The North East Region
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The North East region in the corner of Nebraska, has old oak savannahs, tall grass prairie, and interesting towns. This area has a rich history comprised of American Indians, early pioneers, homesteaders, outlaws and vigilantes. Lewis and Clark spent time here during their expedition. And the region is home to four Native American tribes: the Ponca, Santee Sioux, Omaha and Winnebago.
The Omaha and Winnebago People have lived in Thurston County since the mid 1800s. The small town of Walthill is home to the Susan LaFlesche Picotte Center - a tribute to the first Native American woman physician. The Center is housed in the building originally constructed as a hospital for her, now a National Historic Landmark with fascinating historical exhibits. The Winnebago Tribe has an interesting history and culture. They have brought bison back to their lands north of the town of Winnebago, in order to recreate and maintain a traditional source of food. The Winnebago Cultural Center and Museum on the Little Priest Tribal College campus offers interesting exhibits on the past and present of this tribe.
Two Nebraska Scenic and Historic Byways pass through the Lewis and Clark Region: the Outlaw Trail (Highway 12) and the Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway (Highway 75). The Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway follows the stunning landscape along the Missouri River and has several scenic overlooks. The Outlaw Trail through Eastern and Northern Nebraska passes through cottonwood forests, wetlands, lush cropland and pine and cedar forests. Along the route are the Ashfall Fossil Beds, the Museum of Fur Trade, and Fort Robinson State Park Museum. The Jesse James Gang and other horse thieves and swindlers hid among the hilly forests prevalent here.
South Sioux City, across the Missouri River from Sioux City, Iowa, is a gateway into Nebraska. It has thriving waterfront areas with parks, flower gardens and walking paths. Not far from South Sioux City is the Ponca State Park, with 1,400 acres of trails, Missouri River access, and an interactive Visitor Center.
Columbus is home to the Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial in Pawnee Park. Here visitors can walk into a life-sized replica of the Eureka boat Higgins designed, later used in the design of the Land Craft Vehicles Personnel used during World War II. In fact, President Dwight Eisenhower called Mr. Higgins "the man who won the war for us." Also in Columbus is the Quincentenary Belltower, which commemorates Columbus' first voyage to the New World every fifteen minutes with the ringing of ten large bells.