A language of United States

Alternate Names
Cegiha, Dhegiha, Mahairi, Ponka, Ppankka, Umanhan

85 (Golla 2007). Ethnic population: 525 (2000 census). 365 Omaha and 160 Ponca (2000 census).


Nebraska: Macy and Walthill (Omaha dialect); Iowa: south of Sioux City, east bank, Missouri river; Oklahoma: Red Rock area (Ponca dialect).

Language Status

8a (Moribund). Language of registered tribe: Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.


Omaha, Ponca. Ponca and Omaha are completely mutually intelligible, Reportedly similar to Osage [osa], Quapaw [qua], and Kansa [ksk].

Language Use

Formally for prayers, especially at funerals, for songs, powwow announcements, but usually translated into English [eng] for nonspeakers present. Older adults only. Also use English [eng], and all but a few older women are fully fluent in a regional variety.

Language Development

Dictionary. Grammar. Omaha language program at Umonhon Nation Public School Culture Center in Walthill. Taught at tribal college and at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Ponca language program at Red Rock high school (Golla 2007).

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Baha’i, Christian, Mormon.

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