Siouan Sociology
A Posthumous Paper By James Owen Dorsey

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In 1871, at the age of 23, James Owen Dorsey, previously a student of divinity with a predilection for science, was ordained a deacon of the Protestant Episcopal church by the bishop of Virginia; and in May of that year he was sent to Dakota Territory as a missionary among the Ponka Indians. Characterized by an amiability that quickly won the confidence of the Indians, possessed of unbounded enthusiasm, and gifted with remarkable aptitude in discriminating and imitating vocal sounds, he at once took up the study of the native language, and, during the ensuing two years, familiarized himself with the Ponka and cognate dialects; at the same time he obtained a rich fund of information concerning the arts, institutions, traditions, and beliefs of the Indians with whom he was brought into daily contact. In August, 1873, his field work was interrupted by illness, and he returned to his home in Maryland and assumed parish work, meantime continuing his linguistic studies. In July, 1878, he was induced by Major Powell to resume field researches among the aborigines, and repaired to the Omaha reservation, in Nebraska, under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, where he greatly increased his stock of linguistic and other material. When the Bureau of Ethnology was instituted in 1879, his services were at once enlisted, and the remainder of his life was devoted to the collection and publication of ethnologic material, chiefly linguistic. Although most of his energies were devoted to the Siouan stock, he studied also the Athapascan, Kusan, Takilman, and Yakonan stocks; and while his researches were primarily linguistic, his collections relating to other subjects, especially institutions and beliefs, were remarkably rich. His publications were many, yet the greater part of the material amassed during his years of labor remains for elaboration by others. The memoir on "Siouan Sociology," which was substantially ready for the press, is the only one of his many manuscripts left in condition for publication. He died in Washington, February 4, 1895, of typhoid fever, at the early age of 47.

W J M.

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  • a, as in father.
  • ‘a, an initially exploded a.
  • ă, as in what, or as o in not.
  • ‘ă, an initially exploded ă.
  • ä, as in hat.
  • c, as sh in she. See ṡ.
  • ɔ, a medial sh, a sonant-surd.
  • ć (Dakota letter), as ch in church.
  • ç, as th in thin.
  • ɔ̉, a medial ç, sonant-surd.
  • c̷ as th in the.
  • e, as in they.
  • ‘e, an initially exploded e.
  • ĕ, as in get.
  • ‘ĕ, an initially exploded ĕ.
  • g, as in go.
  • ġ (in Dakota), gh. See x.
  • ɥ (in Osage), an h after a pure or nasalized vowel, expelled through the mouth with the lips wide apart.
  • ḣ (in Dakota), kh, etc. See q.
  • i, as in machine.
  • ‘i, an initially exploded i.
  • ĭ, as in pin.
  • j, as z in azure, or as j in the French Jacques.
  • ʞ, a medial k, a sonant-surd.
  • kʼ, an exploded k. See next letter.
  • ḳ (in Dakota), an exploded k.
  • ɯ (in Kansa), a medial m, a sound between m and b.
  • ŋ (in Dakota), after a vowel has the sound of n in the French bon. See ⁿ.
  • ñ, as ng in sing.
  • hn, its initial sound is expelled from the nostrils and is scarcely heard.
  • o, as in no.
  • ‘o, an initially exploded o.
  • d, a medial b or p, a sonant-surd.
  • pʼ, an exploded p.
  • q, as German ch in ach. See ḣ.
  • , a medial z or s, a sonant-surd.
  • ṡ (in Dakota), as sh in she. See c.
  • ʇ, a medial d or t, a sonant-surd.
  • tʼ, an exploded t.
  • u, as oo in tool.
  • ‘u, an initially exploded u.
  • ŭ, as oo in foot.
  • u̱, a sound between o and n.
  • ü, as in German kühl, süss.
  • x, gh, or nearly the Arabic ghain. See ġ.
  • z (in Dakota), as z in azure. See j.
  • dj, as j in judge.
  • tc, as ch in church. See ć.
  • tc', an exploded tc.
  • ʇɔ, a medial tc, a sonant-surd.
  • tsʼ, an exploded ts.
  • ʇ, a medial ts, a sonant-surd.
  • ai, as in aisle.
  • au, as ow in how.
  • yu, as u in tune, or ew in few.

The following have the ordinary English sounds: b, d, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, w, y, and z. A superior n (ⁿ) after a vowel (compare the Dakota ŋ) has the sound of the French n in bon, vin, etc. A plus sign (+) after any letter prolongs it.

The vowels ‘a,‘e,‘i,‘o,‘u, and their modifications are styled initially exploded vowels for want of a better appellation, there being in each case an initial explosion. These vowels are approximately or partially pectoral sounds found in the Siouan languages and also in some of the languages of western Oregon and in the language of the Hawaiian islands.

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General features of organization 213
The Dakota tribes 215
   Designation and mode of camping 215
   The Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ215
   The Waqpe-kute 216
   The Waqpe-toⁿwaⁿ or Wahpeton216
   The Sisitoⁿwaⁿ or Sisseton 216
   The Ihañktoⁿwaⁿ or Yankton 217
   The Ihañktoⁿwaⁿna or Yanktonai217
   The Titoⁿwaⁿ or Teton218
      Tribal divisions 218
      The Sitcaⁿxu 218
      The Itaziptco 219
      The Siha-sapa or Blackfeet 219
      The Minikooju 220
      The Oohe-noⁿpa or Two Kettles 220
      The Oglala 220
      The Huñkpapa 221
   Dakota social customs 221
The Asiniboin 222
The Omaha 226
The Ponka 228
The Quapaw or Kwapa 229
The Kaŋze or Kansa 230
The Osage 233
The Iowa 238
The Oto 240
The Ni-u'-t‘a-Tci or Missouri 240
The Hotcañgara or Winnebago 240
The Mandan 241
The Hidatsa 242
The Crow or Absaroka 243
The Biloxi 243
The Tutelo 244
The Catawba244

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30. Sisseton and Wahpeton camping circle216
31. Sisseton camping circle217
32. Sitcaⁿxu camping circle219
33. Oglala camping circle221
34. Omaha camping circle226
35. Iñke-sabĕ gentile assembly227
36. Ponka camping circle228
37. Kansa camping circle230
38. Osage camping circle233

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In the study of the organization of societies, units of different orders are discovered. Among the tribes of the Siouan family the primary unit is the clan or gens, which is composed of a number of conesanguinei, claiming descent from a common ancestor and having common taboos; the term clan implying descent in the female line, while gens implies descent in the male line. Among the Dakota, as among the C̸egiha and other groups, the man is the head of the family.

Several of the Siouan tribes are divided into two, and one (the Osage) is divided into three subtribes. Other tribes are composed of phratries, and each subtribe or phratry comprises a number of gentes. In some tribes each gens is made up of subgentes, and these in turn of a lower order of groups, which are provisionally termed sections for want of a better designation. The existence of these minor groups among the Omaha has been disputed by some, though other members of the tribe claim that they are real units of the lowest order. Among the Teton many groups which were originally sections have become gentes, for the marriage laws do not affect the original phratries, gentes, and subgentes.

The state, as existing among the Siouan tribes, may be termed a kinship state, in that the governmental functions are performed by men whose offices are determined by kinship, and in that the rules relating to kinship and reproduction constitute the main body of the recognized law. By this law marriage and the mutual rights and duties of the several members of each body of kindred are regulated. Individuals are held responsible chiefly to their kindred; and certain groups of kindred are in some cases held responsible to other groups of kindred. When other conduct, such as the distribution of game taken in the forest or fish from the waters, is regulated, the rules or laws pertaining thereto involve, to a certain extent, the considerations of kinship.

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The legislative, executive, and judicative functions have not been differentiated in Indian society as found among the Siouan groups. Two tendencies or processes of opposite character have been observed among the tribes, viz, consolidation and segregation. The effects of consolidation are conspicuous among the Omaha, Kansa, Osage, and Oto, while segregation has affected the social organization among the Kansa, Ponka, and Teton. There have been instances of emigration from one tribe to another of the same linguistic family; and among the Dakota new gentes have been formed by the adoption into the tribe of foreigners, i. e., those of a different stock.

Two classes of organization are found in the constitution of the state, viz, (1) major organizations, which relate directly to government, and (2) minor organizations, which relate only indirectly to government. The former embraces the state functionaries, the latter comprises corporations.

Although the state functionaries are not clearly differentiated, three classes of such men have been recognized: chiefs, policemen or soldiers, and young men or "the common people." The chiefs are the civil and religious leaders of the masses; the policemen are the servants of the chiefs; the young men are such as have not distinguished themselves in war or in any other way. These last have no voice in the assembly, which is composed of the chiefs alone. Among the Omaha there is no military class, yet there is a war element which is regulated by the Elk gens. The C̸ixida gens and part of the Nikadaɔna gens of the Ponka tribe are considered to be the warriors of the tribe, though members of other gentes have participated in war. In the Kansa tribe two gentes, the Large Hañga and the Small Hañga, form the phratry connected with war, though warriors did not necessarily belong to those gentes alone. In the Osage camping circle all the gentes on the right side are war gentes, but the first and second, reckoning from the van, are the soldiers or policemen; while all the gentes camping on the left are associated with peace, though their first amid second gentes, reckoning from the van, are policemen or soldiers. Among the Omaha both officers and warriors must be taken from the class of "young men," as the chiefs are afraid to act as leaders in war; and among both the Omaha and the Ponka the chief's, being the civil and religious leaders of the people, can not serve as captains, or even as members, of an ordinary war party, though they may fight when the whole tribe engages war. Among the Dakota, however, chiefs have led in time of war.

Corporations among the Siouan tribes are minor organizations, indirectly related to the government, though they do not constitute a part of it. The Omaha, for instance, and perhaps other tribes of the family, are organized into certain societies for religious, industrial, and other ends. There are two kinds of societies, the brotherhoods and the feasting organizations. The former are the dancing societies, to some of which the physicians belong.

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Social classes are undifferentiated. Any man can win a name and rank in the section, gens, phratry, tribe, or nation by bravery in war or by generosity in the bestowal of presents and the frequent giving of feasts. While there are no slaves among the Siouan tribes, there are several kinds of servants in civil, military, and religious affairs.



The Dakota call themselves Otceti cakowiⁿ (Oćeti śakowiŋ1), The Seven Fireplaces or Council-fires. This designation refers to their original gentes, the Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ (mdewakaŋ-toŋwaŋ), Waqpe-kute (Waḣpe-kute), Waqpe-toⁿwaⁿ(Wahpetoŋwaŋ), Sisitoⁿwaⁿ (Sisitoŋwaŋ), Ihañk-toⁿwaⁿ (Ihaŋktoŋwaŋ), Ihañk-toⁿwaⁿna (Ihaŋktoŋwaŋna), and Titoⁿwaⁿ (Titoŋwaŋ). They camped in two sets of concentric circles, one of four circles, consisting probably of the Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ, Waqpe-kute, Waqpe-toⁿwaⁿ and Sisitoⁿwaⁿ; and the other of three circles, including the Ihañktoⁿwaⁿ, Ihañktoⁿwaⁿna, and Titoⁿwaⁿ, as shown by the dialectical resemblences and variations as well as by the relative positions of their former habitats.


The Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ were so called from their former habitat, Mdewakaⁿ, or Mysterious lake, commonly called Spirit lake, one of the Mille Lacs in Minnesota. The whole name means Mysterious Lake village, and the term was used by De l'Isle as early as 1703. The Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ were to the original Santee, but the white people, following the usage of the Ihañktoⁿwaⁿ, Ihañktoⁿwaⁿna and Titoⁿwaⁿ, now extend that name to the Waqpekute, Waqpe-toⁿwaⁿ and Sisitoⁿwaⁿ. The gentes of the Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ are as follows:2

1. Kiyuksa, Breakers (of the law or custom); so called because members of this gens disregarded the marriage law by taking wives within the gens.

2. Qe-mini-tcaⁿ (Ḣe-mini-ćaŋ) or Qemnitca (Ḣemnića), literally, "Mountain-water-wood;" so called from a hill covered with timber that appears to rise out of the water. This was the gens of Red Wing, whose village was a short distance from Lake Pepin, Minnesota.

3. Kap‘oja (Kapoźa), Not encumbered-with-much-baggage; "Light Infantry." "Kaposia, or Little Crow's village," in Minnesota, in 1852.

4. Maxa-yute-cni (Maġa-yute-ṡni), Eats-no-geese.

5. Qeyata-otoⁿwe (Ḣeyata-otoŋwe), of-its-chief-Hake-wacte (Hake waṡte); Qeyata-toⁿwaⁿ (Heyata-toŋwaŋ) of Reverend A. L. Riggs, Village-back-from-the-river.

1 Wherever in this paper there is a double notation of a Dakota name the former is expressed in the alphabet of the Bureau of Ethnology and the latter is that of Dr S. R. Riggs, author of the memoirs in Contributions to North American Ethnology, vols. VII and IX.
Back to reference

2 S. R. Riggs, in Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, vol. IV, p. xvi, 1852, and in Contributions to North American Ethnology, vol. IX.
Back to reference

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6. Oyate-citca (Oyate ṡića), Bad nation.

7. Tiⁿta-otoⁿwe (Tiŋta-otoŋwe), of Hake-wacte, or Tiⁿta toⁿwaⁿ (Tiŋta-toŋwaŋ) of A.L. Riggs, Village-on-the-prarie (tiŋta).

These seven gentes still exist, or did exist as late as 1880.


The name waqpe-kute is derived from waqpe (waḣpe), leaf, and kute, to shoot at, and signifies Shooters-among-the-leaves, i. e., among the deciduous trees, as distinguished from Wazi-kute, Shooters-at-or-among-the-pines. The gentes exist, but their names have not been recorded.


The name of this people signifies Village-among-the-leaves (of deciduous trees), the gens being known to the whites as Leaf Village or Wahpeton. The gentes of this people, as given in 1884 by Reverend Edward Ashley, are the following:

Fig. 30—Sisseton and Wahpeton camping circle.

13. Iⁿyaⁿ-tceyaka-atoⁿwaⁿ (Iŋyaŋ-ce-yaka-atoŋwaŋ), Village-at-the-dam or -rapids.

14. Takapsin-toⁿwaⁿna (Takaspin-toŋwaŋna), Village-at-the-shinny-ground.

15. Wiyaka-otina, Dwellers-on-the-sand (wiyaka).

16. Oteqi-atoⁿwaⁿ (Oteḣi-atoŋwaŋ), Village-on-the-river.

17. Wita-otina, Dwellers-on-the-island (wita).

18. Wakpa-atoⁿwaⁿ (Wakpa-atoŋwaŋ), Village-on-the-river.

19. Tcaⁿ-kaxa-otina (Ćan-kaġa-otina), Dwellers-in-the-log (-huts?).

The numbers prefixed to the names of these gentes denote their respective places in the camping circle of the Sisseton and Wahpeton, as shown in figure 30.


It is evident that the Sisseton were formerly in seven divisions, the Wita-waziyata-otina and the Ohdihe being counted as one; the Basdetce-cni and Itokaq-tina as another; the Kaqmi-atoⁿwaⁿ, Maniti, and Keze as a third, and the Tizaptaⁿ and Okopeya as a fifth. When only a part of the tribe journeyed together, the people camped in the following manner: The Amdo-wapuskiyapi pitched their tents between the west and north, the Wita-waziyata-otina between the north and east, the Itokaq-tina between the east and south, and the Kap'oja between the south and west. The following are the Sisseton gentes (figure 31):

1. Wita-waziyata-otina, Village-at-the-north-island.

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2. Ohdihe (from ohdihaⁿ, to fall into an object endwise). This gens is an offshoot of the Wita-waziyata-otina.

3. Basdetce-cni. (Basdece-ṡni), Do-not-split (the body of a buffalo)-with-a-knife (but cut it up as they please).

4. Itokaq-tina (Itokaḣ-tina), Dwellers-at-the-south (itokaġa). These are an offshoot of the Basdetce-cni.

5. Kaqmi-atoⁿwaⁿ (Kaḣmi-atoŋwaŋ), Village-at-the-bend (kaḣmin).

6. Mani-ti, Those-who-camp (ti)-away-from-the-village. An offshoot of the Kaqmi-atoⁿwaⁿ.

7. Keze, Barbed-like-a-fishhook. An offshoot of the Kaqmi-atoⁿwaⁿ.

8. Tcaⁿ-kute (Ćaŋ kute), Shoot-in-the-woods (among the deciduous trees); a name of derision. These people, according to Ashley, resemble the Keze, whom he styles a "cross clan."

9. Ti-zaptaⁿ (Ti-zaptaŋ), Five-lodges.

10. Okopeya, In-danger. An offshoot of the Ti-zaptaⁿ.

11. Kap‘oja (Kapoźa), Those-who-travel-with-light-burdens. (See number 3 of the Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ.)

Fig. 30— Sisseton Camping Circle.

12. Amdo-wapuskiyapi, Those-who-lay-meat-on-their-shoulders(amdo)-to-dry-it(wapusktya)-during-the-hunt.


The Yankton and Yanktonai speak the Yankton dialect, which has many words in common with the Teton. In 1878 Walking Elk wrote the names of the Yankton gentes in the following order: 1, Tcaⁿ-kute (Ćaŋ kute), Shoot-in-the-woods; 2, Tcaxu (Ćaġu), Lights or lungs; 3, Wakmuha-oiⁿ (Wakmuha oiŋ), Pumpkin-rind-earring; 4, Ihaisdaye, Mouth-greasers; 5, Watceuⁿpa (Waćeuŋpa), Roasters; 6, Ikmuⁿ (Ikmuŋ), An animal of the cat kind (lynx, panther, or wildcat); 7, Oyate-citca (Oyate-ṡića), Bad-nation; 8, Wacitcuⁿ-tciⁿtca (Wasićuŋ-ćiŋća) (a modern addition), Sons-of-white-men, the "Half-blood band." But in 1891 Reverend Joseph W. Cook, who has been missionary to the Yankton since 1870, obtained from several men the following order of gentes (ignoring the half-bloods): On the right side of the circle were, 1, Iha isdaye; 2, Wakmuha-oiⁿ; 3, Ikuⁿ. On the left side of the circle were, 4, Watceuⁿpa; 5, Tcaⁿ-kute; 6, Oyate-citca; and, 7, Tcaxu.


The Yanktonai are divided into the Upper and Lower Yanktonai, the latter being known as the Huñkpatina, Those-camping-at-one-end (or "horn")-of-the-tribal-circle.

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The Upper Yanktonai gentes are as follows: 1, Tcaⁿ-ona (Ćaŋ ona), Shoot-at-trees, or Wazi-kute, Shooters-among-the-pines; from these the Ho-he or Asiniboin have sprung. 2, Takini, Improved-in-condition (as a lean animal or a poor man). 3, Cikcitcena (S̓ikṡićena), Bad-ones-of-different-sorts. 4, Bakihoⁿ (Bakihoŋ), Gash-themselves-with-knives. 5, Kiyuksa, Breakers (of the law or custom); see Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ gens number 1. 6, Pa-baksa, Cut-heads; some of these are on Devils Lake reservation, North Dakota. 7, Name forgotten.

The following are the gentes of the Lower Yanktonai, or Huñkpatina: 1, Pute-temini, Sweat-lips; the gens of Maxa-bomdu or Drifting Goose. 2, Cŭⁿ-iktceka (S̓uŋ ikćeka), Common dogs. 3, Taquha-yuta (Taḣuhayuta), Eat-the-scrapings-of-hides. 4, Saⁿ-ona (Saŋ-ona), Shot-at-some-white-object; this name originated from killing an albino buffalo; a Huñkpapa chief said that refugees or strangers from another tribe were so called. 5, Iha-ca (Iha-ṡa), Red-lips. 6, Ite-xu (Ite-ġu), Burned-face. 7, Pte-yute-cni (Pte-yute-ṡni), Eat-no-buffalo-cows.



The Teton are divided into seven tribes, which were formerly gentes. These are the Sitcaⁿxu (Sićanġu), Itaziptco (Itazipćo), Siha-sapa, Minikooju (Minikoozu), Oohe-noⁿpa (Oohe-noŋpa), Oglala, and Huñkpapa.


The Sitcaⁿxu, Bois Brulés or Burned Thighs, are divided locally into (1) Qeyata-witcaca (Ḣeyata wićaṡa), People-away-from-the-river, the Highland or Upper Brulé , and (2) the Kud (Kuta or Kuⁿta) -witcaca, the Lowland or Lower Brulé . The Sitcaⁿxu are divided socially into gentes, of which the number has increased in recent years. The following names of their gentes were given to the author in 1880 by Tatañka-wakaⁿ, Mysterious Buffalo-bull: 1, Iyakʼoza (Iyaḳoza), Lump (or wart)-on-a-horse's-leg. 2, Tcoka-towela (Ćoka-towela), Blue-spot-in-the-middle. 3, Ciyo-tañka (S̓iyo-taŋka), Large grouse or prairie chicken. 4, Ho-mna, Fish-smellers. 5, Ciyo-subula (S̓iyo-subula), Sharp-tail grouse. 6, Kaⁿxi-yuha (Kaŋġi-yuha). Raven keepers. 7, Pispiza-witcaca (Pispiza-wićaṡa), Prairie-dog people. 8, Walexa-uⁿ-wohaⁿ (Waleġa uŋ wohaŋ), Boil-food-with-the-paunch-skin (waleġa). 9, Watceuⁿpa (Waćeuŋpa), Roasters. 10, Cawala (S̓awala), Shawnee; the descendants of a Shawnee chief adopted into the tribe. 11, Ihañktoⁿwaⁿ (Ihanktoŋwaŋ), Yankton, so called from their mothers, Yankton women; not an original Sitcaⁿxu gens. 12, Naqpaqpa (Naḣpaḣpa), Take-down (their) -leggings (after returning from war). 13, Apewaⁿ-tañka (Apewaŋ taŋka), Big manes (of horses).

In 1884 Reverend W. J. Cleveland sent the author the accompanying diagram (figure 32) and the following list of Sitcaⁿxu gentes, containing names which he said were of very recent origin: 1, Sitcaⁿxu

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proper. 2, Kak’xa(Kaḳeġa), Making-a-grating-sound. 3a, Hiⁿhaⁿ-cŭⁿ-wapa (Hiŋhaŋ-ṡuŋ-wapa), Toward-the-owl-feather. 3b, Cŭñkaha-nap‘iⁿ (S̓uŋkaha napiŋ), Wears-a-dogskin-around-the-neck. 4, Hi-ha kaⁿhaⁿ-haⁿwiⁿ (Hi-ha kaŋhaŋhaŋ wiŋ), Woman (wiŋ) -the-skin (ha) -of-whose-teeth (hi) -dangles (kaŋhaŋhaŋ). 5, Hŭñku-wanitca (Huŋku wanića), Without-a-mother. 6, Miniskuya-kitc’u;ⁿ (Miniskuya kić̣uŋ), Wears salt. 7a, Kiyuksa, Breaks-or-cuts-in-two-his-own (custom, etc; probably referring to the marriage law; see Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ gens number 1). 7b, Ti-glabu, Drums-in-his-own-lodge. 8, Watceŭⁿpa (Waćeuŋpa), Roasters. 9, Wagluqe (Wagluḣe), Followers, commonly called loafers; A. L. Riggs thinks the word means "in-breeders." 10, Isaⁿyati (Isaŋyati), Santee (probably derived from the Mdewakaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ). 11, Wagmeza-yuha, Has corn. 12a, Walexa-oⁿ-wohaⁿ (Waleġa-oŋ-wohaŋ), Boils-with-the-paunch-skin. 12b, Waqna (Waḣna), Snorts. 13, Oglala-itc’i;tcaxa (Oglala-ić̣ićaġa), Makes-himself-an-Oglala. 14, Tiyotcesli (Tiyoćesli), Dungs-in-the-lodge. 15, Wajaja (Waźaźa), Osage (?). 16, Ieska-tciⁿtca (Ieska-ćiŋća), Interpreter's sons; "half-bloods." 17, Ohe-noⁿpa (Ohe-noŋpa), Two boilings or kettles. 18, Okaxa-witcaca (Okaġa-wićaṡa), Man-of-the-south.

Fig. 30—Sitcaⁿxu Camping Circle.


The Itaziptco (Itazipćo), in full, Ita-zipa-tcodaⁿ (Itazipa-ćodaŋ), Without-bows or Sans Arcs, had seven gentes, according to Waanataⁿ or Charger, in 1880 and 1884: 1, Itaziptco-qtca (Ita-zipćo-ḣća), Real Itaziptco, also called Mini-cala (Mini-ṡala), Red water. 2, Cina-luta-oiⁿ (S̓ina-luta-oiŋ), Scarlet-cloth-earring. 3, Woluta-yuta, Eat-dried-venison (or buffalo meat) -from-the-hind-quarter. 4, Maz-peg-naka, Wear (pieces-of) -metal-in-the-hair. 5, Tatañka-tcesli (Tataŋka ćesli), Dung-of-a-buffalo-bull. 6, Cikcitcela (S̓ikṡićela), Bad-ones-of-different-kinds. 7, Tiyopa-otcaⁿnuⁿpa (Tiyopa-oćaŋnuŋpa), Smokes-at-the-entrance-to-the-lodge.


The following are the gentes of the Siha-sapa or Blackfeet as given by Peji or John Grass, in 1880: 1, Siha-sapa-qtca, Real Blackfeet. 2, Kaⁿxi-cŭⁿ-pegnaka (Kaŋġi-ṡuŋ-pegnaka), Wears-raven-feathers-in-the-hair. 3, Glagla-hetca (Glagla-heća), Untidy, slovenly ("Too lazy to tie their moccasins"). 4, Wajaje (Waźaźe; Kill Eagle's band; named after Kill Eagle's father, who was a Wajaje of the Oglala tribe). 5, Hohe, Asiniboin. 6, Wamnuxa-oiⁿ (Wamnuġa-oiŋ), Shell-ear-pendant. In 1884 Reverend H. Swift obtained the following from Waanataⁿ or Charger as the true list of Siha-sapa gentes: 1, Ti-zaptaⁿ (Ti-zaptaŋ),

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Five lodges. 2, Siha-sapa-qtca, Real Blackfeet. 3, Hohe, Asiniboin. 4, Kaⁿxi-cŭⁿ-pegnaka (as above). 5, Wajaje (as above). 6, Wamnuxa-oiⁿ (as above). Mr Swift stated that there was no Siha-sapa division called Glagla-hetca.


In 1880 Tatañka-wanbli, or Buffalo-bull Eagle, gave the author the names of numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the following list of the Minikooju (Minikooźu), Minikaⁿye-woju (Minikaŋye-woźu), or Minne-conjou gentes. These were given in 1884, with numbers 4 and 9, to Reverend H. Swift by No Heart (Ćaŋte-wanića): 1, Ŭñktce-yuta (Uŋkće-yuta), Eat-dung. 2, Glagla-hetca (Glagla-heća), Slovenly. 3, Cuñka-yute-cni (S̓uŋka yute-ṡni), Eat-no-dogs. 4, Nixe-tañka (Niġe-taŋka), Big-belly. 5, Wakpokiⁿyaⁿ (Wakpokiŋyaŋ), Flies-along-the-creek (wakpa). 6, Iⁿyaⁿ-ha-oiⁿ (Iŋyaŋ-ha-oiŋ), Musselshell-earring. 7, Cikcitcela (S̓iksicela), Bad-ones-of-different-sorts. 8, Wagleza-oiⁿ, Watersnake-earring. 9, Waⁿ-nawexa (Waŋ-naweġa), Broken-arrows. The Waⁿnawexa are nearly extinct.


Of the Oohe-noⁿpa (Oohe-noⁿpa), Two Boilings or Two Kettles, Charger knew the names of only two gentes, which he gave to Reverend H. Swift in 1884, as follows: 1, Oohe-noⁿpa, Two-boilings. 2, Ma-waqota (Ma-waḣota), Skin-smeared-with-whitish-earth.


The first list of Oglala gentes was obtained in 1879 from Reverend John Robinson and confirmed in 1880 by a member of the tribe. These gentes are as follows: 1, Payabya, Pushed-aside. 2, Tapicletca (Tapiṡleća), Spleen (of an animal). 3, Kiyuksa, Breaks-his-own (marriage custom). 4, Wajaja (Waźaźa. See the Siha-sapa list of gentes). 5, Ite-citca (Ite-ṡića), Bad-face, or Oglala-qtca (Oglala-ḣća), Real Oglala. 6, Oyuqpe (Oyuḣpe); identical with Oiyuqpe of the next list. 7, Wagluqe (Wagluḣe), Followers or Loafers. These were probably the earlier divisions of the Oglala, but by 1884 considerable segregation had been accomplished, as shown by the following list furnished by Reverend W. J. Cleveland: 1, Ite-citca (Ite-ṡića), Bad-face, under Maqpiya-luta, Scarlet Cloud ("Red Cloud"). 2, Payabyeya, Pushed-aside (under Taṡuŋka-kokipapi, They-fear-even-his-horse; wrongly rendered Man-afraid-of-his-horses). 3, Oyuqpe (Oyuḣpe), Thrown down or unloaded. 4, Tapicletca, Spleen (of an animal). 5, Pe-cla (Pe-ṡla), Baldhead. 6, Tceq-huha-toⁿ (Ćeḣ-huha-ton), Kettle-with-legs. 7, Wablenitca (Wablenića), Orphans. 8, Pe-cla-ptcetcela (Pe-ṡla-ptećela), Short-baldhead. 9, Tacnahetca (Taṡnaheća), Gopher. 10, I-wayusota, Uses-up-by-begging-for, "Uses-up-with-the-mouth." 11, Wakaⁿ (Wakaŋ), Mysterious. 12a, Iglaka-teqila (Iglaka-teḣila), Refuses-to-move-camp. 12b, Ite-citca, Bad-face (as number 1). 13, Ite-citca-etaⁿhaⁿ (Ite-ṡića-etaŋhaŋ), "From-bad-face," Part-of-bad-face. 14, Zuzetca-kiyaksa (Zuzeća kiyaksa), Bit-the-shake-in-two. 15, Watceoⁿpa (Waće-

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oŋpa), Roasters. 16, Watcape (Waćape), Stabber. 17, Tiyotcesli (Tiyoćesli), Dungs-in-the-lodge. 18 and 19, Wagluqe, Followers or Loafers. 20, Oglala, Scattered-her-own. 21, Ieska-tciⁿtca (Ieska-ćinca), Interpreter's sons, "Half-bloods."

According to Mr Cleveland the whole Oglala tribe had two other names, Oyuqpe, Thrown-down or unloaded, and Kiyaksa, Bit-it-in-two.

Fig. 30—Oglala camping circle.


The name Huñkpapa (sometimes corrupted into Uncpapa, Oncpapa, etc), should be compared with the Yanktonai name Huñkpatina; both refer to the huñkpa or ends of a tribal circle. A Huñkpapa man in 1880 gave the following as the names of the gentes: 1, Tcañka-oqaⁿ (Ćaŋka-oḣaŋ) Sore-backs (of horses), not the original name. 2, Tce-oqba (Će-oḣba), in which tce (će) has either a vulgar meaning or is a contraction of tceya (ćeya), to weep, and oqba (oḣba), sleepy. 3, Tinazipe-citca (Tinazipe-ṡića), Bad-bows. 4, Talo-nap‘iⁿ (Talo-nap̣iŋ), Fresh-meat-necklace. 5, Kiglacka, (Kiglaṡka), Ties-his-own. 6, Tceg-nake-okisela (Ćegnake-okisela), Half-a-breechcloth. 7, Cikcitcela (S̓ikṡićela), Bad-ones-of-different-sorts. 8, Wakaⁿ (Wakaŋ), Mysterious. 9, Hŭⁿska-tcaⁿ-tojuha (Huŋska-ćaŋtoźuha), Legging-tobacco-pouch.

The real foundation for the totemic system exists among the Dakota, as well as among the other Siouan tribes and the Iroquois, in the names of men often being taken from mythical animals, but, in the opinion of Dr S. R. Riggs, the system was never carried to perfection.


Among the eastern Dakota the phratry was never a permanent organization, but it was resorted to on special occasions and for various purposes, such as war or the buffalo hunt. The exponent of the phratry was the tiyotipi or "soldiers' lodge," which has been described at length by Dr. Riggs.1

While no political organization has been known to exist within the historic period over the whole Dakota nation, the traditional alliance of the "Seven Council-fires" is perpetuated in the common name Dakota, signifying allied, friendly.

Among the Dakota it is customary for the rank and title of chief to descend from father to son, unless some other near relative is ambitious and influential enough to obtain the place. The same is claimed also in regard to the rank of brave or soldier, but this position is more dependent

1 Contributions to North American Ethnology, vol., IX, pp. 195–202.
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on personal bravery. While among the Omaha and Ponka a chief can not lead in war, there is a different custom among the Dakota. The Sisseton chief Standing Buffalo told Little Crow, the leader of the hostile Santee in the Minnesota outbreak of 1862, that, having commenced hostilities with the whites, he must fight it out without help from him, and that, failing to make himself master of the situation, he should not flee through the country of the Sisseton.

Regarding chieftainship among the Dakota, Philander Prescott1says:

The chieftainship is of modern date, there being no chiefs before the whites came. The chiefs have little power. The chief's band is almost always a kin totem which helps to sustain him. The chiefs have no votes in council; there the majority rules and the voice of the chief is not decisive till then.

On the death of a chief, the nearest kinsman in the right line is eligible. If there are no kin, the council of the band can make a chief. Civil chiefs scarcely ever make a war party.

The Dakota woman owns the tipi. If a man has more wives than one, they have separate tipis, or they arrange to occupy different sides of one. Sometimes the young man goes to live with his wife's kindred, but in such matters there is no fixed rule. To purchase a wife was regarded the most honorable form of marriage, though elopement was sometimes resorted to.


The Asiniboin were originally part of the Wazi-kute gens of the Yanktonai (Ihañktoⁿwaⁿna) Dakota. According to the report of E.T. Denig to Governor I.I. Stevens,1 "the Asiniboin call themselves Dakota, meaning Our people." The Dakota style them Hohe, "rebels," but Denig says the term signifies "fish eaters," and that they may have been so called from the fact that they subsisted principally on fish while in British territory.

Lists of the gentes of this people have been recorded by Denig, Maximilian, and Hayden, but in the opinion of the present writer they need revision.

Asiniboin gentes

Denig Maximilian Hayden
We-che-ap-pe-nah, 60 lodges, under Les Yeux Gris. Itscheabinè, Les gens des filles. Wi-ić-ap-i-naḣ, Girl's band.
E-an-to-ah, Stone Indians, the original appellation for the whole nation; 50 lodges, under Premier qui Volle. Jatonabinè, Les gens des roches, the Stone Indians of the English. Call themselves "Eascab." Iʹ-an-toʹ-an. (Either Iⁿyaⁿ toⁿwaⁿ, Stone Village, or Ihanktoⁿwaⁿ, End village or Yankton. J.O.D.)
Wah-to-pan-ah, Canoe Indians, 100 lodges, under Serpent. Otaopabinè, Les gens de canots. Waḣ-to'-pap-i-naḣ.
1Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes, vol.II, 182, Philadelphia, 1852.
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2Manuscript in the archives of the Bureau of Ethnology.
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Asiniboin gentes–Continued

Denig Maximilian Hayden
Wah-to-pah-han-da-toh, Old Gauché's gens, i.e., Those who row in canoes; 100 lodges, under Trembling Hand. Watópachnato, Les gens de l‘age. Waḣ-toʹ-paḣ-an-da-to, Gens du Gauche or Left Hand.
Wah-ze-ah we-chas-ta, Northern People (so called because they came from the north in 1839); 60 lodges, under Le Robe de Vent. O-see-gah (of Lewis and Clark, Discoveries, p. 43, 1806). Waḣ-zi-ah, or To-kum-pi, Gens du Nord.

The following gentes have not been collated: Of Maximilian's list, Otopachgnato, les gens du large, possibly a duplication, by mistake, of Watopachnato, les gens de l‘age; Tschantoga, les gens des bois; Tanintauei, les gens des osayes; Chábin, les gens des montagnes. Of Hayden's list, Minʹ-i-shi-nakʼ-a-to, gens du lac.

The correct form in the Yankton dialect of the first name is Witciⁿyaⁿpina (Wiciŋyaŋpina), girls; of the second, probably Iⁿyaⁿtoⁿwaⁿ (Iŋyaŋ toŋwaŋ); the third and fourth gentes derive their names from the verb watopa, to paddle a canoe; the fifth is Waziya witcacta (Waziya wićaṡta). Tschan in Tschantoga is the German notation of the Dakota tcan (ćaŋ), tree, wood. Cha in Chábin is the German notation of the Dakota word ḣe, a high ridge of hills, a mountain.

In his report to Governor Stevens, from which the following information respecting the Asiniboin is condensed, Denig used the term "band" to denote a gens of the tribe, and "clans" instead of corporations, under which latter term are included the feasting and dancing societies and the orders of doctors, shamans, or theurgists.

These bands are distinct and occupy different parts of the country, although they readily combine when required by circumstances, such as scarcity of game or an attack by a large body of the enemy.

The roving tribes call no general council with other nations; indeed, they are suspicious even of those with whom they have been at peace for many years, so that they seldom act together in a large body. With the exception of the Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara, who are stationary and live in a manner together, the neighboring tribes are quite ignorant of one another's government, rarely knowing even the names of the principal chiefs and warriors.

In all these tribes there is no such thing as hereditary rank. If a son of a chief is wanting in bravery, generosity, or other desirable qualities, he is regarded merely as an ordinary individual; at the same time it is true that one qualification for the position of chief consists in having a large number of kindred in the tribe or gens. Should there be two or more candidates, equally capable and socially well connected, the question would be decided on the day of the first removal of the camp, or else in council by the principal men. In the former

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case, each man would follow the leader whom he liked best, and the smaller body of Indians would soon adhere to the majority.

Women are never acknowledged as chiefs, nor have they anything to say in the council. A chief would be deposed for any conduct causing general disgust or dissatisfaction, such as incest (marrying within his gens) or lack of generosity. Though crime in the abstract would not tend to create dissatisfaction with a chief, yet if he murdered, without sufficient cause, one whose kindred were numerous, a fight between the two bodies of kindred would result and an immediate separation of his former adherents would ensue; but should the murdered person be without friends, there would be no attempt to avenge the crime, and the people would fear the chief only the more. To preserve his popularity a chief must give away all his property, and he is consequently always the poorest man in the band; but he takes care to distribute his possessions to his own kindred or to the rich, from whom he might draw in times of need.

The duties of a leading chief are to study the welfare of his people, by whom he is regarded as a father, and whom he addresses as his children. He must determine where the camp should be placed and when it should be moved; when war parties are advisable and of whom they should be composed—a custom radically different from that of the Omaha and Ponka,—and all other matters of like character. Power is tacitly committed to the leading chief, to be held so long as he governs to general satisfaction, subject, however, to the advice of the soldiers. Age, debility, or any other natural defect, or incapacity to act, advise, or command, would lead a chief to resign in favor of a younger man.

When war is deemed necessary, any chief, soldier, or brave warrior has the privilege of raising and leading a war party, provided he can get followers. The powers of a warrior and civil chief may be united in one person, thus differing from the Omaha and Ponka custom. The leading chief may and often does lead the whole band to war; in fact, it devolves on him to lead any general expedition.

The Akitcita (Akicita), soldiers or guards (policemen), form an important body among the Asiniboin as they do among the other Siouan tribes. These soldiers, who are chosen from the band on account of their bravery, are from 25 to 45 years of age, steady, resolute, and respected; and in them is vested the power of executing the decisions of the council. In a camp of 200 lodges these soldiers would number from 50 to 60 men; their lodge is pitched in the center of the camp and is occupied by some of them all the time, though the whole body is called together only when the chief wishes a public meeting or when their hunting regulations are to be decided. In their lodge all tribal and intertribal business is transacted, and all strangers, both white men and Indians, are domiciled. The young men, women, and children are not allowed to enter the soldiers' lodge during the time that tribal matters are being considered, and, indeed, they are seldom, if ever,

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seen there. All the choicest parts of meat and the tongues of animals killed in hunting are reserved for the soldiers' lodge, and are furnished by the young men from time to time. A tax is levied on the camp for the tobacco smoked there, which is no small quantity, and the women are obliged to furnish wood and water daily. This lodge corresponds in some degree to the two sacred lodges of the Hañga gens of the Omaha.

Judging from the meager information which we possess concerning the Asiniboin kinship system, the latter closely resembles that of the Dakota tribes, descent being in the male line. After the smallpox epidemic of 1838, only 400 thinly populated lodges out of 1,000 remained, relationship was nearly annihilated, property lost, and but few, the very young and very old, were left to mourn the loss. Remnants of bands had to be collected and property acquired, and several years elapsed ere the young people were old enough to marry.

The names of the wife's parents are never pronounced by the husband; to do so would excite the ridicule of the whole camp. The husband and the father-in-law never look on each other if they can avoid it, nor do they enter the same lodge. In like manner the wife never addresses her father-in-law.

A plurality of wives is required by a good hunter, since in the labors of the chase women are of great service to their husbands. An Indian with one wife can not amass property, as she is constantly occupied in household labors, and has no time for preparing skins for trading. The first wife and the last are generally the favorites, all others being regarded as servants. The right of divorce lies altogether with the husband; If he has children by his wife, he seldom puts her away. Should they separate, all the larger children—those who require no further care—remain with the father, the smaller ones departing with the mother. When the women have no children they are divorced without scruple.

After one gets acquainted with Indians the very opposite of taciturnity exists. The evenings are devoted to jests and amusing stories and the days to gambling. The soldiers' lodge, when the soldiers are not in session, is a very theater of amusement; all sorts of jokes are made and obscene stories are told, scarcely a woman in the camp escaping the ribaldry; but when business is in order decorum must prevail.

The personal property of these tribes consists chiefly of horses. Possession of an article of small value is a right seldom disputed, if the article has been honestly obtained; but the possession of horses being almost the principal object in life of an Indian of the plains, the retention of them is a matter of great uncertainty, if he has not the large force necessary to defend them. Rights to property are based on the method of acquirement, as (1) articles found; (2) those made by themselves (the sole and undisputed property of the makers); (3) those stolen from enemies, and (4) those given or bought. Nothing is given except with

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a view to a gift in return. Property obtained by gambling is held by a very indefinite tenure.

Murder is generally avenged by the kindred of the deceased, as among the Omaha and Ponka. Goods, horses, etc, may be offered to expiate the crime, when the murderer's friends are rich in these things, and sometimes they are accepted; but sooner or later the kindred of the murdered man will try to avenge him. Everything except loss of life or personal chastisement can be compensated among these Indians. Rape is nearly unknown, not that the crime is considered morally wrong, but the punishment would be death, as the price of the woman would be depreciated and the chances of marriage lessened. Besides, it would be an insult to her kindred, as implying contempt of their feelings and their power of protection. Marriage within the gens is regarded as incest and is a serious offense.


The gentes keeping the sacred pipes and those having the sacred tents are designated among the Omaha by appropriate designs. The sacred tent of the Wejiⁿcte was the tent of war, those of the Hañga were the tents associated with the buffalo hunt and the cultivation of the soil. The diameter of the circle (figure 34)

Fig. 30—Omaha Camping Circle.

represents the road traveled by the tribe when going on the buffalo hunt, numbers 1 and 10 being the gentes which were always in the van. The tribe was divided into half tribes, each half tribe consisting of five gentes. The sacred tents of the Omaha and all the objects that were kept in them are now in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The two groups of gentes forming the half tribes or phratries, sometimes composed of subgentes or sections, are as follows:

Hañgacenu gentes–1, Wejiⁿcte, Elk. 2, Iñke-sabĕ, Black shoulder, a Buffalo gens; the custodian of the real pipes of peace. 3, Hañga or Ancestral, a Buffalo gens; the regulator of all the so-called pipes of peace and keeper of two sacred tents. 4, C̸atada, meaning uncertain; in four subgentes: a, Wasabe hit‘ajĭ, Touch-not-the-skin-of-a-blackbear; b, Wajiñga c̷ataji, Eat-no-small-birds; Bird people; c, e-ḍa it‘ajĭ, Touch-no-buffalo-head; Eagle people; d, ʞe-‘iⁿ, Carry-a-turtle-on-the-back; Turtle people. 5, ʞaⁿze, Wind people.

Ictasanda gentes–6, Maⁿc̷iñka-gaxe, Earth-lodge-makers; coyote and wolf people. 7, e-sĭnde, Buffalo-tail; a Buffalo-calf people. 8, a-da, Deer-head; Deer people. 9, Iñgc̷e-jide, Red dung; a Buffalo-calf gens.

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10, Icta-sanda, meaning uncertain ("gray eyes"?), said to refer to the effect of lightning on the eyes. This last gens consists of Thunder and Reptile people.

The Iñke-sabĕ formerly consisted of four subgentes. When the gens met as a whole, the order of sitting was that shown in figure 35. In the tribal circle the Wac̷igije camped next to the Hañga gens, and the other Iñke-sabĕ people came next to the Wejiⁿcte; but in the gentile "council fire" the first became last and the last first.

The Iekic̷ĕ or Criers.

The Naqc̷eit‘a-bajĭ, Those-who-touch-no-charcoal.

The three subgentes here named sat on the same side of fireplace.

The Hañga formerly had four subgentes, but two of them, the Wac̷itaⁿ or Workers, and the Ha-ʇu-it‘ajĭ, Touches-no-green(-corn)-husks, are extinct, the few survivors having joined the other subgentes. The remaining subgentes are each called by several names: 1, esaⁿha-ʇac̷icaⁿ, pertaining to the sacred skin of an albino buffalo cow, or Wacabe, Dark buffalo; or Hañga-qti, real Hañga; or e-c̷eze-c̷atajĭ, Do-not-eat-buffalo-tongues. 2, Jaⁿha-ʇac̷icaⁿ, pertaining to the sacred (cottonwood) bark; or Waqc̷exe-ac̷iⁿ, Keeps-the-"spotted-object" (the sacred pole); or Juⁿ-waqube-ac̷iⁿ, Keeps-the-sacred-or-mysterious-wood (pole); or a-waqube-c̷atajĭ, Does-not-eat-the-sacred (mysterious)-buffalo-sides; or Miⁿxa-saⁿ-c̷atajĭ-kĭ etaⁿ-c̷atajĭ, Eat-no-geese-or-swans-or-cranes.

Fig. 30—Iñke-sabĕ

In the tribal circle the Wacabe camped next to the Iñke-sabĕ, and the Waqc̷exe-ac̷iⁿ were next to the Wasabe-hit‘ajĭ sub-gens of the C̸atada; but in the Hañga gentile assembly the positions were reversed, the Wacabe sitting on the right side of the fire and the Waqc̷exe-ac̷iⁿ on the left.

The Wasabe-hit‘ajĭ subgens of the C̸atada was divided into four sections: Black-bear, Raccoon, Grizzly-bear, and Porcupine. The only survivors are the Black-bear and Raccoon (Singers).

The Wajiñga c̷atajĭ subgens was divided into four sections: 1, Hawk people, under the chief Standing Hawk (now dead). 2, Blackbird people, under the chief Wajiⁿa-gahiga. 3, Starling or Thunder people. 4, Owl and Magpie people.

The ʞaⁿze gens was divided into at least two subgentes, the Keepers of the pipe and the Wind people. Lion, of the Deer-head gens, said that there were four subgentes, but this was denied in 1882 by Two Crows of the Hañga gens.

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The Maⁿc̷iñka-gaxe subgentes, as given by Lion, were: 1, Miʞasi, Coyote and Wolf people. 2, Iⁿ‘ĕ-waqube-ac̷iⁿ, Keepers-of-the-mysterious-stones. 3, Niniba-t‘aⁿ, Keepers-of-the-pipe. 4, Miⁿxa-saⁿ-wet‘ajĭ, Touch(es)-not-swans. Cañge-skă, White Horse, chief of the Maⁿc̷iñka-gaxe (in 1878-1880) named three subgentes, thus: 1, Qube, Mysterious person, a modern name (probably including the Miʞasi and Iⁿ‘ĕ-waqube-ac̷iⁿ, and certainly consisting of the descendants of the chief Wa-jiñgasabe or Blackbird). 2, Niniba-t‘aⁿ. 3, Miⁿxa-saⁿ-wet‘ajĭ.

The a-da were divided into four parts: 1, Niniba-t‘aⁿ, Keepers-of-the-pipe. 2, Naqc̷e-it‘ajĭ, Touches-no-charcoal, under Boy Chief. 3, Thunder-people, under Pawnee Chief. 4, Deer-people, under Sinde-xaⁿxaⁿ (Deer's-)tail-shows-red-at-intervals (-as-it-bounds-away).

The Ictasanda gens also was in four parts: 1, Niniba-t‘aⁿ, Keepers-of-the-pipe. 2, Real Ictasanda people. (Numbers 1 and 2 were consolidated prior to 1880.) 3, Wacetaⁿ or Reptile people, sometimes called Keepers-of-the-claws-of-a-wildcat. 4, Real Thunder people, or Those-who-do-not-touch-a-clamshell, or Keepers-of-tile-clamshell-and-the-tooth-of-a-black-bear.

The social organization of the Omaha has been treated at length by the author in his paper on Omaha Sociology.1


The Ponka tribal circle was divided equally between the Tci"ju and Wajaje half-tribes. To the former belonged two phratries of two gentes each, i.e., numbers 1 to 4, inclusive, and to the latter two similar phratries, including gentes 5 to 8.

Fig. 30—Ponka Camping Circle.

Tciⁿju half-tribe–Thunder or Fire phratry: Gens 1, Hisada, Legs-stretched-out-stiff (refers to a dead quadruped); Thunder people. Gens 2, Touch-not-the-skin-of-a-black-bear. Wind-makers or War phratry: Gens 3, C̸ixida, Wildcat (in two subgentes: 1, Sinde-agc̷ĕ, Wears-tails, i.e., locks of hair; Naqc̷e-it‘ajĭ, Does-not-touch-charcoal; and Waseʇu-it‘ajĭ, Does-not-touch-verdigris. 2, Wami-it‘ajĭ, Does-not-touch-blood). Gens 4, Nika-da-ɔna, "Bald human-head;" Elk people (in at least three subgentes: 1, e-sinde-it‘ajĭ, Does-not-touch-a-buffalo-tail; 2, e c̷eze c̷atajĭ, Does-not-eat-buffalo-tongues; 3, aqti kĭ Aⁿpaⁿc̷atajĭ, Does-not-eat-deer-and-elk).

Wajaje half-tribe—Earth phratry: Gens 5, Maʞaⁿ, Medicine, a buffalo gens, also called e-sĭnde it‘ajĭ Does-not-touch-buffalo-tails (in two subgentes: 1, Real Ponka, Keepers-of-a-sacred-pipe; 2, Gray Ponka). Gens 6, Wacabe, Dark buffalo (in two subgentes: 1, e-sĭnde,

1Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1881-82.
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Buffalo tail, or e-c̷eze c̷atajĭ, Does-not-eat-buffalo-tongues, or e jiñga c̷atajĭ, Does-not-eat-a-very-young-buffalo-calf; 2, e-da it‘ajĭ, Does-not-touch-a-buffalo-head or skull). Water phratry (?): Gens 7, Wajaje, Osage (in two subgentes at present: 1, Dark Osage, Keepers-of-a-sacred-pipe, or Waseʇu-it‘ajĭ, Does-not-touch-verdigris, or Naqc̷e-it‘ajĭ, Does-not-touch-charcoal; 2, Gray Osage, or Wĕs‘ă wet‘ajĭ, Does-not-touch-serpents; 3, Necta, an Owl subgens, now extinct). Gens 8, Nuqe, Reddish-yellow buffalo (miscalled Nuxe, Ice). Subgentes uncertain, but there are four taboo names: Does-not-touch-a-buffalo-head (or skull), Does-not-touch-a-buffalo-calf, Does-not-touch-the-yellow-hide-of-a-buffalo-calf, and Does-not-eat-buffalo-tongues.


When the Kwapa were discovered by the French they dwelt in five villages, described by the early chroniclers as the Imaha (Imaham, Imahao), Capaha, Toriman, Tonginga (Doginga, Topinga), and Southois (Atotchasi, Ossouteouez). Three of these village names are known to all the tribe: 1, Uʞaʹqpa-qti, Real Kwapa; 2, Tiʹ-u-aʹ-dc̷i-maⁿ (of Mrs Stafford); 3, U-zuʹ-ti-uʹ-wĕ (Southois, etc). The fourth was Taⁿʹwaⁿ jiʹʞa, Small village. Judging from analogy and the fact that the fifth village, Imaha, was the farthest up Arkansas river, that village name must have meant, as did the term Omaha, the upstream people.

The following names of Kwapa gentes were obtained chiefly from Alphonsus Vallière, a full-blood Kwapa, who assisted the author at Washington, from December, 1890, to March, 1891:

Naⁿʹpaⁿta, a Deer gens; Oⁿphŭⁿ enikaciʞa, the Elk gens; Qidc̷ eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Eagle gens; Wajiñʹʞa enikaciʹʞa, the Small-bird gens; Hañʹʞa eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Hañʹʞa or Ancestral gens; Wasaʹ eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Black-bear gens; Mantuʹ eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Grizzly-bear (?) gens; Te eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Buffalo gens (the ordinary buffalo); Tuqeʹ-nikaciʹʞa, the Reddish-yellow Buffalo gens (answering to Nuqe of the Ponka, Yuqe of the Kansa, (C̸uqe of the Osage); Jaweʹ nikaciʹʞa, the Beaver gens; Hu iʹnikaciʹʞa, the Fish gens; Mikaʹq‘e niʹkaciʹʞa, the Star gens; Peʹtaⁿ eʹnikacʹʞa, the Crane gens; Cañʞeʹ-nikaciʹʞa, the Dog (or Wolf?) gens; Wakanʹʇ ă eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Thunder-being gens; Taⁿʹdcaⁿʹ eʹnikaciʹʞa or Taⁿʹdcaⁿ tañʹʞa eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Panther or Mountain-lion gens; Ke-uiʹkaciʹʞa, the Turtle gens; Wĕs‘ă eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Serpent gens; Mi eʹnikaciʹʞa, the Sun gens. Vallière was unable to say on which side of the tribal circle each gens camped, but he gave the personal names of some members of most of the gentes.

On visiting the Kwapa, in the northeastern corner of Indian Territory, in January, 1894, the author recorded the following, with the assistance of Mrs Stafford, a full-blood Kwapa of about 90 years of age: Among

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the Hañka gentes are the Hañʹʞa tañʞa, Large Hañʹʞa or Maⁿckaʹ eʹnikaciʹʞa, Crawfish people; Wajiñʞa eʹnikaciʹʞ a, Small-bird people; Jiñʹʞa eʹnikaciʹ-ʞa, Small-bird people; Te niʹkaciʹʞa, Buffalo people, or Hañʹʞa jiʹsʞa, Small Hañʞa; Aⁿʹpaⁿ eʹnikaciʹʞa, Elk people; Qidc̷aʹ eʹnikaciʹʞa, Eagle people; Tuqeʹ-nikaciʹʞa, Reddish-yellow Buffalo people; and Cañʞeʹ-nikaciʹʞa, Dog (or Wolf?) people. Mrs Stafford knew that five gentes were not on the Hañʞa side, three of them, Hu iʹnikaciʹʞa, Fish people, Niʹkiaʹta (meaning unknown), and Ke-niʹkaciʹʞa, Turtle people, being on the same side; Maⁿtuʹ e‘uikaciʹʞa, Lion people; and Tiʹju (answering to the Osage Tsiɔu, the Kansa Tciju, and the Ponka Tciⁿju), meaning not obtained, which last is extinct. Mrs Stafford could not tell on which side camped any of the following gentes given by Vallière: Maqe, Wĕs‘ă, Wasa, Jawe, Mikaq‘e, Mi, etc. The only persons capable of giving the needed information are among those Kwapa who reside on Osage reservation. According to George Redeagle and Buffalo Calf, two full-blood Quapaw, the Maqe-nikaciʹʞa, Upper World people, were identical with the Wakanʇa eʹnikaciʹʞa, Thunder-being people, of Vallière. These two men said, also, that there was no single gens known as the Hañʞa, that name belonging to a major division, probably a half-tribe.


Among the Omaha the Yata people are those who camp on the yata or left side of the tribal circle; the Ictŭñga people, those who camp on the ictŭñga or right side.

Fig. 30—Kansa Camping Circle.

The tribe is divided into seven phratries, or, as the Kansa style each, wayuⁿmiⁿdaⁿ, (i.e., those who sing together), as follows:

Phratries Gentes Subgentes
I 1. Maⁿyiñka, Earth, or Maⁿyiñka gaxe, Earth-lodge-makers. a, Maⁿyinka tañga, Large earth. b, Maⁿyiñka jiñga, Small earth.
II 2. Ta, Deer, or Wajaje, Osage. a, Taqtci, Real deer. b, Ta, yatcajĭ, Eats-no-deer, or Ta ts‘eyĕ, Kills-deer, or Wadjüta ts‘eyĕ, Kills-quadrupeds.

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Phratries Gentes Subgentes
III 3. Pañka, Ponka a, Pañk unikaciⁿga, Ponka people. b, Qŭndj-alaⁿ, Wear-red-cedar (-fronds)-on-their-heads.
III 4. Kanze, Kansa, or Tci hacin, Lodge-in-the-rear; Last-lodge. a, Tadje unikaciⁿga, Wind people, or Ak‘a unikaciⁿga, South-wind people, or Tci haciⁿqtci, Real Tci haciⁿ, Camp-behind-all. b, Tadje jiñga, Small-wind, or Maⁿnaⁿhindje, Makes-a-breeze-near-the-ground.
III 5. Wasabe, Black bear. a, Wasabĕqtci, Real Black-bear, or Sakŭⁿ wayatce, Eats-raw (-food). b, Sindjalĕ, Wear-tails (locks of hair)-on-the-head.
I 6. Wanaxe, Ghost. Not learned.
IV 7. Ke k‘iⁿ, Carries-a-turtle-on-his-back. Not learned.
V 8. Miⁿ k‘iⁿ, Carries-the-sun-on-his-back. Not learned
I 9. Ṵpaⁿ, Elk. a, Ṵpaⁿ-qtci, Real elk, or Maⁿsaⁿha, referring to the color of the fur. b, Saⁿhaⁿge, meaning unknown.
VI 10. Qüya, White eagle. a, Hüsada, Legs-strectched-out-stiff; Qüyunikaciⁿga, White-eagle people. b, Wabiⁿ ijupye, Wade-in-blood; Wabiⁿ ijupye, Wade-in-blood; Wabiⁿ unikaciⁿga, Blood people.
VI 11. Haⁿ, Night. a, Haⁿ nikaciⁿga, Night people. b, Dakaⁿ maⁿyiⁿ, Walks-shining (Star people?).
VII 12. Icatc‘ĕ, Holds-the-firebrand-to-sacred-pipes, or Hañga jiñga, small Hañga. a, Qüyegu jiñga, Hawk-that-has-a-tail-like-a-"king-eagle;" "Little-one-like-an-eagle." b, Mika unikaciⁿga, Raccoon people, or Mika qla jiñga, Small lean raccoon.
VII 13. Hañga tañga, Large Hañga; Hañga utanandji, Hañga-apart-from-the-rest, or Ta sindje qaga, Stiff-deer-tail. A black eagle with spots. Subgentes not recorded.

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Phratries Gentes Subgentes
II 14. Tcedŭñga, Buffalo (bull), or Si tañga, Big feet. a, Tcedŭñga, Buffalo with dark hair. b, Yuqe, Reddish-yellow buffalo. (See Ponka Nuque, Osage C̸uqe, Kwapa Tuqe.)
V 15. Tci ju wactage, Tciju peacemaker. (Red-hawk people?). Subgentes not recorded.
II 16. Lu̱ nikaciⁿga, Thunder-being people; Ledaⁿ unikaciⁿga, Gray-hawk people. Subgentes not recorded.

Great changes have occurred among the Kansa since they have come in contact with the white race; but when Say visited them in the early part of the present century they still observed their aboriginal marriage laws. No Kansa could take a wife from a gens on his side of the tribal circle, nor could he marry any kinswoman, however remote the relationship might be. There are certain gentes that exchange personal names (jaje kikʼübe au), as among the Osage. Civil and military distinctions were based on bravery and generosity. Say informs us that the Kansa had been at peace with the Osage since 1806; that they had intermarried freely with them, so that "in stature, features, and customs they are more and more closely approaching that people." He states also that the head chief of the Kansa was Gahiⁿge Wadayiñga, Saucy Chief (which he renders "Fool Chief"), and that the ten or twelve underchiefs did not seem to have the respect of the people.

Unmarried females labored in the fields, served their parents, carried wood and water, and cooked. When the eldest daughter married she controlled the lodge, her mother, and all the sisters; the latter were always the wives of the same man. Presents were exchanged when a youth took his first wife. On the death of the husband the widow scarified herself, rubbed her person with clay, and became careless about her dress for a year. Then the eldest brother of the deceased married her without any ceremony, regarding her children as his own. When the deceased left no brother (real or potential) the widow was free to select her next husband. Fellowhood (as in cases of Damon and Pythias, David and Jonathan) often continues through life.

The Kansa had two kinds of criers or heralds: 1, the wadjiʹpaⁿyiⁿ or village crier; 2, the ieʹkiyeʹ (Omaha and Ponka i‘ĕkiʹc̷ĕ). In 1882, Saⁿsile (a woman) was hereditary wadjiʹpaⁿyiⁿ of the Kansa, having succeeded her father, Pezihi, the last male crier. At the time of an

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issue (about 1882) Saⁿsile's son-in-law died, so she, being a mourner, could not act as crier; hence her office devolved on K‘axe of the Taqtci subgens. In that year one of the Ta yatcaji subgens (of the Taqtci or Deer gens) was iekiye number 1. Iekiye number 2 belonged to the Tadje or Kaⁿze (Wind) gens.


In the Osage nation there are three primary divisions, which are tribes in the original acceptation of that term. These are known as the Tsiʇu uʇe pec̷ŭⁿda, the Seven Hañʞa fireplaces, and Waɔaɔe uʇe pec̷ŭⁿda, the Seven Osage fireplaces. Each "fireplace" is a gens, so that there are twenty-one gentes in the Osage nation. The Seven Hañʞa fireplaces were the last to join the nation, according to the tradition of the Tsiʇu wactaʞe people. When this occurred, the seven Hañʞa gentes were reckoned as five, and the seven Osage gentes as two, in order to have not more than seven gentes on the right side of the tribal circle.

At first the Hañʞa utac̷anʇse gens had seven pipes, and the Waɔaɔe had as many. The Waɔaɔe gave their seventh pipe to the Tsiʇu, with the right to make seven pipes from it, so now the Waɔaɔe people have but six pipes, though they retain the ceremonies pertaining to the seventh.

When there is sickness among the children on the Waɔaɔe or right (war) side of the circle, their parents apply to the Tsiʇu (Tsiʇu wactaʞe?) for food for them. In like manner, when the children on the left or Tsiʇu side are ill, their parents apply to the Paⁿɥka (wactaʞe?), on the other side, in order to get food for them.

Fig. 30—Osage Camping Circle.

The Seven Tsiʇu fireplaces occupy the left or peace side of the circle. Their names are:

1. Tsiʇu Sinʇaʞc̷ĕ, Tsiʇu-wearing-a-tail (of hair)-on-the-head; also called Tsiʇu Wanŭⁿʹ, Elder Tsiʇu; in two subgentes, Sinʇaʞc̷ĕ, Sun and Comet people, and Cŭñʞe iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿʹa, Wolf people.

2. Tse ʇu̱ʹʞa inʇeʹ, Buffalo-bull face; in two subgentes, of which the second is Tseʹ c̷‘añkaʹ or Miⁿʹpahaʹ, Hide-with-the-hair-on. The policemen or soldiers on the left side belong to these two gentes.

3. Miⁿk’ⁿʹ, Sun carriers, i.e., Carry-the-sun (or Buffalo hides)-on-their-backs. These have two subgentes, a, Miⁿi'niɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Sun people; b, Miⁿxaʹ ska iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Swan people.

4. Tsiʹʇu wactaʹʞe, Tsiʇu peacemaker, or Taⁿʹwaⁿʞaʹxe, Village-maker, or, Niʹwac̷ĕ, Giver of life. These have two subgentes, a, Wapiⁿ, it‘aʹɔi, Touches-no-blood, or Qüc̷aʹ ɔüʹʇe, Red-eagle (really a hawk);

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b, Qüc̷a' pa saⁿ', Bald-eagle, or Ɔaⁿsaⁿ‘u'niɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Sycamore people, the leading gens on the left side of the circle.

5. Haⁿiʹniɥk‘ciⁿʹ, Night people, or Tsiʹɔu weʹhaʞic̷e, the Tsiɔu-at-the-end, or Tseʹc̷añkaʹ. Their two subgentes are: a, Night people proper; b, Wasaʹde, Black-bear people.

6. Tse ʇu̱ʹʞa, Buffalo bull. In two subgentes, a, Tse ʇu̱ʹʞa, Buffalo bull: b, C̸uʹqe, Reddish-yellow buffalo (corresponding to the Nuqe of the Ponka, Tuqe of the Quapaw, and Yuqe of the Kansa).

7. ʞc̷ŭⁿ, Thunder-being, or Tsiʹhaciⁿ, Camp-last, or Maʹxe, Upper-world people, or Niɥʹka wakanʹʇaʞi, Mysterious-male-being. Subgentes not recorded.

On the right (Hañʞa or Waɔaɔe) side of the circle are the following:

8. Waɔaʹɔe Wanŭⁿʹ, Elder Osage, composed of six of the seven Osage fireplaces, as follows: a, Waɔaʹɔe skaʹ, White Osage; b, Ke k’;ⁿʹ, Turtle-carriers; c, Wakeʹc̷e steʹʇe, Tall-flags (?), Ehnaⁿʹ minʹʇe tŭⁿʹ, They-alone-have-bows, or Miⁿkeʹc̷e steʹʇe, Tall-flags; d, Ta c̷aʹxü, Deer-lights, or Ta iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Deer people; e, Hu iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Fish people; f, Naⁿ'paⁿta, a deer gens, called by some Ke ʞaʹtsü, Turtle-with-a-serrated-crest-along-the-shell (probably a water monster, as there is no such species of turtle).

9. Hañʹʞa utaʹc̷anʇi, Hañʞa-apart-from-the-rest, or Qüc̷aʹqtsi k‘ăciⁿ‘a, Real eagle people—the War eagle gens, and one of the original Hañʞa fireplaces. The soldiers or policemen from the right side are chosen from the eighth and ninth gentes.

10. The leading gens on the right side of the circle, and one of the original seven Osage fireplaces. Paⁿɥʹka wactaʹʞe, Ponka peace-maker, according to a Tsiɔu man; in two subgentes, a, Tseʹwac̷ĕ, Pond-lily, and b, Wacaʹde, Dark-buffalo; but according to Paⁿɥʹka waʇaʹyinʞa, a member of the gens, his people have three subgentes, a, Wakeʹc̷te, Flags; b, Waʹtsetsi, meaning, perhaps, Has-come hither (tsi)-after-touching-the-foe (watse); c, Qŭnʇeʹ, Red cedar.

11. Hañ'ʞa a'hü tŭⁿ', Hañʞa-having-wings, or Hü'saʇa, Limbs-stretched-stiff, or Qüc̷ i'niɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, White-eagle people, in two subgentes, which were two of the original Hañʞa fireplaces: a, Hü'saʇa Wanŭⁿ', Elder Hüsaʇa; b, Hü'saʇa, those wearing four locks of hair resembling those worn by the second division of the Wasape tuⁿ.

12. Wasa'de tŭⁿ', Having-black-bears. In two parts, which were originally two of the Hañʞa fireplaces: A, Sinʇaʞc̷ĕ, Wearing-a-tail- (or lock)-of-hair-on-the-head; in two subgentes, (a) Wasade, Black bear, or Hañ'ʞa Wa'ts‘ekawa' (meaning not learned); (b) Iñʞc̷ŭñ'ʞa ɔiñ'ʞa, Small cat. B, Wasa'de tŭⁿ, Wearing-four-locks-of-hair, two subgentes, (a) Miⁿxa'ska, Swan; (b) Tse'wac̷ĕ qe'ʞa, Dried pond-lily.

13.Ṵʹpqaⁿ, Elk, one of the seven Hañʞa fireplaces.

14. Kaⁿʹe, Kansa, or Iʹdats‘i, Holds-a-firebrand-to-the-sacred-pipes-in-order-to-light-them, or Aʹk‘a iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, South-wind people, or Taʇeʹ iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Wind people, or Peʹʇe iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Fire people. One of the seven Hañʞa fireplaces.

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The following social divisions can not be identified: Ɔaʹde iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Beaver people, said to be a subgens of the Waɔaɔe, no gens specified; Peʹtqaⁿ iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Crane people, said to be a subgens of the Hañʞa (?) sinʇaʞc̷ĕ; Wapŭñʹʞa iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Owl people; Maⁿyiñʹka iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, Earth people; aqpüʹ iʹniɥk‘ăciⁿ‘a, meaning not recorded.

There is some uncertainty respecting the true positions of a few subgentes in the camping circle. For instance, Alvin Wood said that the Tsewac̷e qeʞa formed the fourth subgens of the Tse ʹʞʇu̱a inʇe; but this was denied by ʞahiʞe waʇayiñʞa, of the Tsiʹɔu wactaʹʞe, who said that it belonged to the Paⁿɥka wactaʞe prior to the extinction of the subgens. Tsepa ʞaxe of the Wasape gens said that it formed the fourth subgens of his own people. Some make the Tsiɔu wactaʞe the third gens on the left, instead of the fourth. According to ʞahiʞe waʇayiñʞa, All the Waɔaɔe gentes claim to have come from the water, so they have ceremonies referring to beavers, because those animals swim in the water." The same authority said in 1883 that there were seven men who acted as wactaʞe, as follows: 1, Kaɥiʞe wactaʞe, of the Tsiɔu wactaʞe subgens, who had acted for eight years; 2, Pahü-ska, of the Bald-eagle or Qüc̷a pa saⁿ subgens; 3, ʞc̷emaⁿ, Clermont, of the——; 4, Taⁿwaⁿʇi hi, of the——; 5, Niɥka kidanaⁿ of Tsiɔu wehakic̷ĕ or Night gens; 6, Paⁿɥka waʇayiñʞa, Saucy Ponka, of the Waʹtsetsi or Ponka gens; 7, Niɥka waɔiⁿ taⁿa, of the same gens.

On the death of the head chief among the Osage the leading men call a council. At this council four men are named as candidates for the office, and it is asked, "Which one shall be appointed?" At this council a cuka of the Watsetsi (Ponka gens, or else from some other gens on the right) carries his pipe around the circle of councilors from right to left, while a Tsiɔu cuka (one of the Tsiɔu wactaʞe gens, or else one from some other gens on the left) carries the other pipe around from left to right. The ceremonies resemble the Ponka ceremonies for making chiefs. When the chiefs assemble in council a member of the Kaⁿse or Idats‘ĕ gens (one on the right) lights the pipes. The criers are chosen from the Kaⁿse, Ṵpqaⁿ, and Miⁿ k‘iⁿ gentes. The Tsiɔu Sinʇaʞc̷ĕ and Tse ʇu̱ʞa inʇe gentes furnish the soldiers or policemen for the Tsiɔu wactaʞe. A similar function is performed for the Paⁿɥka wactaʞe by the Waɔaɔe wanŭⁿ and Hañʞa uʇac̷anʇi gentes. The Sinʇaʞc̷ĕ and Hañʞa uʇac̷anʇi are "akiʇa watañʞa," chiefs of the soldiers; the Tse ʇu̱ʞa inʇe and Waɔaɔe Wanŭⁿ being ordinary soldiers, i. e., subordinate to the others. The Waɔaɔe Ke k‘iⁿ are the moccasin makers for the tribe. It is said that in the olden days the members of this gens used turtle shells instead of moccasins, with leeches for strings. The makers of the war-standards and war-pipes must belong to the Waɔaɔe ska.

Saucy Chief is the authority for the following: "Should all the Osage wish to dwell very near another tribe, or in case two or three families of us wish to remove to another part of the reservation, we let the

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others know our desire to live near them. We make up prizes for them—a pony, a blanket, strouding, etc—and we ask them to race for them. The fastest horse takes the first prize, and so on. We take along a pipe and some sticks—one stick for each member of the party that is removing. The other people meet its and race with us back to their home. They make us sit in a row; then one of their men or children brings a pipe to one of our party to whom he intends giving a horse. The pipe is handed to the rest of the party. The newcomers are invited to feasts, all of which they are obliged to attend." When the Osage go on the hunt the Tsiɔu wactaʞe (chief) tells the Sinʇaʞc̷ě and Tse ʇu̱ʞa inʇe where the people must camp. The following evening the Paⁿɥka wactaʞe (chief) tells the soldiers on his side (the Waɔaɔe and Hañʞa uʇac̷anʇi) where the camp must be on the following day. The members of the four gentes of soldiers or policemen meet in council and decide on the time for departure. They consult the Tsiɔu wactaʞe and Hañʞa (Paⁿɥka wactaʞe?) who attend the council. The crier is generally a man of either the Ṵpqaⁿ or Kaⁿse gens, but sometimes a Miⁿ k‘iⁿ man acts. The four leaders of the soldier gentes call on the crier to proclaim the next camping place, etc, which he does thus:

which is to say, "Halloo! tomorrow morning you shall pack your goods (strike camp). Halloo! you shall lay them down alter reaching (the other side of Missouri river)!"

Then the four leaders of the soldier gentes choose aʹkiʇa (policemen) who have a ʇuʇaⁿʹhañʞa or captain, who then acts as crier in giving orders, thus:

which means, "Halloo, O warrior! Halloo, O warrior, Saucy Chief! They have really said that you shall act as policeman or guard, 0 warrior!" These aʹkiʇa have to punish any persons who violate the laws of the hunt. But there is another grade of men; the four leaders of the soldier gentes tell the captain to call certain men wa'paʞc̷aʹɔi utsiⁿʹ, and they are expected to punish any aʹkiʇa who fail to do their duty. Supposing Miⁿ K‘iⁿ waʇayinʞa was selected , the crier would say:

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The four headmen direct a captain to order a Hañʞa uʇac̷anʇi man to lead the scouts, and subsequently to call on a Sinʇaʞc̷ě man for that purpose, alternating between the two sides of the camping circle. There are thus three grades of men engaged the hunt—the ordinary members of the soldier gentes, the akiʇa, and the wapaʞc̷a,ɔi utsiⁿ.

Should the Osage be warring against the Kansa or any other tribe, and one of the foe slip into the Osage camp and beg for protection of the Tsiɔu wactaʞe (chief), the latter is obliged to help the suppliant. He must send for the Sinʇaʞc̷ě and Tse ʇu̱ʞa inʇe (leaders), whom he would thus address: "I have a man whom I wish to live. I desire you to act as my soldiers." At the same time the Tsiɔu wactaʞe would send word to the Paⁿɥka wactaʞe, who would summon a Waɔaɔe and a Hañʞa uʇac̷anʇi to act as his soldiers or policemen. Meantime the kettle of the Tsiɔu wactaʞe was hung over the fire as soon as possible and food was cooked and given to the fugitive. When he had eaten (a mouthful) he was safe. He could then go through the camp with impunity. This condition of affairs lasted as long as he remained with the tribe, but it terminated when he returned to his home. After food had been given to the fugitive by the Tsiɔu wactaʞe any prominent man of the tribe could invite the fugitive to a feast.

The privilege of taking care of the children was given to the Tsiɔu wactaʞe and the Paⁿɥka wactaʞe, according to Saucy Chief. When a child (on the Tsiɔu side) is named, a certain old man is required to sing songs outside of the camp, dropping some tobacco from his pipe down on the toes of his left foot as he sings each song. On the first day the old than of the Tsiɔu (wactaʞe?) takes four grains of corn, one grain being black, another red, a third blue, and a fourth white, answering to the four kinds of corn dropped by the four buffalo, as mentioned in the tradition of the Osage. After chewing the four grains and mixing them with his saliva, he passes them between the lips of the child to be named. Four stones are put into a fire, one stone toward each of the four quarters. The Tsiɔu old man orders some cedar and a few blades of a certain kind of grass that does not die in winter, to be put aside for his use on the second day. On the second day, before sunrise, the Tsiɔu old man speaks of the cedar tree and its branches, saying, "It shall be for the children." Then he mentions the river, the deep holes in it, and its branches, which he declares shall be medicine in future for the children. He takes the four heated stones, places them in a pile, on which he puts the grass and cedar. Over this he pours water, making steam, over which the child is held. Then four names are given by the headman of the gens to the father, who selects one of them as the name for the child. Meantime men of different gentes bring cedar, stones, etc, and perform their respective ceremonies. The headman (Tsiɔu wactaʞe?) takes some of the water (into which he puts some cedar), giving four sips to the child. Then he dips his own left hand into the water and rubs the child down the left

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side, from the top of the head to the feet; next he rubs it in front, then down the right side, and finally down the back. He invites all the women of his gens who wish to be blessed to come forward, and he treats them as he did the infant. At the same time the women of the other gentes are blessed in like manner by the headmen of their respective gentes.


The Iowa camping circle was divided into two half-circles, occupied by two phratries of four gentes each. The first phratry regulated the hunt and other tribal affairs during the autumn and winter; the second phratry took the lead during the spring and summer. The author is indebted to the late Reverend William Hamilton for a list of the Iowa gentes, obtained in 1880 during a visit to the tribe. Since then the author has recorded the following list of gentes and subgentes, with the aid of a delegation of the Iowa who visited Washington:

First phratry

Gentes Subgentes
1. Tuʹ-naⁿ-p‘iⁿ, Black bear. Tohiⁿ and Çiʞre wonañe were chiefs of this gens in 1880. Tohiⁿ kept the sacred pipe.
  • 1. Taʹ-po-çka, a large black bear with a white spot on the chest.
  • 2. Puⁿʹ-xa çka, a black bear with a red nose; literally, Nose White.
  • 3. Mŭⁿ-tciʹ-nye, Young black bear, a short black bear.
  • 4. Kiʹ-ro-koʹ-qo-tce, a small reddish black bear, motherless; it has little hair and runs swiftly.
2. Mi-tciʹ-ra-tce, Wolf. Ma'-hiⁿ was a chief of this gens.
  • 1. Cŭⁿʹ-taⁿ çka, White-wolf.
  • 2. Cŭnʹ-taⁿ çe-we, Black-wolf.
  • 3. Cŭⁿʹ-taⁿ qoʹ-ʇɔe, Gray-wolf.
  • 4. Ma-nyiʹ-ka-qçiʹ, Coyote.
3. Tceʹ-xi-ta, Eagle and Thunder-being gens.
  • 1. Naʹ tci-tceʹ, i.e., Qraʹ qtci, Real or Golden eagle.
  • 2. Qraʹ hŭñʹ-e, Ancestral or Gray eagle.
  • 3. Qraʹ ʞreʹ-ye, Spotted-eagle.
  • 4. Qraʹ pa çaⁿ, Bald-eagle.
4. Qoʹ-ta-tci. Elk; now extinct. The Elk gens furnished the soldiers or policemen.
  • 1. Ŭⁿʹ-pe-xa qaⁿʹ-ye, Big-elk.
  • 2. Ŭⁿʹ-pe-xa yiñʹ-e, Young-elk (?).
  • 3. Ŭⁿʹ-pe-xa ɔ̉reʹ-ʇɔe yiñʹ-e, Elk-some-what-long.
  • 4. Hoʹ-ma yiñʹ-e, Young elk (?). The difference between Ŭⁿpexa and Homa is unknown. The former may be the archaic name for "elk."

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First phratry–Continued

Gentes Subgentes
5. Pa'-qça, Beaver. Probably the archaic name, as beaver is now ra-we. The survivors of this gens have joined the Pa-ça or Beaver gens of the Oto tribe.
  • 1. Ra-weʹ qaⁿʹ ye, Big-beaver.
  • 2. Ra-ɔ̉roʹ-ʇɔe, meaning unknown.
  • 3. Ra-weʹ yiñʹ-e, Young-beaver.
  • 4. Niʹwaⁿ-ciʹ-ke, Water-person.

Second phratry

[Gentes] [Subgentes]
6. Ruʹ-tce, Pigeon.
  • 1. Miⁿ-keʹ qaⁿʹ-ye, Big-raccoon.
  • 2. Miⁿʹ-keʹ yiñʹ-e, Young-raccoon.
  • 3. Ruʹ-tce yiñʹ-e, Young-pigeon.
  • 4. Coʹ-ke, Prairie-chicken, grouse.
7. Aʹ-ru-qwa, Buffalo.
  • 1. Tce-ʇoʹ qaⁿʹ-ye, Big-buffalo-bull.
  • 2. Tce-ʇoʹ yiñʹ-e, Young-buffalo-bull.
  • 3. Tce p‘oʹ-cke yiñʹ-e, Young-buffalo-bull-that-is-distended (?).
  • 4. Tce yiñʹ-ye, Buffalo-calf.
8. Wa-kaⁿʹ, Snake. An extinct gens.
  • 1. Wa-kaⁿʹ ɔ̉i, Yellow-snake, i.e., Rattlesnake.
  • 2. Wa-kaⁿʹ-gtci, Real-snake (named after a species shorter than the rattlesnake).
  • 3. Ceʹ-ke yiñʹ-e, Small or young coke, the copperhead snake (?).
  • 4. Wa-kaⁿʹ qoʹ-ʇɔe, Gray-snake (a long snake, which the Omaha call swift blue snake).
9. Mañʹ-ko-ke, Owl. Extinct. The names of the subgentes have been forgotten.

An account of the mythical origin of each Iowa gens, first recorded by the Reverend William Hamilton, has been published in the Journal of American Folk-lore.1

The visiting and marriage customs of the Iowa did not differ from those of the cognate tribes, nor did their management of the children differ from that of the Dakota, the Omaha, and others.

Murder was often punished with death, by the nearest of kin or by

1 Vol. IV, No. 15, pp. 338-340, 1891.
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some friend of the murdered person. Sometimes, however, the murderer made presents to the avengers of blood, and was permitted to live.


The author has not yet learned the exact camping order of the Oto and Missouri tribes, though he has recorded lists of their gentes (subject to future revision), with the aid of Ke-ʞreɔ̉e, an Oto, Ckaʇɔinye, a Missouri, and Battiste Deroin, the interpreter for the two tribes. These gentes are as follows: 1, Pa-çaʹ, Beaver; 2, Tunaⁿʹ-p‘iⁿ, Black bear, or Mŭⁿ-tciʹ-ra-tce, Wolf; 3, A-ruʹ-qwa, Buffalo; 4, Ruʹ-qtca, Pigeon; 5, Ma-kaʹ-tce, Owl; 6, Tceʹ-xi-ta, Eagle, Thunderbird, etc; 7, Wa-kaⁿʹ, Snake.


This tribe, which for many years has been consolidated with the Oto, has at least three gentes. It may have had more, but their names have not yet been recorded. 1, Tu-naⁿʹ-p‘iⁿ, Black bear; 2, Tce-xiʹ-ta, Eagle, Thunderbird, etc, in four subgentes: (a) Wa-kanʹ-ta, Thunderbird; (b) Qra, Eagle; (c) ʞreʹ-taⁿ, Hawk; (d) Moʹ-mi, A-people-who-eat-no-small-birds-which-have-been-killed-by-larger-ones (a recent addition to this gens, probably from another tribe); 3, Ho-maʹ or Ho-taʹ-tci, Elk.


The Winnebago call themselves Ho-tcañʹ-ga-ră, "First or parent speech." While they have gentes, they have no camping circle, as their priscan habitat was in a forest region. The following names were obtained from James Alexander, a full-blood of the Wolf gens, and from other members of the tribe:

1. Wolf gens—Common name, Cŭñk i-kiʹ-ka-raʹ-tea-da, or Cŭñk-tcañk‘i-kiʹ-ka-raʹ-tca-da, Those-calling-themselves-after-the-dog-or-wolf; archaic name, C̸e-go'-ni-na, meaning not recorded.

2. Black-bear gens—Common name, Hoⁿtcʹ i-kiʹ ka-raʹ tca da, They-call-themselves-after-the-black-bear; archaic name, Tcoʹ-na-ke-ră, meaning not recorded.

3. Elk gens—Common name, Hu-waⁿʹ-i-kiʹ-ka-raʹ-tca-da, They-call-themselves-after-the-elk; archaic name not recorded.

4. Snake gens—Common name, Wa-kaⁿʹ i-kiʹ-ka-raʹ-tca-da, They-call-themselves-after-a-snake; archaic name not recorded.

5. Bird gens—Common name, Wa-niñkʼ i-kiʹ-ka-raʹ-tca-da, They-call-themselves-after-a-bird; archaic name not recorded. This gens is composed of four subgentes, as follows: (a) Hi-tca-qce-pa-ră, or Eagle; (b) Ru-tcke, or Pigeon; (c) Ke-re-tcŭⁿ, probably Hawk; (d) Wa-kaⁿʹ-tca-ra, or Thunderbird. The archaic names of the subgents were not recorded.

6. Buffalo gens—Common name, Tceʹ i-kiʹ-ka-raʹ-tca da, They-call-themselves-after-a-buffalo; archaic name not recorded.

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7. Deer gens—Common name, Tcaʹ i-kiʹ-ka-raʹ-tca-da, They-call-themselves-after-a-deer; archaic name not recorded.

8. Water-monster gens—Common name, Wa-ktceʹ-qi i-kiʹ-ka-raʹ-tca-da, They-call-themselves-after-water-monster; archaic name not recorded.

Some of the Winnebago say that there is an Omaha gens among the Winnebago of Wisconsin, but James Alexander knew nothing about it. It is very probable that each Winnebago gens was composed of four subgentes; thus, in the tradition of the Winnebago Wolf gens, there is an account of four kinds of wolves, as in the corresponding Iowa tradition.

The Winnebago lodges were always built with the entrances facing the east. When the warriors returned from a fight they circumambulated the lodge four times, sunwise, stopping at the east just before entering.


The Mandan tribe has not been visited by the author, who must content himself with giving the list of gentes furnished by Morgan, in his "Ancient Society." This author's system of spelling is preserved:

1. Wolf gens, Ho-ra-taʹ-mŭ-make (Qa-ra-taʹ nu-mañʹ-ke?).

2. Bear gens, Mä-toʹ-no-mäke (Ma-toʹ nu-mañʹ-ke).

3. Prairie-chicken gens, See-pooshʹ-kä (Si-puʹ-cka nu-mañʹ-ke).

4. Good-knife gens, Tä na tsuʹ kä (Ta-ne-tsuʹ-ka nu-mañʹ-ke?).

5. Eagle gens, Ki-täʹ-ne-mäke (Qi-taʹ nu-mañʹ-ke?).

6. Flat-head gens, E-stä-paʹ (Hi-sta peʹ nu-mañʹ-ke?).

7. High-village gens, Me-te-ahʹ-ke.

All that follows concerning the Mandan was recorded by Prince Maximilian in 1833. Polygamy was everywhere practiced, the number of wives differing, there being seldom more than four, and in general only one. The Mandan marriage customs resemble those of the Dakota and other cognate peoples.

When a child is born a person is paid to give it the name chosen by the parents and kindred. The child is held up, then turned to all sides of the heavens, in the direction of the course of the sun, and its name is proclaimed. A Mandan cradle consists of a leather bag suspended by a strap to a crossbeam in the hut.

There are traces of descent in the female line; for example, sisters have great privileges; all the horses that a young man steals or captures in war are brought by him to his sister. He can demand from his sister any object in her possession, even the clothing which she is wearing, and he receives it immediately. The mother-in-law never speaks to her son-in-law, unless on his return from war he bring her the scalp and gun of a slain foe, in which event she is at liberty from that moment to converse with him. This custom is found, says Maximilian, among the Hidatsa, but not among the Crow and Arikara. While the Dakota, Omaha, and other tribes visited by the author have the custom of

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"bashfulness," which forbids the mother-in-law and son-in-law to speak to each other, no allowable relaxation of the prohibition has been recorded.


Our chief authority for the names of the Hidatsa gentes is Morgan's "Ancient Society." Dr Washington Matthews could have furnished a corrected list from his own notes had they not unfortunately been destroyed by fire. All that can now be done is to give Morgan's list, using his system of spelling:

1. Knife, Mit-che-roʹ-ka.

2. Water, Min-ne päʹ-ta.

3. Lodge, Bä-ho-häʹ-ta.

4. Prairie chicken, Seech-ka-be-rnh-päʹ-ka (Tsi-tskaʹ do-ḣpaʹ-ka of Matthews; Tsi-tskaʹ dc̷o-qpaʹ-ka in the Bureau alphabet).

5. Hill people, E-tish-shoʹ-ka.

6. Unknown animal, Aḣ-nali-ḣa-näʹ-me-te.

7. Bonnet, E-kuʹ-pä-be-ka.

The Hidatsa have been studied by Prince Maximilian (1833), Hayden, and Matthews, the work of the last writer1 being the latest one treating of them; and from it the following is taken:

Marriage among the Hidatsa is usually made formal by the distribution of gifts on the part of the man to the woman's kindred. Afterward presents of equal value are commonly returned by the wife's relations, if they have the means of so doing and are satisfied with the conduct of the husband. Some travelers have represented that the "marriage by purchase" among the Indians is a mere sale of the woman to the highest bidder, whose slave she becomes. Matthews regards this a misrepresentation so far as it concerns the Hidatsa, the wedding gift being a pledge to the parents for the proper treatment of their daughter, as well as an evidence of the wealth of the suitor and his kindred. Matthews has known many cases where large marriage presents were refused from one person, and gifts of much less value accepted from another, simply because the girl showed a preference for the poorer lover. Marriages by elopement are considered undignified, and different terms are applied to a marriage by elopement and one by parental consent. Polygamy is practiced, but usually with certain restrictions. The husband of the eldest of several sisters has a claim to each of the others as she grows up, and in most cases the man takes such a potential wife unless she form another attachment. A man usually marries his brother's widow, unless she object, and he may adopt the orphans as his own children. Divorce is easily effected, but is rare among the better class of people in the tribe. The unions of such people often last for life; but among persons of a different character divorces are common. Their social discipline is not very severe. Punishments by law, administered by the

1Ethnography and Philology of the Hidatsa Indians; U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey, miscellaneous publications No. 7, Washington, 1877.
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"soldier band," are only for serious offenses against the regulations of the camp. He who simply violates social customs in the tribe often subjects himself to no worse punishment than an occasional sneer or taunting remark; but for grave transgressions he may lose the regard of his friends. With the Hidatsa, as with other western tribes, it is improper for a man to hold a direct conversation with his mother-in-law; but this custom seems to be falling into disuse.

The kinship system of the Hidatsa does not differ materially from that of any of the cognate tribes. When they wish to distinguish between the actual father and a father's real or potential brothers, or between the actual mother and the mother's real or potential sisters, they use the adjective ka’ti (kaɥtci), real, true, after the kinship term when the actual parent is meant.


As this tribe belongs to the Hidatsa linguistic substock, it is very probable that the social laws and customs of the one people are identical with those of the other, as there has been nothing to cause extensive differentiation. It is not known whether the Hidatsa and Crow tribes ever camped in a circle. Morgan's list of the Crow gentes is given, with his peculiar notation, as follows:

1. Prairie Dog gens, A-che-pä-beʹ-cha.

2. Bad Leggings, E-sachʹ-ka-buk.

3. Skunk, Ho-ka-rutʼ-cha.

4. Treacherous Lodges, Ash-bot-chee-ah.

5. Lost Lodges, Ah-shinʹ-nä deʹ-ah (possibly intended for Last Lodges, those who camped in the rear).

6. Bad Honors, Ese-kep-käʹ-buk.

7. Butchers, Oo-sä-botʼ-see.

8. Moving Lodges, Ah-hä-chick.

9. Bear-paw Mountain, Ship tetʼ-zä.

10. Blackfoot Lodges, Ash-kaneʹ-na.

11. Fish Catchers, Boo-a-dăʹ-sha.

12. Antelope, O-hot-du-sha.

13. Raven, Pet-chale-ruh-päʹ-ka.


The tribal organization of this people has disappeared. When the few survivors were visited by the author at Lecompte, Louisiana, in 1892 and 1893, they gave him the names of three of the clans of the Biloxi, descent being reckoned in the female line. These clans are: 1, Ita aⁿyadi, Deer people; 2, Oⁿʇi aⁿyadi, Bear people; 3, Naqotodc̷a aⁿyadi, Alligator people. Most of the survivors belong to the Deer clan. The kinship system of the Biloxi is more complicated that that of any other tribe of the stock; in fact, more than that of any of the

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tribes visited by the author. The names of 53 kinship groups are still remembered, but there are at least a dozen others whose names have been forgotten. Where the C̸egiha language, for example, has but one term for grandchild and one grandchild group, the Biloxi has at least fourteen. In the ascending series the Dakota and C̸egiha do not have any terms beyond grandfather and grandmother. But for each sex the Biloxi has terms for at least three degrees beyond the grandparent. The C̸egiha has but one term for father's sister and one for mother's brother, father's brother being "father," and mother's sister "mother." But the Biloxi has distinct terms (and groups) for father's elder sister, father's younger sister, father's elder brother, father's younger brother, and so on for the mother's elder and younger brothers and sisters. The Biloxi distinguishes between an elder sister's son and the son of a younger sister, and so between the daughter of an elder sister and a younger sister's daughter. A Biloxi man may not marry his wife's brother's daughter, nor his wife's father's sister, differing in this respect from a Dakota, an Omaha, a Ponka, etc; but he can marry his deceased wife's sister. A Biloxi woman may marry the brother of her deceased husband. Judging from the analogy furnished by the Kansa tribe it was very probably the rule before the advent of the white race that a Biloxi man could not marry a woman of his own clan.


It is impossible to learn whether the Tutelo ever camped in a circle The author obtained the following clan names (descent being in the female line) from John Key, an Indian, on Grand River reservation, Ontario, Canada, in September, 1882: On "one side of the fire" were the Bear and Deer clans, the Wolf and Turtle being on the other side. John Key's mother, maternal grandmother, and Mrs Christine Buck were members of the Deer clan. There were no taboos. The Tutelo names of the clans have been forgotten.


Dr A. S. Gatschet, of the Bureau of Ethnology, visited the Catawba tribe prior to March, 1882, when he obtained an extensive vocabulary of the Catawba language, but he did not record any information respecting the social organization of the people.

For further information regarding the Siouan tribes formerly inhabiting the Atlantic coast region, see "Siouan Tribes of the East," by James Mooney, published as a bulletin of the Bureau of Ethnology.