The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, as a sovereign Nation, is committed pursuant to its Constitution, to maintain, improve and protect the Tribe; To preserve its resources and cultural heritage; To create opportunities for its members to thrive and become economically and socially self-sufficient as individuals, families and as a tribal government; and, thereby, promote the harmony of traditional values, beliefs which will ensure a positive course of action for future generations.
THE WINNEBAGO INDIAN RESERVATION
The Winnebago Indian Reservation lies in the northern half of Thurston County in northeastern Nebraska. The largest community on the Reservation is the Village of Winnebago. Located on the eastern side of the Reservation, Winnebago is home to most Winnebago tribal members and accounts for almost thirty percent of the Reservation's resident population. The closest large urban centers are Sioux City, Iowa, about 20 miles north of the Reservation, and Omaha, Nebraska, approximately 80 miles to the south. Reservation land holdings extend to Iowa to the east and are not accessible within the Reservation boundaries. There are approximately 1800 acres situated in Thurston County and in the Woodbury County area of western Iowa.
The Winnebago Indian Reservation covers approximately 120,000 acres of cropland, woodland, and pasture in the northern half of Thurston County, Nebraska. The Missouri River on the east, the Omaha Indian Reservation on the south, and the Dakota-Thurston County line to the north border the Reservation. The western boundary parallels State Highway 16 about two miles to its east. Approximately one third of the Reservation acreage is owned by the tribe and individual tribal members. Non-tribal members, however, farm much of the Indian land.
At present, approximately 2,600 people live on the Reservation. Based on demographic modeling, the Reservation population is expected to increase from its year 1990 level of 2,377 to 5,050 in year 2040, due in large part to the high birth rate and relatively youthful composition of the Native American habitants. Much of the growth will occur in the Village of Winnebago, where it is anticipated that the population will more than double by year 2040. Some population expansion and settlement will occur outside Winnebago but the extent, scope and direction of this development is primarily dependent on accessibility within the reservation area.
Important sectors of employment on the Reservation include health and education services, manufacturing, agriculture, public administration, and retail trade. Relative to statistics for the state of Nebraska and the nation as a whole, unemployment is rather high and household and per capita income is low for Native Americans living on the Reservation. According to 1990 U.S. Bureau of Census figures, unemployment on the Reservation was 20.4 percent overall and 20.4 percent for the Native American population compared to 3.7 percent unemployment statewide and 5.6 percent unemployment nationally. It is estimated that 44 percent of the Native American population on the Reservation lives at or below the poverty level.
The Winnebago Tribe’s Trust Lands and holdings in Iowa are approximately 1800 acres at present with plans to extend ownership as development occurs. The Winnevagas Casino and the Convenience Store/Gas Station complex plays a significant part in the general economy both in employment and revenue for the tribe.