On August 13, 1804, members of The Lewis and Clark expedition visited the Omaha Big Village, also referred to as Ton won tonga. This village, located near present-day Homer, Nebraska, was founded around 1775. At the time, the village was known for its control over all fur trade on the Upper Missouri River, and it operated under the power of Chief Blackbird. The village reached a population of about 1,100 residents, however, in 1800 it was struck by a smallpox epidemic that ended up killing both the Chief and ⅓ of the tribe’s entire population. Expedition members visited shortly after this tragedy, so they did not get to see it at the peak of its existence.
Today, what remains of the village is located on private property. There is a sign detailing the historical significance of the site, remembering the great role that it played in society in its area. Visitors are not able to walk directly up to the site, however it is able to be viewed publicly from a pull off along US-75.
For more information about Omaha Big Village and its historical significance, visit https://www.nps.gov/places/omaha-big-village.htm!