Center celebrates Missouriís native peoples

By Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks

The American Indian tribe that became known as the Missouria had first choice, and they built their thatched lodges on the hills above a spring in the fertile Missouri River valley.

They planted corn, beans and squash, and gathered roots and seeds from the wetlands below. The upland woods and prairies, and bottomland forests and river sloughs, provided a supply of otter, beaver, turtles, muskrat, deer, bison, fish and waterfowl.

The village once held some 5,000 people, but had declined to about 300 and had relocated closer to the river when Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliett arrived in 1673.

The explorers were told the tribe was called the Oumessourit, which meant “people of the big canoes.” The name evolved to Missouria for the tribe that lived there from the 1400s to the 1700s, and to Missouri for the…     Read More...