Quapaw (American Indians Ready Reference)
Unlike many other American Indian tribes, the Quapaws (or Arkansas) have not preserved elaborate traditions explaining their origins. They say only that their Ancient Ones came forth from the water. Because of this, the history of the tribe is difficult to uncover. The Quapaws, or “Downstream People,” migrated from the Ohio Valley to the Arkansas River near where it joins the Mississippi River in the mid-1600's. Since the Quapaws went downstream, their kindred tribes called them Ugaxpa, or “drifted downstream.” Their principal villages were on the west bank of the Mississippi River in what is now Arkansas. The forests and rivers supplied plenty of berries, game, and other food. They had large, well-tilled fields and cultivated gourds, pumpkins, sunflowers, beans, squash, and corn. Corn was considered the most important agricultural product. They hunted buffalo, which was a substantial part of their diet, and preserved what was not needed immediately for winter.
The focus of Quapaw life was the permanent village, which was actually a cluster of multiple-family dwellings. Their faith played a role in every aspect of tribal life; the central force of the universe was Wah-kon-tah, who was all and in all. They believed in life after death and in a judgment that would lead to a life of joy or perpetual torment. They often traded with the Caddoes on the Red River and had established a trade route between the two settlements. The manufactured goods of...
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