Quapaw Indians intermarried with the French during the colonial period and were strong allies of the French. They fought with or supported the French in war and helped to defend the Mississippi River against the pro-British Chickasaw.
The Quapaw Indians are original people of Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The Quapaw tribe was forced to move to Oklahoma in the 1800’s along with many other tribes, and most Quapaw people are still living in Oklahoma today.
Successive floods in the Caddo country near the Red River pushed many toward starvation, and they wandered back to their old homes. In 1834, under another treaty, the Quapaw were removed from the Mississippi valley areas to their present location in the northeast corner of Oklahoma, then Indian Territory.
The Quapaw moved down the Mississippi River into Arkansas, this is the origin of the word Ogaxpa, which can be translated as “downstream people”. Tribal history indicates that as the Dhegiha people were moving they came upon the river, and a dense fog had arisen.
Quapaw, or Arkansas, is a Siouan language of the Quapaw people, originally from a region in present-day Arkansas.
The Osage people refer to themselves in their indigenous Dhegihan Siouan language as (Wazhazhe), or “Mid-waters”. By the early 19th century, the Osage had become the dominant power in the region, feared by neighboring tribes.
After she married a white trapper they continued to live here and farmed, hunted, trapped and fished in Crooked Creek. They fit in with the early, white settlers and also the other Indian tribes that moved here when they were pushed out by white men in the East. These tribes were mostly the Cherokee and Shawnee.
The Quapaws lived in houses made of wood, rivercane or vines covered with a plaster of a thatched roof. Although they traveled a lot, but preferred to stay in one place and practice agriculture. Their houses are similar to that of the South-eastern tribes.
The Caddo people had a diet based on cultivated crops, particularly maize ( corn ), but also sunflower, pumpkins, and squash. These foods held cultural significance, as did wild turkeys. They hunted and gathered wild plants, as well.
What type of food did they eat? The Osage hunted a variety of animals for food including bison, deer, and elk. They also farmed vegetables such as corn, beans, and squash.
The French called the Quapaws the “Arkansas,” the Illini word for “People of the South Wind,” and so named the river and the countryside after them.
Quapaw Indians lived in four villages near the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers when they were first contacted by the French explorers Marquette and Jolliet in 1673.
Ancestry was traced through the father, and children adopted their father’s clan, a social unit associated with and named after a respected animal, celestial body, or weather phenomenon. Each clan had specific ceremonial responsibilities and was divided into two groups, the Earth People and the Sky People.