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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1876 - 1877 - 1878

The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by Kay County Media LLC as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.

1876 — In 1876, The U.S. government formulated a policy to consolidate as many Indian tribes as possible in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. At that time, the Ponca Tribe was located in Niobrara, Neb. A government agent approached eight tribal leaders from the Indian Bureau, and asked them to accompany him to Oklahoma to look over several alternative sites for a new Ponca Reservation there.

The Ponca chiefs made the journey and visited many different land reserves that were equally barren and unsuitable for agriculture. The chiefs refused to select any of the sites and, after informing the government agent of their decision, requested to be allowed to return home to Nebraska. The agent, angry at their lack of cooperation, left the Ponca chiefs, some of whom were advanced in years and ill. The chiefs were then forced to make the journey home in the middle of winter, without money, food or an interpreter. About 50 days later, the Ponca chiefs reached the Otoe Reservation along the Kansas/Nebraska border. The Otoe's provided them with enough food and horses to make their way back to Niobrara, Neb.


1877 — When the Ponca Chiefs reached their homeland, they found that since the Ponca had refused to go to Indian Territory of their own free will, a government order had been issued on April 12, 1877, to force their removal. Federal troops were called into enforce the removal orders, and by May, the Ponca began their forced migration to the "hot country."

The long march took a heavy toll on the tribe, over half of whom were women and children. Storms, along with poor road and traveling conditions, greatly impeded their journey, causing much suffering and deaths. Chief Standing Bear's daughter was among those who died along the way.

It was not until July 9, 1877, that the party passed through Baxter Springs in south-eastern Kansas and crossed the line into the Indian Territory on the lands of the Quapaw Tribe. They were quartered in tepees they had brought with them, as the government had made no other provisions for their accommodation. Discouraged, homesick and hopeless, the 681 Ponca Indians found themselves on the lands of strangers, in the middle of a hot summer, with no crops and no prospects for any.


1878 — The Ponca were not happy in south-eastern Kansas, so a new area was found for them on the west bank of the Arkansas River, covering both sides of the Salt Fork River in north central Oklahoma, near what is now Ponca City. This land was part of the Indian Territory purchased from the Cherokee by the U.S. government in the Treaty of 1866. In July 1878, the Ponca were moved again to this new parcel of 101,894 acres, and it was set apart as the Ponca Reservation. The Ponca suffered from malaria in this new country and many died from it. Food was also scarce.