The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Missouris

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MISSOURIS, or Missourias, a tribe of Indians belonging to the Dakota family, and calling themselves Nudarcha, Missouri being the name given them by the Illinois. Marquette in 1673 first heard of them as the first tribe up the river which bears their name. As allies of the Illinois they soon established friendly relations with the French, and were among the tribes who in 1712 marched to the relief of Detroit. In 1719 they entrapped and cut to pieces a Spanish expedition sent against them from Mexico. In 1720 the French under De Bourgmont established a fort on an island near the Missouris, and the great chief aided him to reach and make peace with the Comanches. He took some of the chiefs to France in 1725, and Dubois, a sergeant who had married a girl of the tribe, returned with them as commander of the post; but the French were soon after massacred to a man. Friendly relations were afterward restored, and Missouris served in the French operations against the Chickasaws. They were opposed to the English ascendancy. Lewis and Clarke found them in 1805 reduced to a band of 300 souls, with 80 warriors, on the south side of the Platte, at war with the Omahas, Poncas, Osages, Sioux, and Kansas. Great numbers had been carried off by smallpox, and, abandoning their ancient village in a fertile plain on the Missouri below the Grand, they had sought refuge with the Ottoes, with whom they have ever since been connected. After various sales of lands by them to the government, the combined tribes were removed to the Big Blue. In 1862 they numbered 708, and in 1872 had decreased to 464. They now receive $9,000 a year, but when ten payments have been made the annuity is to be reduced to $5,000. Missions attempted by the Presbyterians, as well as all attempts at education, have proved unavailing.