To many fans, the Little House book series, based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life on the western frontier, captures the spirit of America. Several of Laura’s tales of adventure focus on re-settling and making something of oneself wherever one might land. The stories are necessarily written from one particular perspective – Laura’s. However, we recognize that there are other relevant perspectives that are missing from Laura’s writing. One such perspective is that of the Native Americans whose land was “resettled” after their populations were decimated. As discussed in our Historical Perspective post, whether they were aware of the implications or not, Laura’s family settled on land that was owned by the Native Americans. Keeping in mind these very valid perspectives, we’ve collected a number of books to provide more context to Laura’s books and the time that they were written. We recommend reading all of these books, including A History of The Osage People, to enlighten yourself about the time period in which the original Little House books were conceived and written.
Author: Louis F. Burns
Publisher: University Alabama Press; 2nd edition (January 28, 2004)
Osage traditional lands are located in mid-continental America encompassed by the present-day states of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Major waterways through these lands and the defensible terrain of the Ozark range provided the tribe a distinct advantage in prehistoric and early historic times. A warlike people, the Osage long encroached on neighboring tribal lands, especially those of the Caddo to the southwest. Yet good natural boundaries and centuries of success in warfare afforded the tribe little advantage in attempts to forestall Euro-American westward expansion. Three major routes to the West—the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers and the Continental Trail—crossed Osage land, so conflict with the newcomers was inevitable.
Louis Burns draws on ancestral oral traditions and research in a broad body of literature to tell the story of the Osage people. He writes clearly and concisely, from the Osage perspective. First published in 1989 and for many years out of print, this revised edition is augmented by a new preface and maps. Because of its masterful compilation and synthesis of the known data, A History of the Osage People continues to be the best reference for information on an important American Indian people.
About the Author: Louis F. Burns
Louis F. Burns, of Osage-French-Scottish heritage, is a member of the Mottled Eagle Clan and author of six books.
Pick up your own copy of A History of The Osage People here.
Check out our Recommended Reading for Historical Perspective for more insightful books into the life and times of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for information and recommendations about interesting reading and activities.