Osage Indians

The Osage Indians were a tribe of Native Americans who were originally located around the Missouri and Osage rivers in what was to become the state of Missouri. They were discovered there by French explorers around the year 1673, who noted their skills at foraging, gardening, and hunting. The game the Osage hunted consisted of many animals, from small game to elk, deer, bear, and bison. The men of the Osage were responsible for the actual hunting, and then the women would butcher the meat. The women would then prepare the meat through drying and smoking methods, as well as turning their hides into useful products.

Osage men shaved most of their hair, though a scalp lock was left at the top. The women of the Osage wore dresses made out of treated deer hide and perfumed their clothes with columbine seed. They would also use the fur of ermines and pumas to decorate their ceremonial clothing. The men wore leggings, made out of deerskin as well. All of the Osage wore moccasins, and for the winter months were known to wear robes made out of buffalo skin. Eventually these fashions were augmented by the appearance of foreigners, with cloth becoming part of their wardrobe.

The Osage were known to trade their extra produce and meat with other tribes of Native Americans as well as with Europeans and Americans. This started to go downhill in 1808 when the United States federal government began to take the land of the Osage for their own use. The Osage moved from their original homes to western Missouri as part of a treaty, then a later treaty forced them to give up their lands altogether. The Osage were moved to a reservation, though they were later moved to other reservations as American growth changed the landscape. Today there are around 10,000 Osage members, 5,000 of which live in the state of their current reservation, Oklahoma.

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