Missouria Tribe

Missouria Native Indian

This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Missouria Native American Indian Tribe who are now federally recognized as the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, based in Red Rock, Oklahoma.

The Missouria Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Missouria tribe were originally farmers and part of Sioux tribes of Great Lakes area. The people migrated south to the Great Plains and lived in the present-day state of Missouri that was named after the tribe. They settled along the Missouri River and extended as far north as the River Platte.

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Facts about the Missouria Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Missouria Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Missouria tribe live, what clothes did they wear and what food did they eat? Discover what happened to the Missouria tribe with facts about their wars and history.

Picture of the Missouria Chief
The above picture depicts a Missouria Native Indian wearing a blanket cloak and his finest jewelry including numerous bead and shell choker necklaces together various ear piercings and earrings. It was painted by Karl Bodmer (1809 – 1893) a French-Swiss artist who accompanied German explorer Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied from 1832 through 1834 on his Missouri River expedition.

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Missouria tribe?
The state and the Missouri River are both named after the Missouri people. The name "Missouria" is believed to have derived from the Illinois (Algonquian) word 'ouemessourita', meaning "town of the large canoes" or "he of the big canoe". In their own language, the Missouri called themselves Niuachi or Nudarcha. The Missouria people were closely related to the Osage, Omaha, Quapah and Ponca tribes. They traded fur with the French with whom the became allies during the xx French Indian War (1754-1763) against the British. They are associated with the Otoe tribe with whom they later merged following the decimation of their people following inter-tribal warfare, particularly with the Osage, and devastating smallpox epidemics.  When the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through their territory, they numbered only 300 people. The Missouria tribe were roving buffalo hunters who fought and hunted on horseback living in tepees during the summer and earth lodges in the winter. In 1854 the Missouria were forced to accept a reservation in Gage Country, Nebraska but were eventually sent to a reservation in Oklahoma.

The Missouria tribe and the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 the Lewis and Clark expedition with the Corps of Discovery made their famous journey. On 21 July, 1804 the explorers had reached the Platte River encountered a Missouria village of earth lodges. the chiefs of the Missouria tribes, led by Chief Crow's Head and Chief Black Cat together with the chiefs of the Otoe, led by Chief Little Thief and Chief Big Horse, were the first Native Indians that Lewis and Clark parleyed with in the West.


Where did the Missouria tribe live?
The Missouria are people of the Great Plains Native American cultural group. The location of their tribal homelands are shown on the map.  The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Missouria tribe.

  • The American Great Plains region mainly extended across states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota

  • Land: Grass covered prairies with streams and rivers

  • Climate: The climate was hot summers and cold winters

  • Animals: The  animals included the Bison (Buffalo), deer, cougars, elk, bear, beaver, porcupine, antelope, prairie dogs, eagles and wolves

  • Fish: Various fish including sturgeon, crayfish and mussels

  • Crops: The crops grown in the area were corn, beans, sunflower seeds and squash

Map showing Great Plains Native American Indian Tribes

What did the Missouria tribe live in?
The Missouria tribe lived in Earthen houses, also called  earth lodges, which was a permanent type of winter homes for Native American Indians who lived in harsh climates without large forests. The Missouria tribe also used tepees as a form of temporary shelter when they went hunting for buffalo hunts during the hot, summer months.

What language did the Missouria tribe speak?
The Missouria tribe spoke in the Chiwere dialect of the Siouan language, closely related linguistically to the Iowa and Otoe tribes.

What food did the Missouria tribe eat?
The mainstay of Missouria food was buffalo meat, that was acquired on their summer hunting trips. The meats also included deer (venison), elk, bear and wild turkey. Their main food were supplemented with roots and wild vegetables such as spinach, prairie turnips and potatoes together with berries and fruits such as melon. The Missouria also farmed corn, beans and squash and obtained fish from the rivers.

What weapons did the Missouria use?
The weapons used by the Missouria tribe included bows and arrows, lances, stone ball clubs, gunstock clubs, hatchet axes, spears and knives. Painted  war shields were used on horseback as a means of defence.  Their traditional enemies were the Sioux, Fox, Sauk, Osage and the Pawnee. Their closest allies were the Ponca, Otoe and the Omaha tribes.

What clothes did the Missouria tribe wear?
The men of the Missouria tribe wore a variety of clothes including a blue or red belted breechcloths, deerskin leggings, and sometimes a blanket robe over the upper part of the body. Buffalo hides were also worn as cloaks and moccasins were worn during the winter. Ornaments were made of beads, shells and metal. The women wore buckskin knee-length dresses or skirts, leggings and blanket wraps.

Missouria History: What happened to the Missouria tribe?
The following Missouria history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks of the people. The Missouria timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.

Missouria History Timeline

  • The Otoe Tribe originated in the Great Lakes Region

  • 1670's: The French establish fur trading posts in the area

  • 1673: Jacques Marquette details the location of the Missouria on his map

  • 1717:The Missouria settle along the Platte and Missouri Rivers in southeastern Nebraska and come into conflict with the Osage tribe

  • 1720's: French explorer Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont visited the people and married the daughter of a Missouria chief

  • 1730: The Fox and Sauk kill hundreds of the Missouria people

  • 1780: Conflicts continued with the Iowa, Fox and Sauk tribes

  • 1801: A devastating smallpox epidemic kills many people

  • 1802: They number of Missouria people considerably declines due to sickness and inter-tribal warfare

  • 1803: The Louisiana Purchase

  • 1804: Lewis and Clark expedition (1804 - 1806) made contact with the Missouria tribe

  • 1812: On June 4th, 1812. Louisiana Territory was renamed Missouri Territory

  • 1813: Manuel Lisa (1772 -1820) established Ft. Lisa, the most important trading post on the Missouri River, controlling trade with the Omaha, Pawnee, Missouria, and other neighbouring Indians from 1813 to 1822

  • 1817: Treaty with the US government

  • 1819: Arkansas Territory was created, taken from the southern area of Missouri Territory

  • 1829: The Missouria tribe merges with the Otoe tribe

  • 1830: The Indian Removal Act

  • 1832: The artist Karl Bodmer visits the Missouria tribe

  • 1836: The Missouria joined with other tribes in more treaties with the U.S. Government

  • 1837: Second great Smallpox epidemic kills many Native American Indians

  • 1837: The Missouria tribe was under the jurisdiction of the Council Bluff Agency (1837-1856)

  • 1854: The Missouria were re-located to the Big Blue River Reservation in southeastern Nebraska

  • 1862: In 1862 the combined Missouria-Otoe tribe numbered 708, and in 1876 numbered only 454

  • 1862: The Homestead Act allowed white settlers to move on to Indian lands

  • 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

  • 1881: The Missouria-Otoe tribe were forcibly moved to Indian Territory and later moved to Red Rock, Oklahoma, where the tribe is currently located

Missouria History Timeline


  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the people lived
  • The clothes worn by men and women
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Missouria would eat
  • Fast Facts and info about the Missouria
  • Names of famous chiefs and leaders
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Missouria Native American Indians

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
The Missouria Tribe was one of the most famous tribes of Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Missouria nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Missouria tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .


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