Facts about the Otoe Native Indian
This article contains fast, fun facts and
interesting information about the Otoe Native
American Indians, also known as the Winnebago tribe
or as part of the Missouri nation. Find answers to questions
did the Otoe tribe live, what clothes did they wear
food did they eat? Discover what happened to the
Otoe tribe with facts about their wars and
Picture of the Otoe Chief
above picture depicts an Otoe chief. His regalia
includes chocker necklaces made of beads and a
striking bear claw necklace. He wears vermillion
red face paint and wore a highly ornate headband
with a roach headdress, that was topped with an
eagle feather. He carries a lethal
Gunstock club, which served as both a weapon
and a status symbol.
What was the lifestyle and culture of the Otoe
The name "Otoe" means, "People of this
Place". The Otoe
people were closely related to the Omaha, Osage, Quapah and Ponca tribes
and linked to the Missouri tribe. The state of
"Nebraska" derives from an Otoe word meaning
"flat water." The Otoe tribe were roving buffalo
hunters who fought and hunted on horseback
living in tepees during the summer and earth
lodges in the winter. In 1854 the Otoe were
forced to accept a reservation in Gage Country,
Nebraska but were eventually sent to a
reservation in Oklahoma.
The Otoe tribe and the Lewis and Clark
Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 the
Lewis and Clark expedition with the Corps of
Discovery made their famous journey. On 21 July,
1804 the explorers had reached the Platte River
encountered an Otoe village of earth lodges. The
Otoe, led by Chief Little Thief and Chief Big
Horse, and the chiefs of the Missouria tribes,
Chief Crow's Head and Chief Black Cat, were the
first Native Indians that Lewis and Clark
parleyed with in the West.
Where did the Otoe tribe live?
The Otoe are people of the Great Plains Native
American cultural group. The location of their
tribal homelands are shown on the map. The
geography of the region in which they lived
dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Otoe
The American Great Plains region mainly extended across states of Iowa,
Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota
Land: Grass covered prairies with streams
Climate: The climate was hot summers and
Animals: The animals included the
Bison (Buffalo), deer, cougars, elk, bear,
beaver, porcupine, antelope, prairie dogs,
eagles and wolves
Fish: Various fish including sturgeon,
crayfish and mussels
Crops: The crops grown in the area were corn, beans, seeds
What did the Otoe tribe live in?
The Otoe tribe lived in Earthen houses, also
called earth lodges, which was a permanent
type of home for Native Indians who lived in harsh climates without
large forests. The Otoe tribe also used the
Tepee as a
form of temporary shelter when they went on
buffalo hunts during the summer months.
What language did the Otoe tribe speak?
The Otoe tribe spoke in the Chiwere dialect of
the Siouan language, closely related linguistically to the
Iowa and Missouri tribes.
What food did the Otoe tribe eat?
The mainstay of the food that the Otoe tribe ate
was fish and buffalo, that was acquired on their
seasonal hunting trips. The meats also included
deer (venison), elk, bear and wild turkey. Their
main food were supplemented with roots and wild
vegetables such as spinach, prairie turnips and
potatoes together with berries and fruits such
as melon. When food was scarce the Otoe tribe
ate dried buffalo meat, called pemmican.
What weapons did the Otoe use?
The weapons used by the Otoe tribe included
bows and arrows, stone ball clubs, gunstock
clubs, hatchet axes,
spears, lances and knives. Painted war
shields were used on horseback as a means of
defence. Their traditional enemies were
the Sioux, Fox, Sauk and the Pawnee. Their
closest allies were the Missouria, Ponca and the
What clothes did the Otoe tribe wear?
The men of the
tribe wore a variety of clothes including a red
or blue belted breechcloth, and deerskin
leggings, and sometimes a blanket robe over the
upper part of the body, occasionally trimmed with fur.
Buffalo hides were also worn as cloaks and
moccasins were worn during the winter. The men
of the Otoe tribe wore headbands and roach headdresses
that were attached to a scalp-lock on their
shaved heads and stood straight up from the head
like a crest. Ornaments were made of
beads, shells and metal, and included chokers
made from long, hollow 'hair pipe' beads. The women wore
buckskin knee-length dresses or skirts, leggings
and blanket wraps.