The culture of the Osage Nation reaches back far into the Mississippian culture of the mid-continent region, centered at Cahoika, Illinois. A written record of the Osage began in 1673. At the time traders and explorers began to document their encounters with tribes of the Midwest in what was later to become the United States. The Osage were considered a Siouan people, semi-nomadic in nature and recorded mainly throughout the Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas area. They were a nation of people with a familiar culture of the Woodland tribes.
All nations east of the Mississippi traveled the Trail of Tears and the Osage were no different. They were removed and settled in Kansas, but by the time they negotiated the treaty of 1865 to purchase land in Oklahoma, the Osage population had decreased by 95 percent. As a result only 3,000 Osage People walked across the Kansas border into their new land.
The Osage of today uphold and sustain their culture of long-standing traditions by embracing the lessons and culture of their ancestors, participating in dances, feasting and naming ceremonies. Each June on three consecutive weekends, the Osage hold E-lon-shka dances in each of three districts - Hominy, Gray Horse, and Pawhuska - and the Osage are working to preserve their language and heritage. The Osage Nation also maintains the Osage Tribal Museum, Library & Archives, with exhibits and artifacts relating to Osage culture from the 1600s to the present, as well as archives, photo collection and a gift shop.