"History and Stories of Nebraska"
by Addison Erwin Sheldon

Produced by Connie Snyder


TWO CROWS
(Cahae Numba)




Two Crows (Cahae Numba)

Two Crows was for many years a leading chief of the Omaha tribe. He was tall, strong and very active even when he became an old man. He was born about the year 1820, and died at his home among the Blackbird Hills about the year 1895. He was a firm friend of the white people during all his long life. He fought in many battles with the Sioux and the Pawnees and good fortune kept him safe through many great dangers.

Two Crows was famed in the tribe for his wit and shrewdness of speech. This became more and more marked as years went on and in the councils all the Indians listened eagerly to hear what Two Crows would say, for they knew that he would give some sharp, keen point to the talk. After the Omahas had settled on their land where they now live, many white men who had married Indian wives came and settled there too. Other persons who had both white and Indian blood also had settled there, because the land was very black and rich, and there were many beautiful springs and clear streams of water flowing through it, and plenty of timber for fuel and for building purposes. The old-fashioned Indians became very jealous of these "white Indians" and at last called a great council of the tribe to talk it over. One chief after another rose and told the council how much trouble the white people made them. They said the Great Father gave the land to the Indians and the white people had no right to be there. They all said what a shame it was for the Omahas to marry with any other people, and that none but the pure blood Omaha Indians had any right to the land. After they had all talked until they were tired and the Indians had agreed to all they said, Two Crows, who was then a very old man, rose slowly and said:


Wajepa.
(From photograph collection of A. E. Sheldon.)

"My friends, I agree with all that you say to-day. You have said it very wisely and very well. None but the pure blood Omahas have any right to this land. All the others ought to move off at once. Now, you all know that my family and Wajepa's family are the only two families of pure Omaha blood in the tribe. All the rest of you have got a little Ponca blood, or a little Sioux blood, or a little Ioway blood mixed in. So now all of you move off the land and Wajepa and I will keep it for the pure Omahas."

This unexpected turn broke up the council. What Two Crows said was true. In the Omaha tribe, a very small tribe, it had been the custom for many years for some of the young men to take their wives from the neighboring tribes. The result was that in time all the families but two had intermarried. This was very well known to all the Indians and as no one could deny what Two Crows said the discontented Indians were very glad to drop the matter.


QUESTIONS

  1. Was the idea that none but pure blood Omahas should have the land a good one?
  2. Why did the other Omaha Indians who spoke for this idea refuse to accept it after Two Crows favored it?
  3. Who are Americans in this country?



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