Facts about the Missouria Native Indian
This article contains fast, fun facts and
interesting information about the Missouria Native
American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions
did the Missouria tribe live, what clothes did they wear
food did they eat? Discover what happened to the
Missouria tribe with facts about their wars and
Picture of the Missouria Chief
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
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
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
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
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
Climate: The climate was hot summers and
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
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
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.