Sacred Land

“It’s so important that we acknowledge that these buildings are built on the homes of their ancestors.”1

Mary McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School, 2021 Brown School and Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts Commencement Ceremony

This tribal map of the United States was found on the website www. According to the site, “Native Land is an app as well as a website designed to show people what indigenous groups once lived in places they currently live in. All you need to do is enter the zip code or type the name of the town you’re interested in and the interactive map will zoom in on your inquiry, color-code it, and reveal data on the area’s Indigenous history, original language, and tribal ties.”

As I ride in search of Missouri cities with the same name as other cities for the 2021 Missouri Women On Wheels®MO WOW Annual Touring/Photo Contest, two thoughts come to mind:

  1. Missouri’s backroads, filled with small towns, old barns, pastured cows, and acres of hay and corn fields were once the lands of indigenous people.
  2. In her remarks to the 2021 graduates from the Brown School (social work/public health/social policy) and the Sam Fox School (art, design, and architecture), dean Mary McKay of the Brown School, said: “I’d like to take a moment and recognize that Washington University occupies the land of native people. It’s so important that we acknowledge that these buildings are built on the homes of their ancestors.”1
Missouri tribal map at www.
Defiance, Missouri: Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Osage, Quapaw, and Missouria.
Vandalia, Missouri: Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Osage, Peoria, Sauk & Fox, and Missouria
Canton, Missouri: Kickapoo, Peoria, Sauk & Fox, Osage, Potawatomi, and Missouria.

“The Missouria or Missouri indigenous peoples gave Missouri its name. The tribe belongs to the Chiwere division of the Siouan language family, together with the Iowa and Otoe. The tribe originated in the Great Lakes region and began migrating south in the 1500s. The tribe lived near the mouth of the Missouri at its confluence with the Mississippi River. In their own Siouan language, the Missouri call themselves Niúachi, also spelled Niutachi, meaning ‘People of the River Mouth’. At some point, the Missouria migrated west of the Missouri River into Osage territory. Today they are federally recognized as the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, based in Red Rock, Oklahoma.”2

“There are currently no federally recognized tribes in Missouri. Before the Indian Removal Act of 1830, there were nine tribes in Missouri, however other tribes inhabited and have connections to our state.

As we ride, let us follow the words of dean McKay:

“Let’s all celebrate and honor this ancestral native land and the sacred land of all indigenous people . . .”1

Especially we, the people of the river mouth, that live near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.




By Cris

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