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Native American Tribes of Arkansas

Welcome to our Arkansas State Facts section, part of an educational project designed to provide information about indigenous people in different U.S. states. Follow the links to the right of our tribal map for more information about the language, culture and history of each Arkansas tribe, or scroll below the map for Arkansas Indian activities including a wordsearch, fact sheets, and words from the Native American languages of Arkansas. Feel free to print any of these materials out for classroom use!

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American Indians in Arkansas

Did you know the name "Arkansas" is a Siouan Indian word? It comes from Acansa, which was the name of a major Quapaw village in southeastern Arkansas. Many people believe that Acansa meant "downstream people," but that isn't true--Quapaw, the tribe's own name for themselves, means "downstream people." Acansa probably came from the Quapaw word meaning "southern place." Their non-native neighbors frequently referred to the Quapaw as the Acansa, Arkansas, or Alkansea Indians because of this town. The Quapaw Indians were not the only native people of this region, however.

The original inhabitants of the area that is now Arkansas included:

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*The Caddo Indians
*The Chickasaw Indians
*The Osage Indians
*The Quapaw Indians
*The Tunica Indians

Other Indian tribes driven into Arkansas after Europeans arrived:

*The Cherokee Indians

There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Arkansas today.

Most Native Americans were forced to leave Arkansas during the Indian Removals of the 1800's. These tribes are not extinct, but except for the descendants of Arkansas Indians who escaped from Removal, they do not live in Arkansas anymore. They were moved to Indian reservations in Oklahoma instead. If you click on the link for each tribe above, you can find more information about them.

Other Indian communities and organizations in Arkansas today include:

*Arkansas Band of Western Cherokee:
PO Box 142
Flippin, AR 72634

Teaching and learning activities about Arkansas Native Americans:

Feel free to print these out to use at school!

*Arkansas Natives Word Search: Printable puzzle hiding the names of Arkansas's Indian tribes.
*Arkansas Language Greetings: Learn to say "hello" in several Native Arkansas languages.
*Arkansas Native Animals: Learn the Native American names of Arkansas animals.
*Write Your Name In Cherokee: Directions for using the Cherokee writing system to spell English names.
*Arkansas Indian Facts for Kids: Answers to frequently asked questions about the tribes of Arkansas.
    We currently have pages for the Caddo, Chickasaws, Osage, Quapaw, Tunicas, and Cherokees.

Recommended books about Arkansas Native Americans
(Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links)

*Arkansas Native Americans:
    Introducing Arkansas's Native American history and culture to kids.
*Arkansas Indians Learning and Activity Book:
    Another interesting kids' book about Native Americans in Arkansas.
*Indians and Europeans in Arkansas:
    History of the Arkansas Indian tribes and their interactions with white settlers.
*Rumble of a Distant Drum: The Quapaws and Old World Newcomers:
    Interesting book on Quapaw Indian culture and history.
*Arkansas Archaeology:
    A book of essays on the ancient prehistoric mounds and artifacts of Arkansas Indian ancestors.
*Art of the Osage:
    Color photographs and history of Osage Indian art.
*Paths of Our Children: Historic Indians of Arkansas:
    History book about the Native American tribes of Arkansas.
*Crossroads of the Past: 12,000 Years of Indian Life in Arkansas:
    Book on Arkansas Indian archaeology.
*Encyclopedia of Arkansas Indians:
    Thorough reference book about the Native American tribes of Arkansas.

Other resources about American Indian history, culture and society in Arkansas state:

*Historic Native Americans in the Mississippi Valley:
     Map and profiles of the Mississippi and Arkansas tribes.
*Encylopedia of Arkansas: Native Americans:
     Detailed article on Arkansas Native American history, with photos of native artifacts.
*Parkin Archeological Site:
     Arkansas state park on the site of an ancient Native American village.
*Toltec Mounds:
     National Historic Landmark site displaying the prehistoric monuments of the Arkansas Mound-Builders.
Arkansas Cultural Objects:
    Museum exhibit with pictures of Arkansas Native pottery, tools, and other artifacts.
*Access Genealogy Arkansas:
    Historical profiles and ancestry links for American Indian tribes native to Arkansas.

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