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Indigenous Tribes of Missouri: Missouri's Native Peoples

Getting Started

There are currently no federally recognized tribes in the state of Missouri.  Most of the indigenous people who once inhabited land in what is now Missouri were forced to leave and resettle in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas) during the Indian Removal Act of 1830.  This LibGuide presents an overview of where to find information regarding the original peoples of Missouri.

Original Tribes of Missouri

Before the Indian Removal Act (1830) there were nine tribes in Missouri, however other tribes inhabited and have connections to this land:



Native Americans can be described using a number of terms.  The following keywords can help you in your research process:


  • Native Americans
  • American Indians
  • Indians
  • First Nations
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Specific Tribal Names (Osage, Cherokee, etc.)

National Park Service: Native Americans


Eagle symbol of the FDLP

Jefferson College Library is a congressionally designated selective depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code).

Contact Lisa Pritchard at 636-481-3160 or for assistance locating government information.

Handbook of North American Indians

The Handbook of North American Indians series—the most monumental summary of knowledge on indigenous peoples of the USA, Canada, and Northern Mexico—was designed by the staff of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Department of Anthropology in the 1960s and, in 2022, culminates with Volume 1, edited by Igor Krupnik. Involving more than 70 contributors from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Germany, including indigenous contributors from across North America, the volume’s 35 chapters and more than 7,400 bibliography entries, Volume 1 presents new perspectives on the history of North America’s indigenous societies, issues facing North American indigenous communities in the 21st century, a thorough update of the studies of Native American indigenous peoples, and the first-ever history of the Handbook project. Volume 1 is an innovative collection of new contributions written in 2015–2017 and is organized in five sections that reflect the series’ three-pronged mission: to look forward, to update and assess developments in Native American research, and to account for the history of the Handbook initiative and its legacy. With Volume 1, the Handbook of North American Indians series concludes.  

Since the early days of the Smithsonian Handbook of North American Indians (HNAI), its opening volume 1, Introduction, was intended to serve as a general prologue to the series: in 1971–1972, when it was started, and in 2019–2020, when it was finally completed. Coming more than 40 years after the release of the first HNAI volumes (Heizer 1978b; Trigger 1978a) and 14 years following its most recent installment, volume 2, Indians in Contemporary Society (Bailey 2008a), this introductory tome closes the long-standing gap in the massive, now 16-piece, set. All volumes are available for use in the Jefferson College Library or online.


Helpful Databases

Below is a list of databases that may be useful for researching information about Native Americans. A complete alphabetical list of the library's database collection can be found on the library homepage under Find Articles >> A-Z.


Prominent Figures

Peter Bigheart, Chief of the Osage tribe, 1909 - Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; photograph by William J. Boag, c. 1909.


Shauhaunapotinia, an Ioway Chief, hand-coloured lithograph by Charles Bird King, c. 1835. - SMU Central University Libraries

Missouri Life Magazine

This  three-part series from Missouri Life magazine provides an overview of the history of the original tribes of Missouri.

Part 1: When the Osage and Missouria Reigned

Part 2: Things Fall Apart

Part 3: Homecoming

A Few Books

Here are a few titles from our collection. Additional print and digital titles may be found by searching our catalog.

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