North American Plains Indian people living mainly in Oklahoma, U.S. Their language belongs to the Caddoan language stock, and their name is derived from the Caddoan word meaning “horn,” a reference to their unique hairstyle. They once lived along the Platte River in what is now Nebraska. The Pawnee tribe comprised four relatively independent bands, each divided into villages. They lived in large, dome-shaped, earth-covered lodges but used tepees on buffalo hunts. Women raised corn, squash, and beans, and they harvested a grain similar to wild rice. Chiefs, priests, and shamans constituted the dominant class. Pawnee religion centred on a variety of deities, including the supreme being Tirawa, the sun god, and morning and evening stars. The Pawnee had military societies, and many Pawnee served as scouts for the U.S. Army of the Frontier. Pawnee lands were ceded to the U.S. in the mid-19th century, and most Pawnee were relocated to a reservation in Oklahoma. Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 4,500 individuals of Pawnee descent.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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