Kawsmouth: The West Bottoms as Indian Territory
Before becoming the bustling economic center of Kansas City in the latter half of the 19th century, the West Bottoms was Indian country – primarily Osage territory, with the Kansa (or Kaw) and Missouria tribes occupying adjacent land on opposite sides of the Missouri River.
The arrival of French traders in the 18th century and the eventual settlement of the West Bottoms was a precursor to Kansas City’s founding. It also permanently altered the traditional way of life for local Indian tribes. Further encroachment by white settlers, loss of land, and forced relocation were to follow the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.
Bill Worley, a history professor at Metropolitan Community College-Blue River, discusses that upheaval and the West Bottoms’ place in the Indian era. The event is co-sponsored by Historic West Bottoms.