the United States.


New Moon Moving

Detailed Sketches of the Main Entrance


Coverage in Turkey!

 Cutaway sketch by Vincent Snyder showing the wrap around concept of the sculpture piece and the placement of the Clan Names at the entry level.

Omaha Kültür ve Tanitim Müzesi, Nebraska

The Omaha Cultural and Interpretive Centre, Nebraska

In a seven page spread, the Turkish magazine, Yapi 250, featured Vincent Snyder's design for the Omaha Interpretive Center/Museum known as Tae'ah'thee.  A brief translation in English accompanied the article by Mimari Tasarim:

The main aim of the project is to house the Umon’hon’ti or Sacred Pole (also known as the Venerable Man or Great Omaha), which is regarded as a living being in Native American culture. The Sacred White Buffalo Hide and 250 other objects belonging to their ancestors which were kept at the Harvard Peabody Museum for a century, have now been removed from the museum’s guardianship and restored to the Omaha tribe. The museum covers an area of 4180 sq m and will not only be used for housing and exhibiting the Umon’hon’ti and other sacred objects, but incorporate conference rooms, multipurpose rooms for social activities, classrooms, a library, an Omaha restaurant and a limited number of tribal offices.

The design is shaped on the one hand by important symbolic considerations, and on the other by the limitations of a difficult programme. Keeping in view the importance attached by Omaha culture to the principle of duality, the main considerations have been to create a building that clearly expresses the Omaha, that alludes to an honourable and firmly rooted past, and that at the same time heralds a future of hope. In terms of its programme, the building must both be seen as allowing for the independent operation of diverse functions and in doing so save energy. The above considerations gave rise to a design which emphasises the necessity for intercultural dialogue, represented by the relationship between figurative elements referring to myths and heavenly bodies and an inset quadrilateral with circular beginnings. The principal elements which come to the fore in the design are the domination of dualities, the consecration of nature, and the link between the significant orientations. All of these are primary guides in understanding the ‘place in the world’ of the Omaha individual.


The Horned Rabbit strikes again! -- A World of Knowledge, a community of sites dedicated to providing high-quality informative web content -- has requested a mutual link with Jackalope Arts as part of their entry under Jackalope.  A novel approach to an encyclopedia, we accepted their kind offer immediately.

                                                                        Foster Webster collection.
Two Omaha on horseback. 


Talking Leaf
Official Quarterly Newsletter for
Omaha Tribal Historical

Research Project, Inc. (OTHRP)

New Moon Moving
Interpretive Center/Museum


Publisher Dennis Hastings
Editor Margery Coffey

Published by
Omaha Tribal Historical
Research Project, Inc. (OTHRP)
RR 1 Box 79A Walthill, NE 68067
1-402-846-5454 or 1-402-863-2522

© 2004 Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, Inc. (OTHRP)

Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, Inc., is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational and charitable organization registered in the State of Nebraska. Program and financial information can be received by sending a note or letter, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to OTHRP, or by contacting the Secretary of State, State of Nebraska, P.O. Box 94608 Lincoln, Nebraska 68509, where such records are also on file.

Parlez vous Français?

Thanks to the hard work of Ivan Ozbolt and his helpers Sophie Gergaud and Romain Tesler, the OTHRP section of is being translated into French.  Here at OTHRP headquarters we have been asked, "Why French?" There are several very good reasons.  First of all, the French were the first to discover the Omaha and many of them married into the tribe.  Secondly, French is second only to English as being the most common diplomatic language and is widely spoken throughout the world.  Since the Internet is world-wide, it makes sense to become bilingual in order to reach a wider base of people. For a third reason, it may help French families find their Omaha relatives.  Last but not least, our Parisian contact, Mr. Ozbolt volunteered to do all of it for free.  OTHRP is very appreciative of the hard work Mr. Ozbolt and his helpers Sophie Gergaud and Romain Tesler have done for us.

Wi'btha'han ewithe wongithe!
[thank you all my relatives!]

wathi hu is the Umonhon way of saying painting
 while gaxe is the word meaning to make or create.

Photograph courtesy of St. Luke's HEALTHLINE

Margery Coffey, OTHRP's Administrative Assistant donating one of her "Omha" paintings called "Respect" to St. Luke's hospital in Sioux City, Iowa.


Living on the Prairie

Western botany classification has changed since Gilmore’s day. Not all of the plants he found have been identified under the current system. Therefore readers should not use this guide as a field guide. Any wild plants should be identified by an expert before eaten. For example the classification Agaricaceae contains both poisonous and eatable mushrooms. The difference between the types may be small such as the time of year that they are found but the physical reaction is not.  One may be poisonous while the other is fine to eat.

Lycoperdaceae, Lycoperdon Gemmatum Batsch., Calvatia Cyathaformis (Bose.) Morg., Botvista Plumbea pers. Puffball."
Hokshi chekpa (Dakota), "baby's navel" (hokshi, baby; chekpa, navel).

The Pawnee name is Kaho rahik (kaho, the name + rahik, old) descriptive of it in the stage when it is used as a styptic.  The prairie mushrooms, commonly designated puffballs, were gathered and kept for use as a styptic for any wounds, especially for application to the umbilicus of newborn infants.  From its universal application to this use among the Dakota is derived their name for the puffball.  In the young stage it is used for food.  It is used also as a styptic by the Ponca and the Omaha.  While white and firm, before the spores formed, it was sometimes roasted for food by the Omaha, but this use was unknown to my informant among the Dakota.

Helvellaceae Morchella Esculenta (L.) Pers.  Morel.Mikai hithi (Omaha-Ponca), "star sore" (mikai, star; hithi, sore). 

They are much esteemed for food and are eaten boiled.  NOTE: These are only gathered in the spring.  A deadly look-alike grows at the end of summer.

— Melvin Gilmore, Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri  River Region, 33rd Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1919.

 Artist and OTHRP team up to donate paintings

Margery Coffey, who serves as both Administrative Assistant and Graphic Artist to OTHRP, underwent breast cancer surgery in January 2003.  Coffey's surgery was successful and was followed by both radiation and hormone treatments in Sioux City where she continues to undergo preventative treatment. 

As a way of saying "thank you" to the medical community of Siouxland, Dennis Hastings and Ms Coffey decided to donate a painting about the Omaha to each of the institutions there.  The first painting thusly donated went to St. Luke's Hospital.  It is called "Respect" and features a young woman giving traditional corn soup and fry bread to an elder at a feast.

The second painting that will be donated is a painting of Josephine Barnaby the first Omaha Nurse.  This painting will be presented to the Siouxland Cancer Center in honor of Dr. Leon McNealy, radiologist and Dr. Stephan Kahonac, oncologist and their staffs. Paintings are also planned for Mercy Hospital, Siouxland Health Clinic and the Surgery Center.

Wi'btha'han ewithe wongithe!
[thank you all my relatives!]


Josephine Barnaby, Omaha Nurse, 1887

Oil Collage
36" x 48"



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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