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The Osage – People of the Middle Waters

Presentation by historian and author Michael Dickey, Arrow Rock State Historic Site Administrator

HIstorian Michael Dickey will share some of the unique history and importance of the Osage Nation in the history of the Missouri River and the state of Missouri.

Loren Pahsetopah Painting

Painting by renown Osage artist Loren Pahsetopah of Tulsa, OK.

Time and Place

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
7:00 pm

Les Bourgeois Vineyards Bistro
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Presentation by Michael Dickey, historian, author and Site Administrator for Arrow Rock State Historic Site 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

If you intend on coming early to purchase an amazing dinner at Les Bourgeois Bistro before the presentation, PLEASE call to make a reservation at: 573-698-2300 and…tell them you are with the Big Muddy Speaker Series!

Presentation is FREE and open to the public!

As the first Spanish and then French explorers pushed up the Missouri and Osage Rivers, the Osage nation was one of the most powerful groups in the area, controlling much of the trade between the prairies, the Ozark woodlands and the big rivers.

The Osage story parallels the history of so many tribes encountering the westward push of America’s growth, and yet they were able to protect a portion of their ancestral heartland.

Osage Nation Seal

The official seal of the Osage Nation. https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/

In the 1700’s, the Missouri River was the northern edge of the Osage empire. The Osage cooperated and traded with many other river tribes in the region, even establishing villages next door to the Missouria Indians right in the middle of what is now Missouri. The tribe called themselves Ni-U-Kon-Ska, or People of the Middle Waters. They are now known as the Osage, which is a French version of the name of one of their sub-gens also known as the Water People, or Wa-zha-zhe. The Treaty of the Osage, signed in 1808, ceded Osage land in Missouri and Arkansas to the expanding U.S. and the majority of Osage began their move to what would become Osage County in Oklahoma.

Historian Mike Dickey, who is also the site administrator for Arrow Rock State Historic Site, will share some his deep knowledge he’s gained about the history of the Osage along the Missouri River and throughout what is now Missouri. His knowledge of Osage history, as well as his relationships with modern tribe members, give him a unique ability to paint an accurate and compelling portrait of these important historical Missourians.

The modern Osage nation is centered in Pawhuska, OK, in Osage County in the middle of Oklahoma oil country.

Michael Dickey is the Site Administrator for Arrow Rock State Historic Site. He is the author of “People of the River’s Mouth – a Search for the Missouria Indians” and “Arrow Rock: Crossroads of the American Frontier”. He is also the Asst. Fire Chief for the Arrow Rock Community Fire Dept.


  • 14020 W. Hwy BB, Rocheport, MO
  • Take I-70 to the Rocheport, MO, exit (Exit #115). It’s the first exit east of the Missouri River.
  • Head north toward Rocheport.
  • After about a mile, turn left at the sign for Les Bourgeois Bistro. Follow the signs to the Bistro. You will probably need to park in the lot above the Bistro and walk the trail down.
  • The presentations are held in upstairs in the restaurant. The restaurant is no longer open on Tuesdays but the bar is! You are welcome to bring your own food or snacks.

Resources and Links

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The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport

is hosted by these wonderful partners.

Click here for a list of upcoming presentations»

Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Kansas City and St. Charles.

The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.