An all-steel sculpture rising 35 feet in height, 20 feet in width, and 80 feet in length is currently under construction, and when complete, will be erected at the Cuba, MO, Visitors Center; this location is at the intersection of Highway 19 and Interstate 44. Celebrating the History of the Missouri Osage Indians, a tribe native to the state and to this region of the Ozarks, the project is meant to pay tribute to both the Osage Nation and the Osage Trail, which ran along a ridge of the Ozark Mountains, providing a key transportation and trading route during the westward expansion of the United States.
For these reasons, the project management team feels it is of vital importance to commemorate the legacy of the Osage. The corridor running directly through Cuba, MO, was used for travel and trade. The Osage Trail is one of the most important trails that goes across the State of Missouri and it has powerful historical significance.
The sculpture will depict an Osage family moving westward on the Osage trail. The sculpture is designed to work with the contours of the site which will include working water features and native plant landscaping. Additionally, the walking trail will be lighted for evening viewing opportunities. The 35 foot height will allow interstate drivers to see the sculpture from the city limit boundaries, both east and west. This promises to be the largest sculpture ever dedicated, and erected, to the Osage Nation. It will be a destination for all who desire to understand the Osage Legacy in Missouri.
In addition to the monument, there will be a mural dedicated to the Osage Nation, painted by renowned Osage artist, Norman Akers, located in the Mural District of downtown Cuba, MO. Once complete, this mural will be 15 feet in height and 40 forty feet in length further depicting the Legacy of the Osage.
To ensure historical accuracy, the design of the sculpture was sent to the Osage Nation for review and has received full approval. Positive feedback has been returned and the Osage Nation has fully endorsed this project. When the outdoor sculpture is completed at the Cuba Visitors Center, it will be the largest monument dedicated to the Osage in the entire world. This will result in increased tourism as the region will become a destination point for those interested in American History or Native American Culture. A scaled-down mockup is currently on display at the Tourism Center in Cuba, MO.
Today's Interstate 44 was the original Trail of the Osage. Previously, it was romanticized as Historic Highway 66 and before that, the Springfield Road. It has always been the Trail of the Osage. At the dawn of this nation's expansion, this trail carried furs and lead ore to St. Louis and brought back food, clothing, and supplies from St. Louis to the rural areas of Southwest Missouri. But this trail carried more than merchandise. It also carried ideas and innovation. It carried the ideas that would form a young, energetic, and growing republic of the early 1800's.
But, who were these trail blazers and what happened to them? Washington Irving stated that the Osage were, "the finest looking Indians I have ever seen in the West." George Catlin described the Osage as, "the tallest race of men in North America either red or white skin, many of them six and a half, and others seven feet."
The missionary Isaac McRoy described the Osage as an, "uncommonly fierce, courageous, warlike nation." The Osage, throughout history, were recognized for the fierce defense of their families, their land, and their freedom. Unfortunately for this commitment, they paid the ultimate price. They lost the legacy of the land of their ancestors. They lost their home called Missouri. Missouri Governor Clark said that the 1825 Treaty, which removed the Osage from Missouri, was the hardest treaty he had ever made and he feared he might be damned in the hereafter for his part in the agreement.
We need your help. Please join us in the construction of this once in a lifetime project. Make your contribution today and make this dream a reality.