The Omaha tribe is a group of Native Americans generally associated with the US state of Nebraska, although that isn't the tribe’s original home. Some research suggests that the tribe originally migrated from the East Coast, but that happened so long ago that there is very little data about it. Prior to the 17th century, there was a period when these Indians lived in Missouri, but warring with the Dakota tribe allegedly caused them to abandon that area and move to Nebraska. The Omaha are known for their crafting skills with bead-work and quilting. Their name means "those who travel against the current."
During the warmer months, the Omaha tribe traveled with the buffalo, living in special hide tents called tipis. In the winter and fall, they settled down in homes made from wood and dirt. The tipis were erected and dismantled during traveling by the women of the tribe, and this could be done very quickly.
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In the villages, the Omaha tribe grew various crops, including beans, squash and melons. They would harvest these foods in the fall when they returned from following the buffalo. In terms of sustenance, the buffalo meat made up the largest portion of their diet. In the winter, they also hunted smaller game, and they did a lot of fishing. In addition, the women of the tribe would gather nuts, roots and berries as a supplement to the crops.
When hunting, the Omaha tribe used bows and arrows as the primary weapons, and the tribe members usually fished with specialized spears. In wartime, the bows were used as weapons, along with spears and shields. Like many other plains tribes, their wars were fought with less violence than most other cultures. They generally fought to prove their bravery, and war for territory or more dangerous battles were more rare. They had a custom called counting coup, which involved putting your hands on an enemy during a fight, and that was generally considered more important than killing enemies in battle.
The Omaha tribe first encountered European settlers in the early 1800s with the arrival of the famous explorers Lewis and Clark. In general terms, the relationship between the Omaha and white settlers was relatively peaceful. In the mid-1850s, the tribe decided to sell a lot of its hunting grounds to the US government for approximately $850,000 US dollars (USD). At around the same time, there was a reservation established in Nebraska, which the tribe still uses.