Beliefs - History
The Otoes were divided into a series of clans who each traced their lineage back to a sacred bird or animal. Each clan held certain rights and responsibilities within the tribe and each provided leaders for religious or ceremonial occasions. The Buffalo People led the tribe on the spring hunt; the Bear People controlled the buffalo hunt in the spring. The Beaver People supplies the sacred pipe; the Elk People provided the fire with which the pipe was lighted.
Insasmuch as family ties were fundamentally important, many members of a family helped to care for the Otoe children. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles all shared responsibility with a child's parents for the proper upbringing of an Otoe boy or girl. Especially important was the relationship between an Otoe boy and his mother's brother, because the uncle gave the boy a nickname and was expected to offer advice upon important matters.