Logan Fontenelle

Logan Fontenelle (1825 – July 16, 1855), also known as Shon-ga-ska (White Horse), was a trader of French and Omaha ancestry, who served for years as an interpreter to the US Indian agent at the Bellevue Agency in Nebraska. He was especially important during the negotiations with Omaha leaders in 1853-1854 about ceding land to the United States prior to settlement on a reservation. His mother was a daughter of Big Elk, the principal chief, and his father was a respected French-American fur trader.

European Americans thought Fontenelle was a chief, but he was never adopted into the Omaha. As they had a patrilineal system, because of his white father, adoption would have been the only way he could have advanced to chief. The Omaha considered him a half-breed and, because of his father, a "white man." Fontenelle lived on the reservation and died young at the age of 30, killed with five Omaha by an enemy band of Sioux while on the tribal summer buffalo hunting trip.

Fontenelle acted as an interpreter in Omaha negotiations during 1853-1854 for land cessions, first in Nebraska, with 60 Omaha men and the US Indian agent Gatewood; they came to agreement in January 1854. Later that year, Fontenelle accompanied a delegation of seven gente chiefs of the Omaha who went to Washington, DC for further talks. Fontenelle was one of the signatories of the treaty, perhaps because he was the only Omaha speaker who was literate in English. Forced to accept changes to the treaty, the Omaha signed on that trip to cede 4,000,000 acres (16,000 km2) of their land to the United States, believing they were securing protection from the Sioux. Within a couple of years, the Omaha removed to a reservation in northeast Nebraska in the Blackbird Hills, essentially present-day Thurston County.

Read more about Logan Fontenelle:  Chiefdom Dispute, Legacy

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