“On an autumn day in 1808, elders of the Osage Nation gathered at Fort Clark, a new outpost overlooking the Missouri River near what is now Sibley, Missouri. The council assembled to consider a treaty with the young American republic, a treaty requiring them to give up over 52 million acres of Osage land east of the fort.
“The treaty was proffered with a threat: sign or become enemies of the United States.”
So begins the article “Acknowledging Native History in Missouri,” in the Fall 2018/Winter 2019 issue of Missouri Humanities magazine, a publication of the Missouri Humanities Council.
More than 100 elders signed the treaty, giving up most of what is now Missouri and half of what would become Arkansas. In exchange, the Osage received the promise of the republic’s protection, $1,200 in cash, and merchandise of similar value, according to the article. The Osage evaded annihilation by accepting the terms.