The Quapaw first encountered Europeans in 1541, when they met the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. He led an expedition that came across their chief town, between the Mississippi River and a lake on the Arkansas (west) side, apparently in present-day Phillips County. His party describe the village as strongly palisaded and nearly surrounded by a ditch. Archaeological remains and local conditions bear out the description. He recorded the people as the Capaha or Pacaha.
Pacaha was a Native American tribe encountered in 1541 by the Hernando de Soto expedition. This tribe inhabited fortified villages in what is today the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of Arkansas.
The tribe takes its name from the chieftain Pacaha (born in early 16th century), who ruled the tribe from its primary village on the Mississippi River, which was thought to be located in present-day Crittenden County, Arkansas nearTurrell. The site, part of the Nodena Phase, is known to archaeologists as "The Bradley Site". Information about Chief Pacaha and his people comes from journals made during the expedition of Hernando De Soto in 1541. The de Soto expedition stayed at Pacaha's village for approximately 40 days.
The first encounter was reported as hostile, but the parties arranged peace. The town was described as having a population of several thousand. The Quapaw did not have Europeans enter their territory again for more than 130 years. In 1673, the Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette accompanied the French commander Louis Jolliet in making his noted voyage down the Mississippi. He reportedly went to the villages of the Akansea, who gave him warm welcome and listened with attention to his sermons, while he stayed with them a few days. In 1682La Salle passed by their villages, then five in number, of which one was on the east bank of the Mississippi. The Recollect father, Zenobius Membré, accompanying La Salle, planted a cross and attempted to give the American Indians some idea of the Christians' God.
The commander negotiated a peace with the tribe and formally "claimed" the territory for France. The Quapaw were uniformly kind and friendly toward the French. In spite of frequent shiftings, the Quapaw villages in this early period were generally reported as four in number. They corresponded in name and population to four sub-tribes still existing, viz. Ugahpahti, Uzutiuhi, Tiwadimañ, and Tañwañzhita, or, under their French transliterations: Kappa, Ossoteoue, Touriman, and Tonginga.
In 1686 the French commander Henri de Tonti built a post on the Arkansas River, near its mouth, that later was known as the Arkansas Post. This began European occupation of the Quapaw country. Tonti arranged also for a resident Jesuit missionary, but apparently without result. About 1697 a smallpox epidemic killed the greater part of the women and children of two villages. In 1727 the Jesuits, from their house in New Orleans, again took up the missionary work. In 1729 the Quapaw allied with the French against the Natchez, resulting in the practical extermination of the Natchez.
The French relocated the Arkansas Post upriver, trying to avoid flooding. After losing to the British in the Seven Years' War, France ceded its North American territories to Britain. This nation exchanged territory with Spain, which took over "control" of Arkansas and other former French territory west of the Mississippi River. It built new forts to protect its valued trading post with the Quapaw.
Shortly after the United States acquired the territory in 1803 by the Louisiana Purchase, it recorded the Quapaw as living in three villages on the south side of the Arkansas River about 12 miles (19 km) above Arkansas Post. In 1818, they made their first treaty with the US government, ceding all claims from the Red River to beyond the Arkansas and east of the Mississippi.
They kept a considerable tract between the Arkansas and the Saline, in the southeastern part of the state. Under continued US pressure, in 1824 they ceded this also, excepting 80 acres (320,000 m2) occupied by the chief Saracen (Sarrasin) below Pine Bluff. They expected to incorporate with the Caddo of Louisiana, but were refused permission. Successive floods in the Caddo country near the Red River pushed many toward starvation, and they wandered back to their old homes.
In 1834, under another treaty, the Quapaw were removed from the Mississippi valley areas to their present location in the northeast corner of Oklahoma, then Indian Territory.
Sarrasin (alternate spelling Saracen), their last chief before the removal, was a Roman Catholic and friend of the Lazarist missionaries (Congregation of the Missions), who had arrived in 1818. He died about 1830 and is buried adjoining St. Joseph's Church, Pine Bluff, where a memorial window preserves his name. The pioneer Lazarist missionary among the Quapaw was Rev. John M. Odin, who later served as the Archbishop of New Orleans.
In 1824 the Jesuits of Maryland, under Father Charles Van Quickenborne, took up work among the native and immigrant tribes of present-day Kansas and Oklahoma. In 1846 the Mission of St. Francis was established among the Osage, on Neosho River, by Fathers John Shoenmakers and John Bax, who extended their services to the Quapaw for some years. The Quapaw together with the associated remnant tribes, the Miami, Seneca, Wyandot and Ottawa, were served from the Mission of "Saint Mary of the Quapaws", at Quapaw, Oklahoma. Historians estimated their number at European encounter as 5000. The Catholic Encyclopedia noted the people had suffered from high fatalities due to epidemics, wars, removals, and social disruption. It documented their numbers as 3200 in 1687, 1600 in 1750, 476 in 1843, and 307 in 1910, including all mixed bloods.
Besides the four established divisions already noted, the Quapaw have the clan system, with a number of gentes. Polygamy was practiced, but was not common. Like their relatives, the Osage, Quapaws had a complex religion. They were agricultural. Their towns werepalisaded. Their town houses, or public structures, constructed with timbers dovetailed together and bark roofs, were commonly erected upon large manmade mounds to guard against the frequent flooding. Their ordinary houses were rectangular and long enough to accommodate several families.
The Quapaw dug large ditches, and constructed fish weirs to manage their food supply. They excelled in pottery and in the painting of hide for bed covers and other purposes. The dead were buried in the ground, sometimes in mounds or in the clay floors of their houses, being frequently strapped to a stake in a sitting position and then covered with earth. They were friendly to the Europeans, while warring with the Chickasaw and other Southeastern tribes over resources and trade.
The Washitaw- OSAGE Nation
Descendants of indigenous peoples who had been in North America for thousands of years, the Osage traditions and linguistic data show they were part of a group of Dhegian-Siouan speaking people who lived in the Ohio River valley area, extending into present-day Kentucky. According to their own stories (common to other Dhegian-Siouan tribes, such as thePonca, Omaha, Kaw and Quapaw), they migrated west as a result of war with the Iroquois and/or to reach more game. Scholars are divided in whether they think the Osage and other groups left before the Beaver Wars. Some believe that they started migrating west as early as 1200 CE, and attribute long years of war with invading Iroquois to helping form their style of government. West of the Mississippi River, the Osage were sometimes allied with the Illiniwek and sometimes competing with them, as that tribe was also driven west of Illinois by warfare with the powerful Iroquois.
Eventually the Osage and other Dhegian-Siouan peoples reached their historic lands, likely splitting into the above tribes in the course of the migration to the Great Plains. By 1673, when they were recorded by the French, many of the Osage had settled near the Osage River in the western part of present-day Missouri. They were recorded in 1690 as having adopted the horse (often acquired in raids on other tribes.) The desire to acquire more horses contributed to their trading with the French. They attacked and defeated indigenous Caddo tribes to establish dominance in the plains region by 1750, with control "over half or more of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas," which they maintained for nearly 150 years. They lived near the Missouri River. Together with the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache, they dominated western Oklahoma. They also lived near the Quapaw and Caddo in Arkansas.
The Osage held high rank among the old hunting tribes of the Great Plains. From their traditional homes in the woodlands of present-day Missouri and Arkansas, the Osage would make semi-annual buffalo hunting forays into the Great Plains to the west. They also hunted deer, rabbit, and other wild game in the central and eastern parts of their domain. The women cultivated varieties of corn, squash, and other vegetables near their villages, which they processed for food. They also harvested nuts and wild berries. In their years of transition, the Osage had practices that had elements of cultures of both Woodland Native Americans and the Great Plains peoples.
In 1673 French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet were among the first Europeans to encounter the Osage as they explored southward from present-day Canada in their expedition along the Mississippi River. Marquette and Joliet claimed all land in the Mississippi Valley for France. Marquette's 1673 map noted that the Kanza, Osage, andPawnee tribes controlled much of modern-day Kansas.
The Osage called the Europeans I'n-Shta-Heh (Heavy Eyebrows) because of their facial hair. As experienced warriors, the Osage allied with the French, with whom they traded, against the Illiniwek during the early 18th century.
The first half of the 1720s was a time of more interaction between the Osage and French. Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmontfounded Fort Orleans in their territory; it was the first European fort on the Missouri River. Jesuit missionaries were assigned to French forts and established missions to the Osage, learning their language. In 1724, the Osage allied with the French rather than the Spanish in their fight for control of the Mississippi region.
In 1725, Bourgmont led a delegation of Osage and other tribal chiefs to Paris. The Native Americans were shown the wonders and power of France, including a visit to Versailles, Château de Marly and Fontainebleau. They hunted with Louis XV in the royal forest and saw anopera. After the French and Indian War (the North American front of the Seven Years' War in Europe), France was defeated by Great Britain and ceded its lands east of the Mississippi River to that nation. It made a separate deal with Spain, which took nominal control of much of the Illinois Country west of the great river.
By the late 18th century, the Osage did extensive business with the French Creole fur trader René Auguste Chouteau based in St. Louis; it was part of territory under nominal Spanish control after the Seven Years' War. But the French colonists were the true power in St. Louis and other settlements along the Mississippi, building their wealth on the fur trade. In return for the Chouteau brothers' building a fort in the village of the Great Osage 350 miles (560 km) southwest of St. Louis, the Spanish regional government gave the Chouteaus a six-year monopoly on trade (1794–1802). The Chouteaus named the post Fort Carondelet after the Spanish governor. The Osage were pleased to have a fur trading post nearby, as it gave them access to manufactured goods and increased their prestige among the tribes.
Lewis and Clark reported in 1804 that the peoples were the Great Osage on the Osage River, the Little Osage upstream, and the Arkansas band on the Verdigris River, a tributary of the Arkansas River. The tribe then numbered some 5,500.
In 1804 after the United States made the Louisiana Purchase, the wealthy French fur trader Jean Pierre Chouteau, a half-brother of René Auguste Chouteau, was appointed as the US Indian agent assigned to the Osage. In 1809 he founded the Saint Louis Missouri Fur Company with his son Auguste Pierre Chouteau and other prominent men of St. Louis, most of whom were of French-Creole descent. Having lived with the Osage for many years and learned their language, Jean Pierre Chouteau traded with them and made his home at present-day Salina, Oklahoma, in the western part of their territory.
The Choctaw chief Pushmataha had a notable career as a warrior against the Osage tribe. When the Western Cherokee (Arkansas Cherokee), who, like Sequoyah, voluntarily removed from the Southeast to the Arkansas River valley in the early 19th century, they immediately clashed with the Osage, as the Choctaw were invading their hunting lands. After the 1817 massacre known as the "Battle of Claremore Mound," in which 30 Osage warriors were killed, their horses and trade-worthy goods taken, the Osage ceded these lands to the federal government in the treaty referred to as Lovely's Purchase. The US had attacked them with a force of 600, including US soldiers and warriors from the Choctaw and Cherokee nations.
Despite its proclaimed goal of creating peace among Native peoples, the United States delivered these lands to the Cherokee aggressors, over the protest of Osage who had hoped the land would serve as a buffer zone between them and the Cherokee invaders. The Osage sought to preserve hunting rights even if other tribes were allowed to settle there.
In 1833, the Osage clashed with the Kiowa near the Wichita Mountains in modern-day south-central Oklahoma, in an incident known as the Cutthroat Gap Massacre. The Osage cut off the heads of their victims and arranged them in rows of brass cooking buckets. Not a single Osage died in this attack. Later, Kiowa warriors, allied with the Comanche, raided the Osage and others. In 1836, the Osage prohibited the Kickapoo from entering their Missouri reservation, pushing them back to ceded lands in Illinois.
In 1867, because of their scouting expertise, excellent terrain knowledge, and military prowess, Osage scouts were used by Lt. Col.George Armstrong Custer in his campaign against Chief Black Kettle and his band of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians in western Oklahoma near the Washita River. Custer and his soldiers took Chief Black Kettle and his band by surprise in the early morning. They killed Chief Black Kettle, and there were additional deaths on both sides. This incident became known as the Battle of Washita River.
The Osage began treaty-making with the United States in 1808, by the Osage Treaty and their first cession of lands in Missouri. This treaty created a buffer line between the Osage and new European-American settlers in the Missouri Territory, and ceded 52,480,000 acres (212,400 km2) to the federal government. This 1808 treaty also provided for approval by the U.S. President for future land sales and cessions. In 1808 the Osage moved from their homelands on the Osage River to western Missouri. The major part of the tribe had moved to the Three-Forks region of what would become Oklahoma soon after the arrival of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This part of the tribe did not participate in negotiations for the treaty of 1808, but their assent was obtained in 1809.
The Nov. 10, 1808 Treaty of Ft. Osage explicitly states the U.S. would "protect" the Osage tribe "from the insults and injuries of other tribes of Indians, situated near the settlements of white people....". However, in a letter dated Aug. 21, 1808 sent from President Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson informs Lewis that he approves of the measures Lewis has taken in regards to isolating friendly Osages from those deemed as hostile and says that "we may go further, & as the principal obstacle to the Indians acting in large bodies is the want of provisions, we might supply that want, & ammunition also if they need it." Lewis anticipated the US would go to war with the Osage, citing their raids on eastern Natives and European-American settlements. However, the U.S. lacked sufficient military strength to coerce segments of the Osage into ceasing their raids. It decided to supply the warriors of other tribes with weapons and ammunition, provided they attack the Osage to the point they "cut them off completely or drive them from their country." 
This strategy appeared to be taking place prior to 1808, as in Sept. 1807, Lewis had persuaded the Potawatomie and Sac and Fox to attack an Osage village; three Osage warriors were killed. The Osage blamed the Americans for the attack, but instead of retaliation they opted to attend a buffalo hunt after a "skillful trader" intervened.
The Osage occupied land in present-day Kansas and in Indian Territory which in the 1830s the US government later promised to the Cherokee and four other southeastern tribes under Indian Removal. When the Cherokee arrived to find that the land was already occupied, many conflicts arose with the Osage over territory and resources.
Between the first treaty with the US and 1825, the Osages ceded their traditional lands across Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma in the treaties of 1818 and 1825. In exchange they were to receive reservation lands and supplies to help them adapt to farming and a more settled culture.
They were first moved onto a southeast Kansas reservation called the Osage Diminished Reserve, where the city of Independence later developed. The first Osage reservation was a 50 by 150-mile (240 km) strip. Following the Louisiana Purchase, the United Foreign Missionary Society sent clergy to them, supported by the Presbyterian, Dutch Reformed and Associated Reformed churches. They established the Union, Harmony, and Hopefield missions. Their cultural differences often caused conflicts, as the Protestants tried to impose their culture. The Catholic Church also sent missionaries; the Osage were attracted to their sense of mystery and ritual, but felt the Catholics did not fully embrace the Osage sense of the spiritual incarnate in nature.
During this period in Kansas, the tribe suffered from the widespread smallpox pandemic of 1837-1838, which caused devastating losses among Native Americans from Canada to New Mexico. All clergy except the Catholics left the Osage during the crisis. Most survivors of the epidemic had received vaccinations against the disease. The Osage believed that the loyalty of Catholic priests, who stayed with them and also died in the epidemic, created a special covenant between the tribe and the Catholic Church, but they did not convert in great number. Honoring this special relationship, as well as Catholic sisters who taught their children, in 2014 numerous Osage elders went to St. Louis to celebrate the city's 250th anniversary of the European founding. They participated in a mass partially conducted in Osage at St. Francis Xavier (College) Catholic Church of St. Louis University on April 2, 2014, as part of planned activities. One of the con-celebrants was Todd Nance, the first Osage ordained as a Catholic priest.
In 1843 the Osage asked the federal government to send "Black Robes", Jesuit missionaries to educate their children; the Osage considered the Jesuits better able to work with their culture than the Protestant missionaries. The Jesuits also established a girls' school operated by the Sisters of Loretto from Kentucky. During a 35-year period, most of the missionaries were new recruits from Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. They taught, established more than 100 mission stations, built churches, and created the longest-running school system in Kansas.
White squatters continued to be a frequent problem for the Osage, but they recovered from population losses, regaining a total of 5,000 members by 1850. The Kansas-Nebraska Act resulted in numerous settlers arriving in Kansas; both abolitionists and pro-slavery groups were represented among those trying to establish residency and affect whether or not the territory would have slavery. The Osage lands became overrun with European-American settlers. In 1855, the Osage suffered another epidemic of smallpox, because a generation had grown up without getting vaccinated.
Subsequent treaties and laws through the 1860s further reduced the lands of the Osage in Kansas. During the years of the Civil War, they were buffeted by both sides, as they were located between Union forts in the North, and Confederate forces and allies to the South. While the Osage tried to stay neutral, both sides raided their territory, taking horses and food stores. They struggled simply to survive through famine and the war. During the war, many Caddoan and Creek refugees from Indian territory came to Osage country in Kansas, which further strained their resources.
Although the Osage favored the Union by a five to one ratio, they made a treaty with the Confederacy to try to buy some peace. As a result, after the war, they were forced to make a new treaty with the US during Reconstruction, and give up more territory in Kansas to European-American settlers. By a treaty in 1865, they ceded another 4 million acres (16,000 km2) to the United States and were facing the issue of eventual removal from Kansas to Indian Territory.
Following the American Civil War and victory of the Union, the Drum Creek Treaty was passed by Congress July 15, 1870 during the Reconstruction era and ratified by the Osage at a meeting in Montgomery County, Kansas, on September 10, 1870. It provided that the remainder of Osage land in Kansas be sold and the proceeds used to relocate the tribe to Indian Territory in the Cherokee Outlet. By their delays in agreeing to removal, the Osage benefited by the change in administration; they sold their lands to the "peace" administration of President Ulysses S. Grant, for which they received more money: $1.25 an acre rather than the 19 cents previously offered to them by the US.
The Osage were one of the few American Indian nations to buy their own reservation, and they retained more rights to the land and sovereignty as a result. The reservation, of 1,470,000 acres (5,900 km2), is coterminous with present-day Osage County, Oklahoma in the north-central portion of the state between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Ponca City, Oklahoma.
The Osage established three towns, which were the center of their three major bands at the time of removal:Pawhuska, Hominy and Fairfax. They continued their relationship with the Catholic Church, which established schools operated by two orders of nuns, as well as mission churches.
It was many years before the Osage recovered from the hardship suffered during their last years in Kansas and their early years on the reservation in Indian Territory. Although they had money held by the US government from the sale of their land, for nearly five years during the depression of the 1870s, the Osage did not receive their full annuity in cash; like other Native Americans, they suffered through the reduced rations that the government supplied during this period. Some people starved. Many adjustments had to be made to their new way of life.
During this time, Indian Office reports showed nearly a 50 percent decline in the Osage population. This resulted from the failure of the US government to provide adequate medical supplies, food and clothing. The people suffered greatly during the winters. While the government failed to supply them, outlaws often smuggled whiskey to the Osage as well as the Pawnee.
In 1879, an Osage delegation went to Washington, DC and gained agreement for payment of all their annuities in cash; they were the first Native American nation to gain this. They gradually began to build up their tribe again, but suffered encroachment by white outlaws, vagabonds, and thieves.
By the start of the 20th century, the federal government and progressives were continuing to press for Native American assimilation, believing this was the best policy for them. Congress passed the Curtis Act and Dawes Act, legislation requiring the dismantling of other reservations. They allotted communal lands in 160-acre portions to individual households, declaring the remainder as "surplus" and selling it to non-natives.