The People of the River’s Mouth – In Search of the Missouria Indians

Published: April 11, 2012

Original Presentation April 11, 2012 Big Muddy Speaker Series in Kansas City

“The People of the River’s Mouth – In Search of the Missouria Indians” – by Mike Dickey, Author and Site Administrator of Arrow Rock State Historic Site

Catlin drawing Haw-che-ke-sug-ga
Few people know that the Missouri River, and the state named after it, were actually named for a tribe of Native Americans that lived along the river near the mouth of the Grand River. Even fewer people know much about the tribe, which had already begun to decline due to disease by the time European explorers began to encounter them.

Mike Dickey shared the knowledge he gained researching his recently released book called “The People of the River’s Mouth – In Search of the Missouria Indians”.

The Missouria tribe is now headquartered in Red Rock, Oklahoma, but their ancestral homeland is along the Missouri River. They called themselves “Nyut-achi”, or the “People of the River’s Mouth” (probably referring to the Grand River), but history knows them as the “Missouria” (from the Algonquin name for the tribe – meaning “people of the big canoes”).

These people were intimately tied to the Missouri River, and lived both along its banks and in a scattering of villages in mid-Missouri (especially today’s Saline County). They would follow the Grand River north to hunt for bison then return to their villages along the Big Muddy. Today’s Van Meter State Park is the location of a historic Missouria (and Oneonta before them) village.

utz village site

You can purchase Dickey’s book from the University of Missouri Press web site:


Seal of Otoe-Missouria Tribe

The seal of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe

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Thanks to all of our venue hosts for making this possible! Click here for a list of upcoming presentations» The Big Muddy Speaker Series is also held monthly in Rocheport and St. Charles.

Recordings of Presentations

Kansas City Digital Video has been recording Big Muddy Speaker Series presentations. These are available on their website at this link. Some contain synchronized powerpoint presentations. We will be posting these to the archived presentation pages on Thanks Micheal Morgan and crew for putting this important archive online! The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Columbia Ecological Services Field Office (USFWS) and the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.


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