Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2000


Published in Great Plains Research 10 (Spring 2000): 145-68. Copyright © 2000 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


We studied current strengths and contemporary stresses of Omaha Indian families living on the reservation in northeast Nebraska. Interviews with 60 tribal members revealed that major family and tribal strengths included: extended family support, spiritual values and religious practices, community generosity and support, Omaha culture and traditions, and a determination of many tribal members to recognize and overcome their problems. Respondents also identified major stresses that included: alcohol use, family breakdown, tribal leadership, unemployment and their children's education. Social Interaction Theory suggests that the identification of stresses should be more common than the identification of strengths by an oppressed minority. Our findings are consistent with this expectation. Respondents had much more to say about problems than about strengths. In addition, we found that Omaha strengths, such as community group orientation, may inadvertently make solving some problems more difficult. While the study has limits, it is'he first to initiate an evaluation of the Omaha's perception of their situation and well-being.