The Osage Nation
The Osage Native Americans lived in the Great plains in the Americas. Osage is pronounced “OH-say.” Osage is a French version of their name, which translates as “war like.”
They call themselves “Wazhazhe.” Their name means “people of the middle waters.” They lived in what is now Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Related: United States facts
The Osage nation and their ancestors have lived in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.
What language do the Osage speak?
They speak a Dhegihan Siouan language. Other nations that speak versions of this language lived alongside the Osage in the Ohio Valley. These are the Kansa, Ponca, Omaha and Quapaw.
The Osage meet Europeans
In 1673, the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet were the first Europeans to meet the Osage.
They were exploring on a trip from Canada heading south along the Mississippi River.
In 1673, Marquette made a map of the area, which contained the names of the indigenous people of those regions.
This map stated that the Osage, Kanza and Pawnee nations controlled what is now Kansas.
In the 1700s, the French and the Osage mostly traded and interacted. The Osage helped the French defeat the Illiniwek as their allies.
They traded fur for horses. A man called Bourgmont founded Fort Orleans. This was the first European fort on the Missouri River.
Osage Chiefs go to Paris
In 1725, some Osage Chiefs visited the land of their settler allies, France. Bourgmont took Indian chiefs to Paris.
In April 1725, all 22 Native American chiefs and the Europeans were waiting on the dock for the ship to set sail. Just as that was about to happen, the ship sank in the habour.
The Native Americans refused to go when they saw this. However, by June that year, seven chiefs agreed to go. They all set sail for Paris on a ship called the Gironde. They arrived in September.
After Bourgmont had strongly established a French presence on the Missouri River, he wanted to impress the Native Americans from Illinois and Missouri.
He wanted to win their favour so they would side with the French against the Spanish.
Chiefs from the Osage, Oto and Missouri tribes were hoping to persuade the French government to protect Illinois country from attacks from other neighbouring groups, like the Fox Indians.
The French King was very impressed by the Native Americans and their finery, and the members of the Native American delegation were impressed by Paris and the King too.
They told stories of it afterwards. They visited the Opera and all the sights of Paris, like the Palace of Versailles.
Because the French royalty wore curly wigs, the Osage reported that the men in France were half women with “curly hair.”
In the 1800s, the Osage were removed from their land by the United States.
The Osage were one of the only Native American nations to purchase their own reservation. They had more power because of this. This reservation is in Oklahoma.
The three Osage towns are Pawhuska, Hominy and Fairfax.
In the 1870s, the U.S. government did not give Native Americans their money, nor any of the food rations they were promised.
However, the Osage farmed their new farms well and went into many court battles with the American government for their lands and money.
In 1907, Chief James Bigheart struck a deal with the U.S. The deal was that if they found any resources on the reservation lands, the Native Americans could keep the profits.
Lots of oil was later found on their lands, so the Osage peoples made a lot of money in royalties. In 1923, they earned $30 million from this oil but not all the money was paid to the Osage.
The U.S. government kept a lot back for themselves.
In 2000, the Osage sued the U.S. government for failing to give the nation members their money and not historically protecting their lands.
The U.S. government had to pay the Osage all the money they were owed and promised to make lots of changes.
What does Osage mean?
Where do the Osage live?
Which European city did the Osage visit?
What did they say the French men looked like?
What was discovered on Osage land?