In 1802, according to Lewis and Clark, three groups constituted the Osage—the Great Osage, on the Osage River; the Little Osage, farther up the same river; and the Arkansas band, on the Vermilion River, a tributary of the Arkansas. They then numbered some 5,500. By a series of treaties begun in 1810 the Osage ceded to the United States their extensive territory in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and they moved to a reservation in N central Oklahoma. They have since been given the right to own their land individually. The discovery of oil on their reservation land in the early 20th cent., plus their landholdings, contributed to the prosperity of the Osage. In 1990 there were over 10,000 Osage in the United States. The Osage Museum in Pawhuska, Okla., the oldest continuous tribal museum in the country, documents their history.
See F. La Flesche, The Osage Tribe (1921, repr. 1970) and War Ceremony and Peace Ceremony of the Osage Indians (1939); J. J. Mathews, The Osages, Children of the Middle Waters (1961); W. D. Baird, The Osage People (1972).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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