Skip to Main Content
NWACC Library

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to honor and celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native peoples.

Arkansas Native Tribes

Caddo Nation

"The Caddo Nation historically included the Hasinai, Kadohadacho, and Natchitoche alliances of peoples. It existed for centuries before the modern era in what is now the northwest portion of Louisiana, east Texas, southwest Arkansas, and southeastern Oklahoma. In this region of river valleys and upland forests, the Caddo hunted and cultivated the rich fauna and flora in a sustainable manner."

Meredith, Howard. “Caddo.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, May 2023. EBSCOhost,



Jeri Redcorn, Caddo potter | Bullock Texas State History Museum

Osage Nation

"The Osage are one of five tribes in the Dhegiha group of the Siouan language family. Osage is a French corruption of the tribal name Wa-zha'zhe (Wazhazhe or "water people"). At the time of first White contact, the Osage lived primarily in what is present-day western Missouri. Tribal legend and archaeological evidence suggest, however, that the ancient Osage lived east of the Mississippi River. Forced to relocate by the US federal government in the 1800s, the group remains a federally recognized tribe with tribal land in Oklahoma. In the twenty-first century the Osage population is centered in Oklahoma, with other concentrations in Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri."

Despain, S.Matthew. “Osage.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, May 2023. EBSCOhost,


Quapaw Nation

"Unlike many other American Indian tribes, the Quapaws (or Arkansas) have not preserved elaborate traditions explaining their origins. They say only that their Ancient Ones came forth from the water. Because of this, the history of the tribe is difficult to uncover. The Quapaws, or “Downstream People,” migrated from the Ohio Valley to the Arkansas River near where it joins the Mississippi River in the mid-1600s. Since the Quapaws went downstream, their kindred tribes called them Ugaxpa (also O-Gah-Pah), or “drifted downstream.” Their principal villages were on the west bank of the Mississippi River in what is now Arkansas. The forests and rivers supplied plenty of berries, game, and other food. They had large, well-tilled fields and cultivated gourds, pumpkins, sunflowers, beans, squash, and corn. Corn was considered the most important agricultural product. They hunted buffalo, which was a substantial part of their diet, and preserved what was not needed immediately for winter."

“Quapaw.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, May 2023. EBSCOhost,


Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears

"Soon after the American Revolution ended in 1783, demands began for the removal of all Native Americans from the southeastern part of the new United States. After a brief renewal of violent resistance, led by warriors such as Dragging Canoe of the Cherokees and Alexander McGillivray of the Creeks, most tribes were peaceful but firm in their efforts to remain in their ancestral lands. The exception was the Seminoles in Florida. Many early treaties were negotiated to persuade these tribes to move west voluntarily. When the desired result was not achieved, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, paving the way for forced removal. President Andrew Jackson , an old foe of the southeastern tribes, signed the bill, which became law on May 28, 1830.

The Trail of Tears removals rank among the most tragic episodes in United States history. The policies of three American leaders reveal the changing attitudes on how to best accomplish the removals. After Thomas Jefferson's peaceful persuasion and reasonable terms failed, John C. Calhoun, as secretary of war under President James Monroe, favored educating Native Americans to accept the need for removal. In the end, it was Andrew Jackson's policy of forced removal that completed the distasteful task."

Swygart, Glenn L. “Trail of Tears.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, Apr. 2023. EBSCOhost,