What Did the Osage Indians Eat?

did-osage-indians-eat Credit: Mark Newman/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

The Osage Indians' diet included big game, small game, wild plants and produce from their gardens. Before they acquired guns from the English settlers, they hunted buffalo by driving them off a cliff to their death. A council of elders organized three major hunts each year to provide the meat for the tribe.

While buffalo was the favored meat of the Osage, they also ate bear, deer and elk. If these protein sources were not available, they turned to smaller game, such as rabbits or birds. While the men were the hunters, the women were responsible for butchering the animals. The women preserved the meat by smoking or drying it. They were also responsible for preparing the hides, which they used for clothing. They traded any surplus meat, hides or oil to other Indians or Europeans to obtain the things they could not gather or produce for themselves.

During the growing season, the women gathered wild plants and tended their own gardens, where they grew beans, corn and squash.

Until the 18th century, the primary weapons of the Osage were clubs, bows and arrows, especially long bows. During the 18th century, the European settlers began providing the Osage with guns and horses. This allowed them to develop better hunting strategies to provide for their families.