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The New International Encyclopædia/Missouri (tribe)

MISSOURI, mĭz-zo͞o′rē̇. A small tribe of Siouan stock. When first known to the whites they occupied the territory about Grand River, a northern affluent of the Missouri, in what is now the State of Missouri, and contiguous to the Iowa and Oto (q.v.) on the north and west, all three tribes speaking the same language. Their popular name is of Algonquian origin, and is said to mean ‘great muddy,’ referring to the Missouri River. They call themselves Niutachi or Nudacha, ‘those who come to the mouth’ (of the river). According to their tradition the three tribes migrated together from the vicinity of Green Bay, Lake Michigan. The Missouri are named upon Marquette's map of 1673, and some years afterwards a French fort was established in their territory. Throughout the colonial period they were generally on the French side, as opposed to the English, although on one occasion they attacked and massacred the French garrison. In 1725 a number of their chiefs visited France and attracted much attention. At one time in the eighteenth century they were estimated at from 1000 to 1200; but, after being greatly reduced by smallpox, they were attacked by the Sauk, who compelled them to abandon their territory about 1798 and take refuge west of the Missouri. In 1805 they were living near the mouth of the Platte River and numbered about 300. In 1823 they were again so decimated by smallpox that the remnant, about 80 persons, incorporated with the kindred Oto. The confederated tribes removed in 1882 from Nebraska to a reservation in Oklahoma, where they now reside, numbering altogether only 360. They are still steadily decreasing, and their agent reports that they have practically ceased all effort at self-support, owing to the money they receive in the shape of treaty and lease payments.