Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, Inc. [OTHRP]


Omahas in History


 Photograph courtesy of OTHRP Archives.

Thomas Sloan

attorney, national advocate, mayor, county supervisor




Thomas Sloan, attorney

Sloan, who entered Hampton at the age of 23, served on the Wigwam Council, a governing council for the male students, and while at school, was manager of Talks and Thoughts, Indian publication at Hampton. Students "contributed all the material, edited and printed it, and held themselves responsible for its finances."

After graduating valedictorian of his class in 1889, Sloan refused to be "sent through" Yale Law School. Instead he chose to return home to read law with Hiram Chase, a graduate of the Cincinnati Law School. Sloan believed a law education gained by his own efforts made him a stronger individual. He went into law practice with Chase under "Sloan & Chase, Attorneys-At-Law." In 1892, he was admitted to the Nebraska Bar. Specializing in cases involving native people. Sloan had the honor of being the first Indian Attorney to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court in 1904.

On a national level, Sloan was an organizer of the Society of American Indians in 1911 where he was joined by Leta Von Feldon Meyers [not pictured] as secretary. This Society was the first of its kind. Sloan was its first vice-president and later president as well as a member of its executive council. The Society was consulted by both commissioners and congress before legislation was drawn up becoming a major influence for all Indian tribes.

He was elected to be a member of the Harding administration's Committee of One Hundred to advise on Indian policy. This committee's work resulted in the landmark 1928 Meriam Report which provided the most comprehensive survey of federal Indian programs to date and made important recommendations concerning the education of American Indians.

Active in local politics, Sloan was elected mayor of Pender, NE in 1901 where he owned a flour mill. Sloan also was County Surveyor for Thurston County for two terms and was appointed federal court commissioner, and was twice elected a member of the village board of trustees in Pender. In 1920 he was editor-in-chief of the American Indian Magazine.

A Hampton Home

Over on the reservation
Is a happy little home,
And I wander in that direction
When I'm a lonesome
I tap upon the window glass
To a little boy within;
He quickly answers with a laugh,
Which welcomes me to come in.
Then in I go, we have such fun,
I take him on my knee,
And long before our play is done
I'm as happy as can be.

(By the lonesome student) May 1887




                                            Photograph courtesy of Hampton University Museum Archives

Thomas Sloan at Hampton Institute



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RR 1 Box 79A
Walthill, NE 68067

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