1. a member of a North American Indian people formerly of western Missouri, now living in northern Oklahoma.2. the Siouan language of the Osage.3. a river flowing E from E Kansas to the Missouri River in central Missouri. 500 mi. (800 km) long.
* * *The name Osage is a French-derived version of their name for themselves, Wazhazhe. They lived variously in the Piedmont and Ozark plateaus and the western Missouri and southeastern Kansas prairies. Their culture was marked by the combination of village agriculture and buffalo hunting. Their villages consisted of longhouses; tepees were used during the hunting season. Their religious ceremonies divided clans into symbolic sky and earth groups. In the late 19th century the Osage were removed to a reservation in Oklahoma. The discovery of oil there made them a uniquely prosperous tribe. They number more than 18,000.
* * *▪ peopleNorth American Indian tribe of the Dhegiha branch of the Siouan (Siouan languages) linguistic stock. The name Osage is a French alliteration of the name Wazhazhe, one of the two ancient kin groups (the other was the Tsishu) from which the tribe descended. Like other members of the Dhegiha—the Omaha, Ponca, Kansa, and Quapaw—the Osage migrated westward from the Atlantic coast, settling first in the Piedmont Plateau between the James and Savannah rivers in the present states of Virginia and the Carolinas. After a time they moved to the Ozark Plateau and the prairies of what is now western Missouri. At this point the five tribes separated, with the Osage remaining in villages on the Osage River, where Jacques Marquette (Marquette, Jacques) recorded their location in 1673. They remained there until the early 19th century, when they ceded their Missouri lands to the United States government and moved west to the Neosho River valley in Kansas. After settling on the Kansas reservation, the Osage were notable for their persistent rejection of the dominant American culture; they continued to dress in traditional clothing and to build traditional homes. They also discouraged the use of alcohol, which had been introduced by traders.Traditional Osage culture was typical of many Plains Indians (Plains Indian) and involved a combination of village-based agriculture and nomadic bison hunting. Other important game animals were deer, bear, and beaver. Osage villages consisted of longhouses covered with mats or skins and arranged irregularly about an open space used for dances and council meetings. Tepees were used during the hunting season. Osage life centred on religious ceremonials in which clans were divided into symbolic sky and earth groups, with the latter further subdivided to represent dry land and water. The Osage were remarkable for their poetic rituals (folk literature). Among them was the custom of reciting the history of the creation of the universe to each newborn infant.Following the American Civil War (1861–65), pressure on the U.S. government to open all Native American lands to emigrant settlement resulted in the sale of the Kansas reservation. The proceeds were used to purchase land for the Osage in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). The discovery of oil on the Osage reservation in the late 19th century and an agreement with the U.S. government by which all mineral rights on the reservation were to be retained by the tribe, with royalties divided on a per capita basis, made the Osage quite prosperous.Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 16,000 individuals of Osage descent.
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