1. a member of a confederacy of North American Plains Indians of Caddoan stock formerly located along the Platte River valley, Nebraska, and now living in northern Oklahoma.2. the Caddoan language of the Pawnee Indians.
* * *North American Plains Indian people living mainly in Oklahoma, U.S. Their language belongs to the Caddoan language stock, and their name is derived from the Caddoan word meaning "horn," a reference to their unique hairstyle.They once lived along the Platte River in what is now Nebraska. The Pawnee tribe comprised four relatively independent bands, each divided into villages. They lived in large, dome-shaped, earth-covered lodges but used tepees on buffalo hunts. Women raised corn, squash, and beans, and they harvested a grain similar to wild rice. Chiefs, priests, and shamans constituted the dominant class. Pawnee religion centred on a variety of deities, including the supreme being Tirawa, the sun god, and morning and evening stars. The Pawnee had military societies, and many Pawnee served as scouts for the U.S. armies of the frontier. Pawnee lands were ceded to the U.S. in the mid-19th century, and most Pawnee were relocated to a reservation in Oklahoma. They number about 2,500.
* * *▪ peopleNorth American Indian people of Caddoan linguistic stock who lived on the Platte River in what is now Nebraska, U.S., from before the 16th century to the latter part of the 19th century. In the 19th century the Pawnee tribe was composed of relatively independent bands: the Kitkehahki, Chaui, Pitahauerat, and Skidi. Each of these bands occupied several villages, which were the basic social unit of the Pawnee people.Like many other Plains Indians (Plains Indian), the Pawnee traditionally lived in large, dome-shaped, earth-covered lodges during most of the year, opting for tepees while on bison hunts. Pawnee women raised corn (maize), squash, and beans and were practiced in the art of pottery making. Horses were first introduced in the 17th and 18th centuries from Spanish settlements in the Southwest.Pawnee class distinctions favoured chiefs, priests, and shamans. Each chief of a village or band had in his keeping a sacred bundle. Shamans were believed to possess special powers to treat illness and to ward off enemy raids and food shortages. Priests were trained in the performance of rituals and sacred songs. Along with shamanistic and hunt societies, the Pawnee also had military societies.The traditional religion of the Pawnee was quite elaborate. They believed some of the stars to be gods and performed rituals to entreat their presence, and they also used astronomy in practical affairs (e.g., to determine when to plant corn). Corn was regarded as a symbolic mother through whom the sun god bestowed his blessing. Other important deities were the morning and evening stars and Tirawa, the supreme power who created all these. For a time Pawnee religion included the sacrifice of a captive adolescent girl to the morning star, but this practice ended in the 19th century.Relations between the Pawnee and settlers were peaceful, and many Pawnee individuals served as scouts in the U.S. Army of the Frontier. The Pawnee nation ceded most of its land in Nebraska to the U.S. government by treaties in 1833, 1848, and 1857. In 1876 their last Nebraska holdings were given up, and they were moved to Oklahoma, where they remained.Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 4,500 individuals of Pawnee descent.
* * *