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History: Missouri's Native Peoples

Getting Started

There are currently no federally recognized tribes in the state of Missouri. Most of the indigenous people who once inhabited land in Missouri were forced to leave and resettle in Indian Territory (present day-Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas) during the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Before the Indian Removal Act there were seven tribes in Missouri:

Great Seal of the Chickasaw  Seal of the Osage Nation    Seal of the Otoe Missouri Tribe  Seal of the Oh-Gah-Pah Indian Tribe

Prominent Figures

Peter Bigheart, Chief of the Osage tribe, 1909 - Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; photograph by William J. Boag, c. 1909.


Shauhaunapotinia, an Ioway Chief, hand-coloured lithograph by Charles Bird King, c. 1835. - SMU Central University Libraries

Missouri Life Magazine

This  three-part series from Missouri Life magazine provides an overview of the history of the original tribes of Missouri.

Part 1: When the Osage and Missouria Reigned

Part 2: Things Fall Apart

Part 3: Homecoming


Native Americans can be described using a number of terms.  The following keywords can help you in your research process:


  • Native Americans
  • American Indians
  • Indians
  • First Nations
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Specific Tribal Names (Osage, Cherokee, etc.)