Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma

Mailing Address

20 White Eagle Drive
Ponca City, OK 74601

Contact Information





Cultural History

The Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma had their first encounter with the Europeans during the seventeenth century. It was in 1789 when they first encountered the Whites. During that time, the tribal members were still living in the villages which were along the Ponca Creek which is near the Niobara River. The area is now more popularly known as the northeastern Nebraska. The tribe stood strong amidst the introduction of the diseases and the intertribal warfare. The intertribal warfare was between them and the Sioux, the Pawnee, Cheyenne and the Arikara tribes. They managed to stay on top of the trading business and were active participants in the fur trade. They also continued to ensue political jockeying between colonial powers so as to seek influence from the region’s Native people through the middle of the nineteenth century. The first treaty signed by the Ponca with the government is the treaty that is concerned with peace and friendship with the United States in the year 1817. It was also the year when they were acknowledged and given protection by the federal government. Their second treaty with the United States was signed in the year 1825. The second treaty was for the regulation of the trading industry and the reduction of the conflict among them and the neighboring tribes located on the northern Plains.

The final treaty signed by the Ponca Tribe is the one in the year 1858. It was then that the future of the Ponca Tribe came to be today. Prior to the signing of the treaty, the Ponca participated in buffalo hunting. Their buffalo hunting soon left them with almost only the plant resources to thrive in. The pressure coming from the Sioux and the other tribe, the Pawnee made it more difficult for the tribe to succeed. The treaty added to their burden as it ceded most of their hunting lands. The reservation area in the Niobrara River, however, was retained. 

The Federal Acts were the hardest part for the Ponca people. Their lands were ceded, conflicts with the other tribes were not resolved and more and more problems rose before their very eyes. More and more intruders invaded their lands because of the land laws sponsored by the Congress. One hundred sixty acres of tribal land was offered to any individual who could pay $10 as registration fee. The land is almost free of charge in accordance with the Homestead Act of 1862.

It was the Treaty of Fort Laramie which ended the war between the opposing tribes as the lands of the Ponca were given to the Sioux Tribe. Because of this, the Ponca Tribe had to leave their homeland behind and start a new life. They arrived in their current settlement, in the northern-central area of the Oklahoma State which is in the southern portion of the Ponca City and is almost twenty five miles away from the Kansas border. Their Big Chiefs are considered their tribal leaders who are in charge of the welfare of the tribe. They are currently engaged in businesses like tourism and education.

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