A large family of North American Indians, embracing the Assiniboine or Stone Sioux, the Dakotas proper, or, as they are called by the Algonkin, Nadowesioux, from which is derived the word Sioux; Omaha, Otoe, Osage, Ponca, Iowa, Kansas, Missouria, Minataree, and Crows. Until quite recently they occupied the larger portion of the country bounded on the, east by the great lakes, on the north by the British Possessions, on the west by the Rocky Mountains, and on the south by the Platte River. According to their traditions they came eastward from the Pacific, and encountered the Algonkin about the headwaters of the Mississippi, where the mass of them were held in check. One of the tribes of this great family, called by the Chippewa Winnebagook (men from the fetid or salt water), pushed through their enemies and secured a foothold on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Quapaw, called by their Algonkin foes the Alkansas or Arkansas, settled on the Ohio, but were ultimately driven down the river by the Illinois to the region now bearing their name. A few of the tribes retain very nearly their original hunting-grounds; the principal migrations of those who have moved having been southwest-wardly, from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Missouri.

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In 1875 the Indians of this family residing within the limits of the United States numbered nearly 68,000, with about 1,000 more within the British Possessions. If the estimates of early explorers are to be relied upon, they must have lost heavily in population within the last one hundred years intestine wars, the aggressions of the whites, and the vices of civilization reducing many once powerful tribes to demoralized remnants that are fast fading out of our knowledge by absorption into the ranks of more powerful neighbors. The majority of the tribes of this family are settled on reservations under the direct care and support of the Government, and are fairly on the road to a civilized future. The exceptions are some of the wild bands of the Sioux, the Minataree or Gros Ventre, and the Crows. At the present writing most of the first-named are at war with the United States forces, while the two latter are friendly.