The Osage in the Four States



 If you live in the Four-States area you are in the heart of the former Osage Indian Nation. Maybe not the most famous tribe, but arguably the most signicant in American history. Their geographical location in North America was so significant that it halted westward expansion for 125 years! Being in possesion of the major waterways of the Arkansas and Missouri rivers, along with the ancient overland route that passed through southest Kansas, it was the equivelant of possesing the crossroads of the Asian ‘Silk Road’. In fact, many historians say that had these natives not held the Spanish and French at bay, the United States probably would not exist today.

 The Osage were a highly organized people who’s government structure was more than likely the model for modern western civilization’s present governments. They certainly (indirectly) brought the notion of  “Inalienable Rights” to Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers.

  A fierce and proud people, they were primarily hunters/warriors. They were a kind and loving Nation who valued life of all forms. Even though they were ‘civilized’, they were far from being pacifist. Any native or white man who failed to understand their rules and traditions could possibly pay with his life. Any hunting in their territory without permission would end with your head on a stake, warning poachers to follow the rules! Of course, white men saw this as savage, while at the same time hanging poachers and cattle rustlers.

Politeness to each other was paramount, and traditions were followed to the tee. The Osage saw the first white explorers as extremely rude. (Look how they spoke to each other!) They also complained that the whites smelled bad and rarely bathed. Worst of all was their common trait, GREED. One Chief was quoted as saying; “They faithfully keep the sabbath, and anything else they get their hands on!”

 The Osage was not a nomadic tribe of hunters, however they did move their villages and camps as needs arose. Being in firm possession of this land made them arguably the most powerful tribe in the first 100 years of American history.

 If you live in southeast Kansas, you live on, or near their village sites, which were all over the Neosho and Verdigris rivers as well as the smaller tributaries such as Labette creek. Black Dog’s clan inhabited much of SEK. In fact, towns like Chanute and Oswego, Independence and Coffeyville are on the very spots that were their villages. In the extreme southest corner, Baxter Springs was a large Indian village long before it was the first cowtown in Kansas. The trails established by the Osage eventually became the white man’s cattle trails.

 Hopefully I will have time to cover more Osage history. There is so much that is not at all what we were taught in school, if any of this was mentioned at all. Seeing history from the native inhabitant’s point of view is a new experience for me.     -For other similar posts; click the TAG – Osage. OR choose the category Native American, under SEGREGATIONS on the right side-bar.


Filed under AMERICANA, History, Kansas, Southeast Kansas, The Four States

25 responses to “The Osage in the Four States

  1. Great post Sekan. looking forward to some weekly installments of the Osage Indians. Loved the irony between the Indians law and the white man’s.

    • Now that I try to turn off the BS media hype maybe I can turn on my brain.

      About the poaching.
      If anyone asked permission they were allowed to hunt.
      Not only allowed, but more or less protected by the Osage when hunting. They did this for the Wichita Indians during the civil war.

      • In Australia many of the Aboriginals were massacred because of the cultural misunderstandings (nice excuse). Part of the tribal way of catching food was to set the bush on fire and then spear the animals such as kangaroos as they fled. White man thought, oh shit, they are friggin angry with us, lets shoot them!
        Many Aborigines died when the white man arrived because they brought with them the common flu to which they had no natural immunity. Masses died in Sydney when the First Fleet arrived.
        When the monks arrived in Western Australia they also took several Aborigines to Italy and to the convents. Very little has been written about their journey. I believe they died in Italy (probably again from influenza). So fascinating a story but sadly no one interested in writing it.

    • TodRum

      Great Article ! Have you any other Osage or related writings?

  2. jammer5

    Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet tribe in Montana, filed a lawsuit against the United Styates Government on behalf of the Sac, Fox and Pawnee tribes in Oklahoma. The latest figure cited by the Cobell plaintiffs for what’s at stake financially in the class-action suit over government accounting of funds is about $58 billion, although U.S. Interior Department officials dispute that number.

    What the government did, and the subsequent actions by its representatives, can only be called outright theft. I read an outstanding book about it years ago, and damn if I can remember the name. It had a lot to do with oil. Senior moment, donchaknow.

  3. Hey guys, if I was an Osage Indian what’s the bet I would still be called Friggin Loon !

  4. I would love to talk with my Cousin about all this. He is a very busy man though.

  5. Kelly

    Can someone help me find out more about Blackdog….he was my great grandfather,@I like to no more about him…thank u,Kelly

    • Kelly, I have removed the post with your email. I still have the email and will respond when I have more time.

    • TodRum

      Black Dog is very well known and historically important – controlling the trade road mentioned in the article. Kelly you can google or search his name and find a wealth of info. Please visit the museum in Pahuska Oklahoma, near Black Dogs territory, aqnd at the heart of present day Osage County. Its a wonderful museum, with a lot of Black Dog memorabilia and information

  6. That comment about the Sabbath is one of the best quotes I have ever read.

  7. Richard Johnson

    Very informative!

  8. powwowportraits

    hi as an Osage tribal member I’m floored with any discussion of our past !

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