Remembering Nebraska History in Oak

OAK, Neb.- The Indian raids of 1864 are remembered in a special way every four years in Oak, Nebraska.

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, and during the Oregon Trail Day Celebration on Saturday, August 11th, the community will perform reenactments of the 1864 Indian raids that took place around the town.

"We are standing pretty much on what Interstate 80 would have been in the 1830's to 1860's, the Oregon Trail," Oak community leader Tom Jensen said. "There was a lot of commerce going through here, and all of it was heading west. 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.

"We've been told that it was 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. This happened on August 11, 1864. "Obviously it was a scare tactic to rid the Nebraska area of the white settlers."

Tours to some of the raid sites will begin at 11:00 am and continue at 1 hour intervals in Oak on August 11th. There will be some narration, and there will be local actors reenacting the scene. The public is invited and welcome. There will be many activities going on in the town of Oak all day as well.