Re-enacting history in Oak, Nebraska

The Indian Raids of 1864 are remembered in a special way every four years in Oak, Nebraska. The most recent re-enactment happened on Aug. 6.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 11:22 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Indian Raids of 1864 are remembered in a special way every four years in Oak, Nebraska. The most recent re-enactment happened on Aug. 6.

Oak is a town filled with pioneer history. Oak’s main street sits directly on the Oregon Trail. There is Pony Express History in the area.

“There was a lot of commerce going through here, and all of it was heading west,” Oak community leader Tom Jensen said. “At that time, Native Americans found the white people traveling through to be sort of a curiosity. But when people started settling along the Oregon Trail, the Native Americans felt threatened,” Jensen said.

In the early 1860′s to late 1860′s they retaliated against the white settlers taking their land. The community of Oak does a reenactment to tell that story every four years. The reenactments tell the story of the Indian Raids of 1864. There are several locations around town where the raids happened. One of the locations is Oak Grove east of town.

“It was the original town, but eventually the railroad moved through Oak,” Jensen said. Oak Grove was a fairly large settlement at the time. This is one of the locations where the reenactments will take place.

During our visit recently, we visited the spot where the raid at the Comstock ranch occurred, and we got to see the re-enactment of the people who avoided much contact with the Cheyenne because of a good decision by a stagecoach driver.

“We’ve been told the raids were roughly about 3 o’clock in the afternoon on a 400-mile line, when the Native Americans attacked settlements, and any white settlers they could find,” Jensen said.

Jensen says it’s important to remember the events, because it’s an important part of history of the area. The re-enactments that happened on Saturday, Aug. 6 took plenty of planning and effort from the community.

“You get done, and you say maybe not next time,” Jensen said. “But when a year goes by you start looking forward to the next opportunity to make these events come alive again.”

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