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History Osage and White Explorers


The Osage and White Explorers

The first white explorers to see the mouth of the Missouri River near Saint Louis were Marquette and Joliet in 1673. Other explorers and traders followed. By the early 1700s, a flourishing fur trade in beaver pelts existed between the Indians and the traders. The Osage obtained guns from the traders, but still often hunted with bow and arrow. Relations between Osage and whites were sometimes good, but often strained. The real troubles grew as more and more white people came to live in the Osage lands. Bands of Osage would sometimes raid the farms of the settlers and make off with their property. They felt the white settlers were taking their land.

Missouri was first claimed by the Spanish, but went to France in 1763. In 1803 the United States bought Missouri from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase. This marked the beginning of the end of Osage life in Missouri. The Osage were forced to sign the Treaty of 1808, which broke the promise made by the US Government in 1804 that Osage land would not be taken. The 1808 treaty took most of the Osage land in Missouri and Arkansas. Treaties in 1818 and 1825 took the rest. The only land they had left was a strip of land in southern Kansas. 

They lived on the Kansas land for 45 years, trying to hang on to their old ways. They hunted the buffalo in the west, tended their gardens and raided their neighbors. Some fought in the Civil War. The Osage eventually had to move to northeast Oklahoma after an 1870 treaty. They managed to retain their tribal identity better than many other tribes. They were the first tribe to establish a tribal museum. It is located in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

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The Osage
Osage Hunting
Link: The Official Site of the Osage Nation
  Sources: The Osage in Missouri, Kristie C. Wolferman.
Osage Life and Legends,
Robert Liebert.
The Historic Indians of the Missouri Ozarks,
Angela Smith, for the Mark Twain National Forest.