Arkansas and Ugahxpa) people are a tribe of Native
Americans that coalesced in the Midwest and Ohio Valley. The
Siouan-speaking tribe historically migrated from the Ohio Valley area
to the west side of the
Mississippi River and resettled in what is now
the state of Arkansas; their name for themselves refers to this
migration and traveling downriver.  Europeans first learned their
name as the Arkansea, the term used by the Algonquian-speaking
Illinois Confederation traders encountered to the east. They named the
territory and state of
Arkansas for them.
Quapaw are federally recognized as the
Quapaw Tribe of Indians.
They were removed to
Indian Territory in 1834, and their tribal base
has been in present-day Ottawa County in northeastern Oklahoma. The
number of members enrolled in the tribe is 3,240.
2 Economic development
4 Cultural heritage
4.1 Fourth of July
5.1 Early European contact
5.2 19th century
5.3 Kinship, religion and culture
5.4 20th century
6 Natural Steps, Arkansas
7 Documentary film
9 See also
11 External links
Quapaw "Three Villages" Robe, Arkansas, 18th century. Musée du quai
Quapaw Tribe of Native Americans are headquartered in
Ottawa County, Oklahoma, in the northeast corner of the state. They
have a 13,000-acre (53 km2)
Quapaw tribal jurisdictional area.
Quapaw people elect a tribal council and the tribal chairman, who
serves a two-year term. The governing body of the tribe is outlined in
the governing resolutions of the tribe, which were voted upon and
approved in 1956 to create a written form of government (prior to 1956
Quapaw Tribe operated on a hereditary chief system). The
Chairman is John L. Berrey. Of the 3,240 enrolled tribal members,
892 live in the state of Oklahoma. Membership in the tribe is based on
The tribe operates a Tribal Police Department and a Fire Department,
which handles both fire and EMS calls. They issue their own tribal
vehicle tags and have their own housing authority.
The tribe owns two smoke shop and motor fuel outlets, known as the
Quapaw C-Store and Downstream Q-Store.
They have two casinos, the
Quapaw Casino and the Downstream Casino
Resort, both located in Quapaw; these generate most of the revenue for
the tribe. In 2012 the
Quapaw Tribe's annual economic impact was
measured at more than $225,000,000. They also own and operate the
Eagle Creek Golf Course and resort, located in Loma Linda,
Tar Creek Superfund site
Tar Creek Superfund site has been listed by the Environmental
Protection Agency for clean-up of environmental hazards.
European-Americans leased lands for development that require
remediation to remove toxic waste.
Quapaw language is part of the Dhegiha branch of the
Siouan language family. There are few remaining native speakers, but
Quapaw was well documented in fieldnotes and publications from many
individuals, including George Izard in 1827, Lewis F. Hadley in 1882,
19th-century linguist James Owen Dorsey, Frank T. Siebert in 1940, and
by linguist Robert Rankin in the 1970s.
Classes in the
Quapaw language are taught at the tribal museum. An
online audio lexicon of the
Quapaw language was created by editing old
recordings of Elders speaking the language.
Other efforts at language preservation and revitalization are being
undertaken. In 2011 the
Quapaw participated in the first annual
Dhegiha Gathering. The
Osage language program hosted and organized the
gathering, held at the
Quapaw tribe's Downstream Casino.
Language-learning techniques and other issues were discussed and
taught in workshops at the conference among the five cognate
tribes. The Annual Dhegiha Gathering was held in 2012 also at
Quapaw host cultural events throughout the year, primarily held at
the tribal museum. These include Indian dice games, traditional
singing, and classes in traditional arts, such as finger weaving,
shawl making, and flute making. In addition,
Quapaw language classes
are held there.
Fourth of July
The tribe's annual dance is during the weekend of the Fourth of July.
This dance started shortly after the American Civil War, 2011 was
the 139th anniversary of this dance. Common features of this
powwow include gourd dance, war dance, stomp dance, and 49s. Other
activities take place such as Indian football, handgame, traditional
footraces, traditional dinners, turkey dance, and other dances such as
Quapaw Dance, and dances from other area tribes.
This weekend is also when the tribe convenes the annual general
council meeting, during which important decisions regarding the
policies and resolutions of the
Quapaw tribe are voted upon by tribal
members over the age of eighteen.
Quapaw tribe (known as Ugahxpa in their own language) are
descended from a historical group of Dhegian-Siouan speaking people
who lived in the lower
Ohio River valley
Ohio River valley area. The modern descendants
of this group also include the Omaha, Ponca, Osage and Kaw. The Quapaw
and the other Dhegiha Siouan speaking tribes are believed to have
migrated from the
Ohio River valley
Ohio River valley after 1200 CE. Scholars are
divided in whether they think the
Quapaw and other related groups left
before or after the
Beaver Wars of the 17th century, in which the more
powerful Five Nations of the Iroquois drove out other tribes from the
Ohio Valley and retained the area for hunting grounds.
They arrived at their historical territory, the area of the confluence
Mississippi rivers, at minimum by the mid-17th
century. The timing of the
Quapaw migration into their ancestral
territory in the historical period has been the subject of
considerable debate by scholars of various fields. It is referred to
as the "
Quapaw Paradox" by academics. Many professional archaeologists
have introduced numerous migration scenarios and time frames, but none
has conclusive evidence. Glottochronological studies suggest the
Quapaw separated from the other Dhegihan-speaking peoples ranging
between AD 950 to as late as AD 1513.
The Illinois and other Algonguian-speaking peoples to the northeast
referred to them as the Akansea or Akansa, meaning "land of the
downriver people". As French explorers
Jacques Marquette and Louis
Jolliet met the Illinois before they did the Quapaw, they adopted this
exonym for the more westerly people. English-speaking settlers who
arrived later in the region adopted the name used by the French.
During years of colonial rule of New France, many of the French fur
traders and voyageurs had an amicable relationship with the Quapaw, as
with many other trading tribes. Many
Quapaw women and French men
married and had families together. Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was founded
by Joseph Bonne, a man of Quapaw-French ancestry.
Écore Fabre (Fabre's Bluff) was started as a trading post by the
Frenchman Fabre and was one of the first European settlements in south
central Arkansas. While the area was ruled by the Spanish from
1763–1789, following French defeat in the Seven Years' War, they did
not have as many colonists in the area. After increased American
settlement following the
Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Écore Fabre was
renamed as Camden.
English speakers tried to adapt French names to English phonetics:
Chemin Couvert (French for "covered way or road") was gradually
converted to "Smackover" by Anglo-Americans. They used this name for a
local creek. Founded by the French, Le Petit Rocher was translated
into English and renamed by Americans as Little Rock after the United
States acquired the territory in the Purchase.
Numerous spelling variations have been recorded in accounts of tribal
names, reflecting both loose spelling traditions, and the effects of
transliteration of names into the variety of European languages used
in the area. Some sources listed Ouachita as a
Choctaw word, whereas
others list it as a
Quapaw word. Either way, the spelling reflects
transliteration into French.
The following passages are taken from the public domain Catholic
Encyclopedia, written early in the 20th century. It describes the
Quapaw from the non-native perspective of that time. Some of the tribe
Cherokee kin relationships then and now.
"A tribe now nearly extinct, but formerly one of the most important of
Mississippi region, occupying several villages about the
mouth of the Arkansas, chiefly on the west (Arkansas) side, with one
or two at various periods on the east (Mississippi) side of the
Mississippi, and claiming the whole of the
Arkansas River region up to
the border of the territory held by the Osage in the north-western
part of the state. They are of Siouan linguistic stock, speaking the
same language, spoken also with dialectic variants, by the Osage and
Kansa (Kaw) in the south and by the
Ponca in Nebraska. Their
name properly is Ugakhpa, which signifies "down-stream people", as
distinguished from Umahan or Omaha, "up-stream people". To the
Illinois and other Algonquian tribes, they were known as 'Akansea',
whence their French names of Akensas and Akansas. According to
concurrent tradition of the cognate tribes, the
Quapaw and their
kinsmen originally lived far east, possibly beyond the Alleghenies,
and, pushing gradually westward, descended the
Ohio River – hence
called by the Illinois the "river of the Akansea" – to its junction
with the Mississippi, whence the Quapaw, then including the Osage and
Kansa, descended to the mouth of the Arkansas, while the Omaha, with
the Ponca, went up the Missouri."
A map showing the de Soto expedition route through Mississippi, and
Arkansas, up to the point de Soto dies. Based on the Charles M. Hudson
map of 1997.
Early European contact
In 1541, when the Spanish explorer
Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto led an expedition
that came across the town of
Pacaha (also recorded by Garcilaso as
Capaha), between the
Mississippi River and a lake on the Arkansas
side, apparently in present-day Phillips County. His party describe
the village as strongly palisaded and nearly surrounded by a ditch.
Archaeological remains and local conditions bear out the description.
If the migration out of the Ohio Valley preceded the entrada, these
people may have been the proto-Quapaw. However, given the use of the
Tunica language in
Pacaha and the evidence for a late
to Arkansas, it is likely that the people whom de Soto met were
The first certain encounters with
Quapaw by Europeans occurred more
than 130 years later. In 1673, the Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette
accompanied the French commander
Louis Jolliet in making his noted
voyage down the Mississippi. He reportedly went to the villages of the
Akansea, who gave him warm welcome and listened with attention to his
sermons, while he stayed with them a few days. In 1682 La Salle passed
by their villages, then five in number, of which one was on the east
bank of the Mississippi. A Recollect father, Zenobius Membré, who
accompanied the LaSalle expediton planted a cross and attempted to
convert the Native Americans to Christianity.
The commander negotiated a peace with the tribe and formally "claimed"
the territory for France. The
Quapaw were uniformly kind and friendly
toward the French. In spite of frequent shiftings, there were four
Quapaw villages generally reported along the
Mississippi River in this
early period. They corresponded in name and population to four
sub-tribes still existing, listed as Ugahpahti, Uzutiuhi, Tiwadimañ,
and Tañwañzhita, or, under their French transliterations: Kappa,
Ossoteoue, Touriman, and Tonginga. Kappa was reported to have been on
the eastern bank of the
Mississippi River and the other three located
on the western bank in or near present-day Desha County, Arkansas. In
1721 depopulation led to the consolidation of Tourima and Tongigua
into one village. Ossoteoue or Osotouy was situated at the mouth
Arkansas River and is now thought to be an archaeological site
known as the Menard-Hodges Mounds.
In 1686 the French commander
Henri de Tonti
Henri de Tonti built a post on the
Arkansas River, near its mouth, that later was known as the Arkansas
Post. This began European occupation of the
Quapaw country. Tonti
arranged also for a resident Jesuit missionary, but apparently without
result. About 1697 a smallpox epidemic killed the greater part of the
women and children of two villages. In 1727 the Jesuits, from their
house in New Orleans, again took up the missionary work. In 1729 the
Quapaw allied with the French against the Natchez, resulting in the
practical extermination of the Natchez.
The French relocated the
Arkansas Post upriver, trying to avoid
flooding. After losing to the British in the Seven Years' War, France
ceded its North American territories to Britain. This nation exchanged
territory with Spain, which took over "control" of
Arkansas and other
former French territory west of the
Mississippi River. It built new
forts to protect its valued trading post with the Quapaw.
Shortly after the
United States acquired the territory in 1803 by the
Louisiana Purchase, it recorded the
Quapaw as living in three villages
on the south side of the
Arkansas River about 12 miles (19 km)
Arkansas Post. In 1818, they made their first treaty with the US
government, ceding all claims from the Red River to beyond the
Arkansas and east of the Mississippi.
They kept a considerable tract between the
Arkansas and the Saline, in
the southeastern part of the state. Under continued US pressure, in
1824 they ceded this also, excepting 80 acres (320,000 m2)
occupied by the chief Saracen (Sarrasin) below Pine Bluff. They
expected to incorporate with the
Caddo of Louisiana, but were refused
permission. Successive floods in the
Caddo country near the Red River
pushed many toward starvation, and they wandered back to their old
In 1834, under another treaty, the
Quapaw were removed from the
Mississippi valley areas to their present location in the northeast
corner of Oklahoma, then Indian Territory.
Sarrasin (alternate spelling Saracen), their last chief before the
removal, was a
Roman Catholic and friend of the Lazarist missionaries
(Congregation of the Missions), who had arrived in 1818. He died about
1830 and is buried adjoining St. Joseph's Church, Pine Bluff, where a
memorial window preserves his name. The pioneer Lazarist missionary
Quapaw was Rev. John M. Odin, who later served as the
Archbishop of New Orleans.
In 1824 the Jesuits of Maryland, under Father Charles Van
Quickenborne, took up work among the native and immigrant tribes of
Kansas and Oklahoma. In 1846 the Mission of St. Francis
was established among the Osage, on Neosho River, by Fathers John
Shoenmakers and John Bax, who extended their services to the Quapaw
for some years. The
Quapaw together with the associated remnant
tribes, the Miami, Seneca, Wyandot and Ottawa, were served from the
Mission of "Saint Mary of the Quapaws", at Quapaw, Oklahoma.
Historians estimated their number at European encounter as 5000. The
Catholic Encyclopedia noted the people had suffered from high
fatalities due to epidemics, wars, removals, and social disruption. It
documented their numbers as 3200 in 1687, 1600 in 1750, 476 in 1843,
and 307 in 1910, including all mixed bloods.
Peter Clabber, Principal Chief of Quapaws, 1905
Kinship, religion and culture
Besides the four established divisions already noted, the
the clan system, with a number of gentes.
Polygamy was practiced, but
was not common. Like their relatives, the Osage, Quapaws had a complex
religion. They were agricultural. Their towns were palisaded. Their
town houses, or public structures, constructed with timbers dovetailed
together and bark roofs, were commonly erected upon large manmade
mounds to guard against the frequent flooding. Their ordinary houses
were rectangular and long enough to accommodate several families.
Quapaw dug large ditches, and constructed fish weirs to manage
their food supply. They excelled in pottery and in the painting of
hide for bed covers and other purposes. The dead were buried in the
ground, sometimes in mounds or in the clay floors of their houses,
being frequently strapped to a stake in a sitting position and then
covered with earth. They were friendly to the Europeans, while warring
Chickasaw and other Southeastern tribes over resources and
Quapaw moccasins, ca. 1900,
Oklahoma History Center
In the early 20th century, an account noted that the Dhegiha language,
a branch of Siouan including the "dialects" of the Omaha, Ponca,
Osage, Kansa, and Quapaw, has received more extended study. Rev. J.O.
Dorsey published material about it under the auspices of the Bureau of
American Ethnology, now part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Natural Steps, Arkansas
The Pinnacle Mountain Community Post wrote in 1991, "Concerning the
first Natural Steps inhabitants, the University of
Arkansas Museum, in
1932, excavated several Indian burials near the site. In the report,
entitled "The Kinkead-Mainard Site, 3PU2: A Late Prehistoric Quapaw
Phase Site Near Little Rock, Arkansas", Michael P. Hoffman writes,
'The site represents the only scientific excavation conducted by the
Arkansas between the mouth of the
Arkansas River and
Oklahoma in which detailed information of the Mississippian period is
known... An hypothesis which developed quite early in my contact with
Kinkead-Mainard site materials was that the site was one of the Quapaw
Arkansas Gazette wrote on April 17, 1979 that, "There was an
archeological dig (in 1932) from the University of
near the Natural Steps (Natural Steps, Arkansas). They found bodies of
three Indians who had been buried there. They were buried sitting up."
Pottery and other artifacts were found during the dig in the 1930s.
On August 26, 1999, the National Park Service wrote: "In 1932, human
remains representing a minimum of 19 individuals were recovered from
the Kinkead-Mainard site (3PU2), Pulaski County,
excavations conducted by the University Museum. No known individuals
were identified. The 117 associated funerary objects include ceramic
vessels, ceramic sherds, a clay ball, lithic debris, copper beads, a
copper band, a copper nugget, pigment, animal bones, a tortoise
carapace, an antler pendant, antler projectile points, bone awls,
shell beads, a mussel shell, and leather fragments."
"Based on the associated funerary objects, and skeletal and dental
morphology, these human remains have been identified as Native
American or prehistoric red headed nephilim. Based on ceramic styles
and construction, this site has been identified as a manifestation of
the Menard Complex during the protohistoric period (1500–1700 CE).
French historical documents from 1700 indicate that only the Quapaw
tribe had villages in the area of the Kinkead-Mainard site. In 1818,
Quapaw ceded the central
Arkansas River valley, including the
Kinkead-Mainard site, to the United States. Based on historical
information and continuity of occupation, these human remains have
been affiliated with the
Quapaw Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma."
Quapaw tribal jurisdictional area includes the Tar Creek Superfund
Site, which at one time was considered to be the worst environmental
disaster in the country. The city of Picher has been closed and
abandoned, and the environmental issues related to mining are explored
in the documentary Tar Creek, made in 2009 by Matt Myers. Tar Creek
tells the full story of the Tar Creek Superfund Site. It discusses the
racism of environmental and governmental practices that led to the
neglect and lack of regulation resulting in this hazardous site. The
Quapaw and other residents of Ottawa County have suffered ill effects,
including lead poisoning of a high percentage of children, from
contamination of ground and water due to this site.
Louis Ballard, (1931–2007) composer, artist, and educator
Victor Griffin (c. 1873–1958), chief, interpreter, and peyote
Ardina Moore, language teacher, regalia maker/textile artist
Barbara Kyser-Collier, tribal governmental figure
Tall Chief (c. 1840–1918), chief, peyote roadman
Indigenous peoples of North America portal
Quapaw Indian Agency
List of sites and peoples visited by the
Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto Expedition
^ a b c d 2011
Oklahoma Indian Nations Pocket Pictorial Directory
Archived 12 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.,
Oklahoma Indian Affairs
Commission, 2011: 30. Retrieved 28 Jan 2012.
^ "Quapaw." Archived 10 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
Ethnologue. Retrieved 28 Jan 2012.
Quapaw Tribe, OK – Official Website – Tribal Name".
www.quapawtribe.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
Quapaw Tribe Governing Resolutions."
Quapaw tribal website, 2013 (retrieved 8
^ "Directions." Archived 27 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
Downstream Casino Resort. 2008 (retrieved 12 August 2010)
^ a b "Casino Pumps 1 Billion: Downstream Casino Economic Impact",
Neosho Daily News, 19 January 2013 (retrieved 8 February 2013)
^ "Golf" Archived 28 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Downstream
Casino Resort website, 2013 (retrieved 8 February 2013)
Quapaw Historical Written Works,
Quapaw Tribal Ancestry
Quapaw Tribal website, 2011 (retrieved 10
^ "Dhegiha Gathering" Archived 19 November 2011 at the Wayback
Machine., Dhegiha Gathering Article. 2011, Osage Tribe website
(retrieved 10 September 2011)
^ "2nd Dhegiha Gathering." 2nd Dhegiha Gathering Notice. 2013, Quapaw
Tribe website (retrieved 8 February 2013)
Quapaw Tribe Website, 2008 (retrieved 12 August 2010)
^ Baird, David (1975). The
Quapaw People. Indian Tribal Series.
^ "Powwows.", Tribal website. 2011 (retrieved 10 September 2011)
^ Rollins, Willard (1995). The Osage: An Enthnohistorical Study of
Hegemony on the Prairie-Plains. Columbia: University of Missouri
Press. pp. 96–100.
^ Louis F. Burns, "Osage" Archived 2 January 2011 at the Wayback
Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma
History and Culture, retrieved 2 March 2009
^ a b Ethridge, Robbie (2008). The Transformation of the Southeastern
Indians, 1540–1760. University Press of Mississippi.
Dhegihan and Chiwere Siouans in the Plains: Historical and
Archaeological Perspectives". Plains Anthropologist: 394. 2004.
^ Havard, Gilles (2003). Histoire de l'Amérique française. Paris:
^ "Quapaw". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
^ Ford, James A. (1961), Menard Site: the
Quapaw Village of Osotouy On
Arkansas River, New York: American Museum of Natural History
^ Pilling, Siouan Bibliography
^ Notice of Inventory Completion for Native American Human Remains and
Funerary Objects in the Possession of the University
Museum, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Quapaw.
Wikisource has the text of an 1879
American Cyclopædia article about
Quapaw Tribe, official website
Quapaw Tribal Ancestry, official tribal sanctioned site with genealogy
information, pictures, and stories
Quapaw Language, official tribal sanctioned site with language
information, words, audio clips, and source information
Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of
Quapaw Tribe of
Oklahoma and The Tar Creek Project, EPA
Quapaw Indian Tribe History, Access Genealogy
Tar Creek, Tar Creek documentary website
Native American tribes in Oklahoma
Cheyenne and Arapaho
Fort Sill Apache
Sac and Fox
Chiwere (Iowa and Otoe)
Mesquakie (Fox, Kickapoo, and Sauk)