The Quapaw Nation are descendants of a tribe of Native Americans who historically resided on the west side of the Mississippi River in what is now the state of Arkansas.
Several hundred years ago, the Quapaw were a division of a larger group known as the Dhegiha Sioux. They split into the tribes known today as the Quapaw, Osage, Ponca, Kansa, and Omaha when they left the Ohio Valley.
The Quapaw moved down the Mississippi River into Arkansas, displacing the Tunica and the Illinois. This is the origin of the word "Ugaxpa" (“Ugakhpa”), as the Quapaw were known to other tribes, which means (roughly) "the downstream people."
The downstream people settled in the area where the Arkansas River met the Mississippi, where the meandering of the two massive rivers had deposited nutrient-rich soil conducive to farming. They settled into four villages at the mouth of the Arkansas River. This is where the Quapaw stayed until they were pushed out by Euro-Americans several hundred years later.
Today, many members of the Quapaw Nation live in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Their language is of the Dhegiha branch of the Siouan language family. Although it is no longer spoken, it is documented in fieldnotes from 19th-century linguist James Owen Dorsey, and, in the 1970's, by linguist Robert Rankin.
To learn more about the Quapaw Nation, please visit www.quapawtribe.com.