Congress, eager to open Unorganized Territory for whites, eyed Indian land bordering the Missouri River.
In January 1854, the U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Colonel George Manypenny, traveled from Washington, D.C., to "talk" with those Missouri River tribes.
They met in Bellevue, population fifty, the only white settlement on the river's west side.
The Missourians and Otoes arrived together. Then sixty Omaha chiefs, or "those going against the wind," breezed in.
Colonel Manypenny talked the tribes into selling land for cash, goods, and a reservation all their own. That gift to Congress settled, he left.
In Washington, Colonel Manypenny made major reductions in the treaties—above all, in the amount of money.
Colonel Manypenny's dirtiest deal?
Reducing the $1,200,000 promised to the Omahas to $84,000. That came to two cents an acre for the 4 million acres from the Niobrara River to the Platte and from the Missouri River to the Sandhills.