On November 10, 1808, the American militia and the chiefs from the Little Osage and Big Osage nations celebrated. Fort Osage, built on a Missouri River bluff 250 miles west of St. Louis, was officially opened on that date, and the Osage Indians signed a treaty with the Americans written by Governor Meriwether Lewis. For a short time, the fort did provide the Osage with a place to trade their furs. It also offered them limited protection from the many other tribes who were their enemies. However, the Osage chiefs discovered very quickly that the fort was small consolation for the lands they had given up by signing the treaty. Kristie C. Wolferman traces the history of the Osage Nation from its origins to its forced departure from Missouri. She demonstrates the ways in which the Osage culture changed with each new encounter of the Osage with Europeans. Their lives had been changed by the influx of white disease, by the use of European trade goods and weapons, and by the political control of Spanish, French, and American governments. As a result, the Fort Osage experiment came too late to establish lasting good relations between the white men and the Indians.