Creighton visitors will see a new Nebraska Historical Society marker on campus. The new placard, marking Creighton’s ties to Native American societies and the earthlodge village that extended from today’s Creighton University to downtown Omaha from the 1730’s until the 1760’s, will be dedicated during Founders Week 2012.
The marker was secured by the faculty of the Native American Studies Program. The Native American Studies Program at Creighton is unique among Jesuit and Cahtolic schools, as the only Jesuit school in the world with a Native (indigenous) studies undergraduate major and minor. With the exception of the Chicago School of Theology, there are no schools of theology, including two Jesuit theologates, that have courses in either Anthropology or Native American Studies.
The text on the historical marker reads:
Archaeological evidence show periodic Native American residence in this general area for some 1,200 years. From the mid-1600s to the early 1700s the Omaha, Ponca, Oto and Ioway migrated from the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes to today’s western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. The Pawnee were the only Native Americans then living in the region. In the 1860s the Winnebago and Santee Sioux were relocated to Nebraska.
From the 1730s to the 1760s the Oto occupied the earthlodge village extending from today’s Creighton campus to downtown Omaha. In 1804 Lewis and Clark recorded the ruins as an “ancient village of the Ottoes on mounds.” Jesuits began work among North America’s Native peoples in the 1600s, and in 1829 opened a mission center in St. Louis. In 1838-39, Father Pierre J. DeSmet and other Jesuits founded St. Joseph’s Mission for the Potawatamie tribe across the Missouri River from here.
Although the Pawnee, Oto-Missouria and Iowa nations now reside elsewhere, the Omaha, Northern Ponca, parts of the Winnebago and Santee Sioux and a significant urban Indian population in Omaha and other Nebraska cities remain Creighton’s neighbors and partners.
Donors for the Native American Marker include: