Native Ground: The First People of Missouri Before Statehood

Presentation by Dr. Brad D. Lookingbill.

Learn more about the people that have inhabited this place we now know as Missouri.

Published: October 10, 2023

Click here to watch the presentation on YouTube

Presentation by Dr. Brad Lookingbill

Hosted by Missouri River Relief

Long before the Europeans arrived and claimed dominion over an imagined wilderness, the original inhabitants developed diverse cultures in relation to the rivers, prairies, plains, plateaus, and woodlands. Missouri was native ground to multiple tribal groups, who made it home. In addition to the Osage Indians, the Quapaw, Otoe, Missouria, Ioway, Sauk, Fox, Omaha, Peoria, Piankeshaw, Ponca, Kaw, and Chickasaw resided in parts of the state before its boundaries appeared on a map. After the formation of the United States, migrating communities of the Shawnee, Delaware, Pottawatomi, Miami, Kickapoo, and Cherokee relocated to the western side of the Mississippi. Native stories of origin illuminate worlds of wonder in mid-America, and Missourians are seeing them anew.

Dr. Brad D. Lookingbill is Distinguished Professor of History at Columbia College of Missouri. Previous to his academic career, he served in the Army National Guard and Reserve. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1991. At the University of Toledo, he obtained the Master of Arts in History in 1993 and the Doctor of Philosophy in History in 1995. From 1995 to 1996, he taught classes on U.S. and world history at Independence Community College in Kansas. In 1996, he joined the Columbia College faculty.

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The views and opinions expressed by our presenters do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of Missouri River Relief, the Big Muddy Speaker Series or any of the partners that support this public forum. The Big Muddy Speaker Series believes that hearing diverse perspectives is a crucial building block for an informed public.


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