Indians of Missouri
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This article is about American Indian tribes including the Missouri Tribes, agencies, records and reservations.
Missouri's name comes from the Missouri Indian Tribe. "Missouri" means "Town of the large canoes"
Tribes and Bands of Missouri
The following list of American Indians who have lived in Missouri has been compiled from Hodge's Handbook of American Indians... and from Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America. Some may simply be variant spellings for the same tribe.
Sac White River Band = Chickamauga Cherokee Nation
Tribe Recognized by the State of Missouri
Northern Cherokee Nation
Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.
The following list of agencies that have operated or now exist in Missouri has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs..., Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians, and others.
The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:
- Allotment records
- Annuity rolls
- Census records
- Health records
- School census and records
- Vital records
Family History Library
Historic Indian Tribes of Missouri
For more information on these tribes, as well as other tribes that passed through Missouri, Native American Tribes of Missouri.
From the mid-1800s, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.
Sometimes, a single agency had jurisdiction over more than one reservation. And sometimes, if the tribal population and land area required it, an agency may have included sub-agencies.
The boundaries of reservations, over time, have changed. Usually, that means the reservations have been reduced in size. Sometimes, especially during the later policy of "termination," the official status of reservations was ended altogether.
A list of reservations has been published in the National Atlas of the United States of America, the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America, and other sources. While there have been reservations historically associated with the state, there are no current federally-recognized reservations in Missouri.
That does not mean there were no American Indians within the state; it simply means that there are no reservations within the state's boundaries.
For Further Reading
See also American Indian For Further Reading.
Click this button for links to databases, indexes, or sites that help you find an American Indian ancestor by topic or tribe.
- Missouri-History for a calendar listing date of importance to American Indians
- Missouri-Military for a list of forts
FamilySearch Catalog United States, Missouri - Native Races
- Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907. Available online.
- Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
- Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. FHL book 970.1 H551o.
- Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. FHL book 970.1 H551g.
- National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations Available online.
- Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.