Monday, 2 February 2015

Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma

The Pawnee tribe, claiming on their website to be around 700 years old, are perhaps not the oldest of Indian tribes in America but this doesn't mean the Pawnee tribe doesn't have a rich history and culture that's still alive today. 

The Pawnee tribe were originally from the great planes of mid-west America to be more specific they lived along a large river in whats now called Nebraska. The thing that drew me to this tribe was the name; I cant tell a lie that when I first saw the name of this tribe in our Tuesday lecture I did immediately think of Pawnee Indiana, a fictional town from popular american sitcom Parks and Recreation that I had recently watched. In the sitcom they make numerous references to the Indians that had once lived on the land there known as Pawnee, IN and at multiple points try to breech the (incredibly violent) gap between the two nations that history had left them, to create a working and happy environment for both parties, and I was curious to see how such a long lasting relationship could develop in the first place. My questions were roughly answered in the lecture and I assumed the names came from treaties roughly made between the Indians and the settlers, this made even more sense to me when I found out the Pawnee tribe had been labeled a 'friendly tribe' by the US government which means upholding the Indians side of the treaty would be easier come by than if they were named a hostile tribe (or something similar). the only thing that surprised me is that although there is a real town called Pawnee it is in Illinois rather than Nebraska where the Pawnee tribe holds most of its history or in Oklahoma where the tribe was placed after ceding their land and being removed.

Despite being displaced the Pawnee tribe still seems very supportive of the US and its exploits. On the history section of the website they claim (or the wording they use claims) that they fought against the Indians in the Indian wars, which although this seems nonsensical this may have been a survival technique, perhaps the Pawnee tribe could see the US government wanted to eradicate all Indians and sucked up to them in the hope it would save them; or perhaps the tribe simply had a vendetta against all other tribes and were willing to fight against them, although its also likely that I mis-read the quote 'In support of American’s freedoms, the Pawnees have served in all military conflicts to date beginning with the Pawnee Scouts that served during the Indian wars.'

Although I can hardly make an entirely justified judgement from a relatively brief glance at this tribe's website the Pawnee's success as a nation seems to be reliant on their niceness, their hospitality that makes them such a 'friendly tribe' but what also may have aided their survival is their either strategically adaptive or perhaps weak-willed (I am still unsure) qualities that allowed them to stay on the white peoples good side and preventing them from getting eradicated completely.

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