What was the lifestyle and culture of the Osage tribe?
The Osage called themselves Ni-U-Kon-Ska meaning "Children of the Middle Waters"), but were known as "Wah Sha She" by most whites at the time they were encountered by the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804 - 1806) when they were referred to as the "the great nation South of the Missouri". The people of the tribe were strong and unusually tall. Warriors were extremely swift-footed and were known to travel up to 60 miles in just one day. The above picture of an Osage warrior was painted by the famous artist George Catlin (1796-1872) who described the brave as wearing "a profusion of wampum on his neck, and a fan in his hand made of the eagle's tail". The fierce, powerful, war-like braves wore striking red face paint and shaved their heads except for a scalplock (one long lock of hair in back) and wore a porcupine roach headdress on top. The Osage were great traders and fought on the side of the French in the wars with the British. They acquired flintlock muskets and sharp tomahawks from the Europeans early in their history which made the tribe formidable military opponents to many other Native American tribes. The Louisiana Purchase (1803) the 1808, the Osage signed the Drum Creek Treaty in 1868, ceding almost all of Missouri, to the United States. The Osage later became scouts for the U. S. Army.
Where did the Osage tribe live?
The Great Plains Osage were woodland farmers but adopted a nomadic lifestyle, hunting the great buffalo herds and living in tepees made of buffalo hides.
They lived in the American Great Plains region in the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The tribe settled in Missouri
Land: Grass covered prairies with some streams and rivers
Climate: Hot summers and cold winters
Animals: The animals included the Bison (Buffalo), black bears from the Ozark Mountains, deer, cougars, elk, bear, beaver, porcupine, antelope, prairie dogs, eagles and wolves
Fish: Various fish including sturgeon, crayfish and mussels
Crops: Maize, beans, and squash raised in farmlands by their permanent villages
What did the Osage tribe live in?
During the summer the Great Plains Osage hunted for buffalo using tepees as shelters, but their permanent homes were originally large fortified villages of thatched longhouses.
What language did the Osage tribe speak?
The tribe spoke in the Dhegihan dialect of the Siouan language, closely related linguistically to the Sioux and the Stoney tribe.
What food did the Osage tribe eat?
The food that the Osage tribe ate came from the animals they hunted on the Great Plains including Buffalo, elk, deer (venison), black bear and wild turkey. This food was supplemented with roots and wild vegetables such as spinach, prairie turnips and potatoes and flavored with wild herbs and dried buffalo meat called pemmican. The Osage farmers produced beans, maize and squash supplemented with pumpkin.
What weapons did the Osage use?
The weapons used by the tribe included muskets, lances, knives, hatchets, tomahawks and strong bows and arrows made of Osage Orangewood.
What clothes did the Osage wear?
The men of the tribe wore breechcloths, fringed buckskin tunics or shirts and leggings. Warm buffalo robes or cloaks were also worn to protect against the cold and the rain. The women wore buckskin knee-length dresses and leggings and buffalo robes during bad weather.
Osage History: What happened to the Osage tribe?
The following Osage history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks of the people. The Osage timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.
Osage History Timeline
1673: French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet made the first European contact with the Osage tribe along the Osage River
1700's: Strong fur trading links were established with the French
1746: Major conflict with Comanche and the Pawnee tribes
1750: The Osage defeated the Caddo tribes to establish dominance in the plains region with control "over half or more of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas".
1754: French Indian War (1754-1763), also known as the 7 year war, was the fourth and final series of conflicts in the French and Indian Wars fought between the British and the French. Both sides were aided by Native Indian allies. The Osage are allied to the French
1763: French and Indian War ends in victory for the British. Canada, east of the Mississippi River, was added to the British empire
1795: Rene Auguste Chouteau, a French fur trader controlled the trade with the Osage built Fort Carondelet
1801: A devastating smallpox epidemic decimates the Osage people
1803: The Louisiana Purchase. The U. S. found the Osage to be the largest and most formidable tribe encountered in the Louisiana Purchase
1804: Jean Pierre Chouteau, a half-brother of Rene Auguste Chouteau, was appointed as the US Indian agent
1804: Lewis and Clark expedition (1804 - 1806) encounter the Osage and establish friendly relations
1806: A grand council was held September 28, 1806 between Zebulon Pike and James Wilkinson and various chiefs of the Kansa, Pawnee and Osage Nations
1808: Treaty of Fort Osage, the first cession of their lands in Missouri
1813: Manuel Lisa (1772 -1820) established Ft. Lisa, the most important trading post on the Missouri River, controlling trade with the Omaha, Pawnee, Missouria, Otoe, and other neighbouring Indians from 1813 to 1822
1817: The Battle of Claremore Mound, also known as the Claremore Mound Massacre, when 500 Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and whites perpetrate a bloody massacre at an Osage village
1833: The Cutthroat Gap Massacre when the Osage massacred 150 Kiowa near the Wichita Mountains
1834: The artist George Catlin visits the Osage tribe
1837: The Osage War in Missouri
1837: Second great Smallpox epidemic kills many Native American Indians
1860's: The Osage become scouts for the U. S. Army
1868: May 27, 1868 – The Drum Creek Treaty is signed at Drum Creek Agency in which the Osage nation sell 8.03 million acres to the Federal Government for $1.6 million
1870: Treaty established the Osage Reservation in the northeastern part of Indian Territory (Oklahoma)
1870's: The buffalos had been deliberately slaughtered by the whites to the point of extinction so ending the lifestyle of the Great Plains Native Indians
1872: Indian Agent, Isaac Gibson, selects the site of the Osage Agency at Pawhuska
1887-1934: General Allotment Act (1887) began land allotment of Osage territory
1894: Oil discovered on the Osage reservation
1906: The Osage Allotment Act was passed by Congress
2001: Osage Casino, Hominy, Oklahoma, opened and five other casinos followed
2013: Osage Casinos officially opened newly constructed casinos and hotels in Ponca City and Skiatook
Osage History Timeline