Quapaw and Peoria Indians of Ottawa County, Oklahoma



     The Quapaw were one of the most prominent of these rapidly disappearing tribes to find a home among the Cherokees. They were an offshoot of the once famous Sioux family and early history connects them with the, mound builders. They were encountered by De Soto and his band of adventurers as early as 1540. During the early part of the 16th century, they migrated from their eastern home and settled on the west bank of the Mississippi River, within the limits of the present State of Arkansas. There they were visited by the French Missionary, Jacques Marquette, in June, 1673. In March, 1682, La Salle, the French explorer, while on his trip down the Mississippi River, landed near the Quapaw settlement and took possession of the country in the name of the French King, Louis XIV. As the white settlers in Eastern Arkansas increased in number the Quapaw became restless and dissatisfied with their surroundings, although they had made considerable progress in clearing land and raising crops, and in 1824 they were induced to abandon their Arkansas possessions and emigrated to Western Oklahoma where they settled temporarily among the friendly Caddo Indians, along the banks of the Washita River.

     By the treaty of 1867 they were located in the northeast corner of Indian Territory, where they remained for ten years, then joined the Osage, 100 miles to the west.

     In 1893, however, they journeyed back to their Cherokee home and were granted a tract of land, bounded on the east by Missouri and on the north by Kansas, containing 56,245 acres. This tract was divided among (allotted to) 236 members of the tribe, about one hundred of whom have since died. Their band now numbers 332 individuals, many of whom still reside upon their allotments, own live stock and have become intelligent, law-abiding farmers.


     The Peoria Indians originally belonged to the historic Algonquian family, but as early as 1670 were found in the Mississippi Valley in Eastern Iowa. Upon Marquette's return to the North, after having explored the Mississippi Valley he found them, in 1673, located on the Illinois River, near the present site of Peoria, Ill. About five years later they became involved in a war with the Kickapoo and quite a number of them wended their way westward, sojourning for awhile in Missouri, but later, taking up their abode in Kansas. Some of them, however, retained their claims in Illinois until 1832, when, by a treaty with the United States, they surrendered their possessions there and joined their relatives in Eastern Kansas. Here they were joined by their former neighbors, the surviving members of several small tribes, the Kaskakia, Piankashaw, Wea and Miami, and by treaty of 1867 they all located in Indian Territory and were given a tract of land containing 43,334 acres, adjoining the Quapaw reservation on the South. These little tribes, some of them once powerful, had become almost entirely exterminated by disease and numerous wars, so that when finally settled upon their present reservation, they numbered in all only 393 souls. Their land has been divided among these 393 individuals and their restrictions have been removed, so that the adults may sell, lease or use their own land as they may choose. Many of them still reside upon their farms and have built comfortable homes.

Ottawa County

Source: Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, 1922

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