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The Battle of Claremore Mound, also known as the Battle of the Strawberry Moon or the Claremore Mound Massacre, was one of the chief battles of the war between the Osage and Cherokee Indians. It occurred in October 1817 when a band of Cherokees and their allies under Chief Spring Frog (Too-an-tuh) attacked Pasuga, an Osage village at the foot of Claremore Mound (in present-day Oklahoma). During the two-day battle, the Cherokees killed or captured every member of Chief Clermont's band and destroyed everything they could not carry away. Historians consider it one of the bloodiest Native American massacres in modern history.

The aggressors[]

In January 1817 the Arkansas Cherokee began planning a retaliatory attack against the Osage and began petitioning their relatives from the east to aid them in a battle against the Osage. In July of the same year the Cherokee warned William Clark, the governor of the Missouri Territory, of the impending attack. They wrote:

"they [the Osage] have stolen all our best horses, and have reduced us to work with our naked hands. [W}ith the few horses we have left, we intend to go to the Osages and hunt for those horses taken; we are going to do mischief."

500 Cherokee along with a number of Choctaws, Chickasaws and whites went to the Osage village. After luring out a representative of the Southern Osage the attack began in which the invading party killed thirty-eight Osage and took one hundred and four captives. The aggressors stole what they could carry and burnt the rest.

The aftermath[]

The warriors of the Osage people, including Gahige, Akida and Nonhonzhinga, had been out on the hunt when their town was decimated. In an attempt to maintain peace with the U.S. government they chose not to retaliate immediately. The Osage that were taken captive were sold to the eastern Cherokee for payment for their contributions in the battle. In December of the same year the United States started constructing Fort Smith between the Cherokee and Osage settlements and the following summer the Osage were forced by the U.S. to cede more land to the Cherokees that were settling in the area because of the apparent Cherokee victory at the Battle of Claremore Mound.


  • Eaton, Rachel Caroline. "The Legend of the Battle of Claremore Mound", Chronicles of Oklahoma 8:4 (December 1930) 369-376 (retrieved August 16, 2006).
  • Rollings, Willard H. "The Osage: An Ethnohistorical Study of Hegemony on the Prairie-Plains." (University of Missouri Press, 1992) 230-255
  • Mathews, John Joseph. "The Osages: Children of the Middle Waters." (University of Oklahoma Press, 1961) 416-418

External links[]

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