November 01, 2011
The People of the River's Mouth: In Search of the Missouria Indians, by Michael Dickey. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2011
The People of the River's Mouth explores the Missouria people, the first American Indians encountered by European explorers venturing up the Pekitanoui River-the waterway we know as the Missouri. This Indian nation was a dominant force in the upper Midwest in the pre-colonial era.
The author uses rare printed sources, scattered documents, and oral tradition to tell his story. Dickey gathered a significant body of information about the Missouria and their interactions with French, Spanish, and early American settlers, perhaps the most yet published in one source. The People of the River's Mouth recalls the many contributions of the Missouria to history, such as assisting in the construction of Fort Orleans in the 1720s and the trading post of St. Louis in 1764.
Dickey examines the tribe's unique cultural traditions through archaeological remnants and archival resources, investigating the forces that diminished the Missouria and the political doctrines that led to their eventual removal to Oklahoma.
Most importantly, the book helps recover the lost history of an important people. It sheds light on an overlooked aspect of Missouri's past and pieces together the history of these influential Native Americans in an engaging, readable book.