Home Up General Information Phonology Morphology Syntax Texts Lexicon


There are three extant collections of Omaha-Ponca text.  Two were published by James O. Dorsey for the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1890 and 1891.  The first of these consists of two similarly structured parts bound together.  The third collection was prepared by Francis LaFlesche for Franz Boas, and, as it remained unpublished at Boas's death, the typescripts are now in the Boas Collection at the American Philosophical Society archives in Philadelphia.  Apart from these, some Christian religious materials have been prepared and published or committed to archives by various individuals, including Dorsey (who began his career as a missionary) and Hamilton.  I have been shown unpublished, unarchived religious materials prepared by Hamilton and been told that these were all that remained of an originally larger corpus. Texts have also been collected since the 1960s by various individuals who have not yet committed them to archives.  

The text(s) presented here were originally published in the Dorsey Orthography.   They were prepared from this form for the University of Colorado Siouan Archives Project as computer files, using the Siouan Archives encoding.   For presentation here the Siouan Archives encodings of the Dorsey orthography have been converted to a Windows ANSI encoding of the LaFlesche Orthography.  The LaFlesche orthography merges aspirates and tense stops as a single series, and the voiceless and voiced velar fricatives (x and gh) are merged as x.  LaFlesche also merges s and z as c-cedilla, but they have been distinguished here as s and z.  Dorsey's accent marks are preserved as separate characters following the vowels he accents.  LaFlesche's raised n to mark nasalization has been represented with .  Due to the exigencies of converting with Dorsey's Orthography, some nasalized a (o) and i (i) are written a and i after m or n.  

Dorsey 1890.

  1. First Battle between the Omaha and the Ponca after Blackbird's Death.
  2. The Omahas Destroy a Dakota Raiding Party in 1847.  
    This is a narrative collected from Two Crows (Lewis Morris) by  Dorsey. 
  3. Letter:  Hexaga-sabe and TattaNga-naNz^iN to Betsy Dick.
  4. Letter:  TtemiN-wa?u, a Ponca Woman, to Her Daughter, Mary Napesha, at Santee Agency, NE.

There are c. 251 texts in this collection, including traditional stories, personal and historical narratives, descriptions of cultural practices, and letters.  The publication is divided internally into two volumes, and was apparently intended as the first volume in a comprehensive documentation of the Omaha-Ponca language.  The accompanying grammar, modeled on the Riggs Dakota grammar is available in the National Anthropological Archives in ms. form, along with a c. 20,000 slip draft lexicon. 

Dorsey 1891.

  1. Letter:  Peter Primeau to Agent W.W. Whiting, Ponca Agency, IT (OK).
  2. Letter:  George Miller to His Wife, November 1, 1889.

There are c. 74 texts in this collection, all letters. 

LaFlesche Typescripts in the Boas Collection.

Insrtdsk.wmf (10236 bytes)    Still in preparation. 

These texts were typescripts of compositions by LaFlesche in Omaha-Ponca, sent to Franz Boas, and not published.  I believe they had publication and annotation in mind, but I am not aware of the details of the project. 

You are the 12934th visitor since 03/29/98.
This page was last updated on 08/25/03.