The Otoes who call themselves Jiwere (jee-WEH-ray) and the Missourias who call themselves Nutachi (noo-TAH-chi) were related to each other in language and customs, but they were still two different people. After separating the Otoe-Missouria people still lived near each other in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
The state of Nebraska owes its name to the Otoe-Missourias. It is from two Otoe-Missouria words “Ni Brathge” (nee BRAHTH-gay) which means “water flat.” This name came from the Platt River which flows through the state and at some places moves so slowly and calmly that it is flat.
The state of Missouri and the Missouri River are both named after the Missouria Tribe, which once lived in the region and controlled traffic and trade along the Missouri River and its tributaries.
In 1855 the Otoe-Missouria people were confined by the United States government to a reservation on the Big Blue River in southeast Nebraska. The original reservation was a strip of land 25 miles long by 10 miles wide that straddled the Nebraska/Kansas border. For years the tribe watched as acre by acre of their land was sold off by the government to non-Indians. In 1881 the tribe was moved to Red Rock, Oklahoma, where they are currently located.