Nebraska Authors

Francis La Flesche

AKA: Frank

Born 1857 Omaha Reservation, NE (USA)

Died 1932

Ethnologist Francis La Flesche was the son of Iron Eye, the last traditionally recognized Chief of the Omaha tribe and half-brother to two accomplished sisters, the physician Suzan La Flesche Picotte and Native American activist Susette La Flesche Tibbles. He worked out of Washington, D.C. for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and later for the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology. He studied both his own Omaha tribe and the Osage. Aside from professional ethnological works and stories, he contributed to an opera, Da-O-Ma, based on his Omaha stories. His early book, The middle five: Indian boys at school, 1900, is an autobiographical account of five Indian boys' experiences at Presbyterian mission school in northeastern Nebraska around the time of the Civil War. As well as being an important anthropological document, the book is recommended for general readers and younger readers.

There is much information about Francis La Flesche in Joan Mark, A Stranger in her Native Land: Alice Fletcher and the American Indians, 1988. Alice Fletcher, one of 19th century America's most influential anthropologists, was a close friend of the La Flesche family, and she adopted Francis as a son after the death of his mother. Francis lived with her and her partner Jane Gay in Washington DC for many years.

Some other authors who have written about the Omaha tribe: Roger Welsch, David Wishart, Judith Boughter, Michael Tate, George Hyde, Eunice Stabler, Hollis Stabler, Dennis Hastings, Fannie Reed Giffen, Elizabeth Stabler and Mark Awakuni-Swetland.


Places Lived

Omaha, NE
Walthill, NE
Bancroft, NE
Washington, DC (1857-?)

Author Of

  • Biography
  • Nonfiction


Native American Autobiography; Omaha (Tribe); Ethnology; Folklore; Opera; Language; Native Americans--History and Languages



Places Worked

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology


Son of Joseph La flesche (Iron Eye last Omaha Chief)
Brother of Susette La Flesche Tibbles and Susan La Flesche Picotte


Omaha Tribe. 1905 and 1972.
Middle Five: Indian Boys at School. 1900.
Osage Tribe: Rite of the Chiefs. 1921.
Osage Tribe: Two versions of the Child Naming Rite. 1928.
Dictionary of the Osage Language. 1932.
War Ceremony and Peace Ceremony of the Osage Tribe. 1939.
KE-MA-HA The Omaha Stories of Francis La Flesche. 1995. (ed. by James Parins and Daniel F. Littlefield)

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Francis La Flesche

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)