Osage Nation was a Native American tribe which lived in the central regions of modern-day United States of America. Before USA expanded towards the West, the Osage had a close relationship with the French and sold animals furs to the French in return for horses.
Osage and French enjoyed good trade partnership and some members of the Osage tribe even went to Paris in 1725 and met the French king. The name of the Osage tribe comes from French language.
Early French traders who interacted with the Osage simply listened to their name in local language and pronounced it as Osage. The name has stuck since. The original pronunciation of the name was ‘Wa-zha-zhe’.
The Osage lived in parts of the modern-day states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Like other Native American tribes, the Osage lived on a vast stretch of land where they farmed and hunted.
In 1804, United States of America purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. The Osage territories were a part of this purchase and so, their lands passed to the possession of USA.
Later in the 19th century when American settlers started to arrive in the Osage lands, American government designated a reservation for the tribe.
Unlike most other Native American tribes who had been forcefully removed by the U.S. government to reservations, the Osage bought the land of their own reservation and then settled on it, establishing many towns.
The Osage were both farmers and hunters. So they had two types of houses. During the farming season, they lived in houses which were made from wooden poles and shaped like domes.
They covered the wooden frame of these houses with animal hides. In the hunting season, the Osage lived in houses which were called teepees and shaped like small inverted cones.
Osage did not have a very advanced form of government. The whole Osage population was distributed in small villages throughout their traditional homeland.
Each of these villages had two chiefs: one was a wartime chief who served as the military leader when war took place; the other was the peacetime chief who took important decisions for the village in times of peace.
The Osage were mostly farmers before the Europeans arrived in North America. But when the Europeans arrived, they brought horses and also created a demand for animal furs.
So Osage became expert horse riders and apart from farming, also started hunting. This was reflected in their traditional foods which comprises of game animals such as deer and bison as well as traditional crops such as corn, squash and beans.
The Osage made most of their clothing items from the hides of the animals they hunted. Men in the Osage tribe wore leggings and breech-cloths while they covered their feet with moccasins.
The women also wore leggings and moccasins along with long dresses made from deerskin. The Osage made warm robes from the hide of the bison they hunted. These robes were used by both Osage men and women during the winters to stay warm.