Permanent Exhibits

Historic Native Americans: The Osages

During the 1600s and 1700s the Osage Indians controlled a vast region that included parts of modern-day Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas was often used by the Osage as a hunting territory. The Osage alternated village life with long distance hunting trips. Within the village, women built houses, planted gardens, and gathered wild food. Men were responsible for hunting and for defending the village. Several times during the year, the entire village went on long hunting trips for buffalo, deer, bear, and beaver.

At the beginning of the 1800s, the main goal of the U. S. government was to develop permanent industrial and farming settlements throughout the eastern United States. Indians and frontiersmen living in that part of the country were pressured to move westward to, among other places, lands claimed by the Osage. The government began bargaining with the Osage, and with a treaty in 1808 the Osage gave up their claims to most of Northwest Arkansas. Even though they continued to hunt in the area, the era of Osage domination in the Arkansas Ozarks was over.

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