Category: Osage Nation

Categories: Tribes | Siouan people

Osage Nation

The Osage Nation is a Native American Siouan-speaking tribe in the United States that originated in the Ohio River valley in present-day Kentucky. After years of war with invading Iroquois, the Osage migrated west of the Mississippi River to their historic lands in present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma by the mid-17th century. At the height of their power in the early 18th century, the Osage had become the dominant power in their region, controlling the area between the Missouri and Red rivers. They are a federally recognized tribe and based mainly in Osage County, Oklahoma, coterminous with their reservation. Members are found throughout the country.

The 19-century painter George Catlin described the Osage as

The tallest race of men in North America, either red or white skins; there being few indeed of the men at their full growth, who are less than six feet in stature, and very many of them six and a half, and others seven feet.

The missionary Isaac McCoy described the Osage as an "uncommonly fierce, courageous, warlike nation" and Washington Irving said they were the "finest looking Indians I have ever seen in the West."

The Osage language is part of the Dhegihan branch of the Siouan stock of Native American languages. They originally lived among speakers of the same Dhegihan stock, such as the Kansa, Ponca, Omaha, and Quapaw in the Ohio Valley. The tribes likely became differentiated in languages and cultures after leaving the lower Ohio country. (1)

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