Mayor Jack Hobbie and representatives of Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce and Nebraska City News-Press awarded the 2013 prestigious tree award to Skip Hammond for the “treaty tree” during the community tree planting activities at the Lewis and Clark Center.
Rose Ralstin of NCTC said the bur oak dates back 156 years to the 1857 Pawnee Treaty, which is featured in a stone monument along Centennial Avenue and a Haskell Coffin painting on the staircase of Arbor Lodge State Park.
“This tree is actually depicted in the painting, and represents where the treaty was signed,” Ralstin said.
The treaty tree is a reminder of a treaty negotiated between Pawnee chiefs and U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs James W. Denver.
In the treaty, the Pawnees relinquished the land north of the Platte River in exchange for protection against the Sioux and $40,000 a year for five years. The Pawnee also agreed to cooperate with the half-breed reservation in Nemaha County.
A 2008 report from the Nebraska City Historical Society indicates the United States never delivered on its promise of protection. The Pawnee experienced regular border disputes with settlers and other tribes and the Sioux attacked their buffalo hunt in 1873.
The Pawnee, which numbered about 10,000 people, had ceded to the United States all of their land south of the Platte River in 1833.
In 1857, the Pawnee chiefs were summoned to an area near North Table Creek, where the treaty tree remains.
The painting depicts Denver, for whom the Colorado city is named, along with J. Sterling and Caroline Morton with the Pawnee.
Other prestigious tree winners are:
Green ash, 314 Pinewood Dr.
Sycamore, 412 N. 7th St.
Bur oak, 10th St 2nd Ave.
Whispering Pines Bed & Breakfast
Pin oak, 509 S. 16th St.
Eastern white pine, 1702 First Ave.
A gingko tree. 1414 Second Ave.
Black oak at 1802 Third Ave.
Red bud, 121 N. Park Lane.
Northern red oak, courhouse lawn.
Black walnut, 310 N. 22nd St.
Bur oak, 2001 S. Third St.
Concolor fir, 521 N. 18th St.
Scarlet oak, 702 N. 17th St.