Protecting and Honoring Missouri’s Prairie Heritage

June 3, 2021 | News

The Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) has established an acknowledgement of the role of Native Americans in shaping Missouri’s prairie.

This year is a milestone in Missouri’s history. This state has accomplished much in its first 200 years—and Missouri’s Bicentennial is a time to reflect on our state’s natural heritage. Up until statehood, there were 15 million acres of prairie within what would become Missouri’s borders, as well as vast open woodlands, wetlands, and other biologically rich natural communities.

Today there are fewer than 51,000 scattered, unplowed acres of original prairie left in the state. With European-American settlement of Missouri came the conversion of prairie to agriculture and other uses. This conversion also began when Native American nations were extirpated from this region. The Osage and other nations who lived here shaped and perpetuated prairie through their burning practices, which stopped when they were forcibly removed from their territory.
While we honor our state’s history during this Bicentennial year, MPF believes it is imperative to also acknowledge and honor the people who lived here and shaped this land prior to statehood, and because of this, MPF has developed the following acknowledgement:

The Missouri Prairie Foundation respectfully acknowledges that the land we work to protect was the homeland of a diversity of Native American nations prior to European-American settlement. The land in our care continues to have cultural significance for the Ni-U-Ko’n-Ska (Osage), Nyut/\achi (Missouria), Asakiwaki and Meskwaki (Sac and Fox), Báxoje (Ioway), Kaw, and other Native American nations. We are mindful that these nations had a significant role in shaping the landscape and that they continue a sacred relationship with the lands we protect. We recognize and appreciate their contributions to the cultural heritage of this region and to the history of North America. We honor them as we protect the ecological integrity of the lands in our care.

 

Photo above of MPF’s Schwartz Prairie by www.HenryDomke.com

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