Native American history in the Arcadia Valley Region,
Black River Recreation Area of Missouri goes back to the Paleo-Indians,
the ancient peoples of the Americas who were present at the
end of the last ice age. They camped and hunted along Ozark
rivers, perhaps as long as 12,000 to 14,000 years ago.
These early inhabitants were big-game hunters. The mastodon
(for meat) and the giant ground sloth (for fur), still roamed
the area. After the ice age arrived, circa 8000 B.C.,
the disappearance of the large mammals caused the people to
hunt smaller game and rely more heavily on gathering and foraging.
They crafted fluted points for hunting, needles for making clothing,
hand-woven nets for fishing, and mortars for crunching seeds.
Fish and vegetables became an important part of their diet.
During the Woodland Period (1,000 to 500 B.C.) The Hopewell
tribe inhabited the region now known as Missouri. They learned
how to fire clay pots and tools, engaged in trade, and created
large ceremonial earthworks. They cultivated corn and hunted
deer and wild turkey.
From A.D. 900 to 1700, the Mississipian Period, the Native Americans
became highly dependent on the rivers, eating river dwelling
animals and growing crops in the fertile soil of the riverbeds.
Corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and gourds were grown. These
were the Native Americans that De Soto and his men encountered
in 1541, when they crossed the Mississippi River into
Calpista and Palisema (present day Arcadia
Valley Region and Black River Recreation Area) **"Another
eye-witness describes the army's journey, ---We traveled for
five days (from Kaskaskia) and reached the province of Palisema
(which extended from Lesterville to the Current River). The
house of the chief was found (probably near the mountain refuge
of Centerville) with coverings of colored deerskins drawn over
with designs, and the floor of the house was covered with the
same material in the manner of carpets. The chief left it so,
in order that the governor might lodge in it as a sign that
he was desirous of peace and his friendship, but he did not
dare remain. The governor upon seeing that he was away, sent
a captain with horse and foot (soldiers) to look for him. The
captain found many people, but because of the roughness of the
land (the highest mountains in Missouri) they captured only
some women and young persons. It was a small and scattered settlement
and had very little corn (there's nowhere to grow it). On that
account, the governor left it immediately (choosing to camp
farther down the trail on Bunker's Plateau)."
Period, beginning in 1700, is the last classified era of Native
American development. These were the Indians the European explorers
and settlers of our region would come into contact with. Our
region was the hunting ground of several tribes including
the Osage, Delaware, Kickapoo, Shawnee, Piankashaw and perhaps
others. The Osage tribe was master of the area.
(The Osage Indians were first recorded in 1673 by the French
explorers Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette). Only the
Osage Indians seemed to be native to Missouri and the Ozark
region. All the other tribes had been driven from east
of the Mississippi River to our region as the white man made
his gradual advance across the eastern portion of North America.