Lands And Waters

Land Acknowledgment

The greenways built by Great Rivers Greenway around the confluences of the great Mississippi, Missouri, and Meramec Rivers and the many waterways that flow into them are located in present-day St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County.

The land where the greenways are located is the ancestral land of the Osage people who have a strong connection to this land and for whom it is sacred, and the confluences of the waterways around the region are powerful and sacred places for the Osage people. Many other tribes have also lived on or used this land for hunting, trading, sacred practices, or were forced to relocate from their homelands to this region. Indigenous Peoples are an important part of the St. Louis community today. We honor their stories and ongoing contributions to our community.

Historical Context

The St. Louis region is the ancestral and sacred land of the Osage people. Many of the other tribes who have also called the St. Louis region home include the Ponca, Kaw, Omaha, Quapaw, Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Tamaroa, Peoria, Michigamea, Moingwena, Shawnee, Delaware, Sac, Fox, Apache, Miami, Winnebago, Otoe, Missouria, Mingo, Cherokee, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Chickasaw, Onondaga, Pawnee, Padouca, and Oceti Sakowin.

The greenways and the entire St. Louis region are on stolen land. Through genocide and exploitation of the Indigenous people who lived here, colonial settlers forced their way onto this land. Spanish, French, British, and American invaders forcibly removed these Indigenous Peoples from the St. Louis region. From 1845-1909, Indigenous people were banned from living in the St. Louis region and the entire state of Missouri. Less than fifty years later, St. Louis was one of several urban areas participating in the American Indian Urban Relocation program – an ongoing effort of the US federal government to erase Indigenous culture through assimilation by relocating Indigenous people into American urban areas often without the promised relocation assistance. There are currently over 13,500 Indigenous people living in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County.

Indigenous Interpretation Council

Formed in 2018, the Indigenous Interpretation Council works with Great Rivers Greenway to:

  • Provide input on Indigenous information shared on greenways
  • Review content for interpretive signs and tours on greenways
  • Provide guidance and insight on how to include Indigenous heritage and culture in greenway interpretation

Additional Resources

(including links to the nations and tribes whose ancestors lived on or used the land where the greenways are located)