One State-Many Nations

Western Reserve Public Media




  • Algonquian

  • Part of a loose confederation of six independent nations. Each nation had its own chiefs and separate governments

  • Apparently came from the Fisher culture which was part of the Mississippian culture


  • First recorded meeting of Europeans and Miami is in 1668 in Wisconsin.

  • Competition between the French and British caused the Miami to move around and to change alliances.

  • Had an important village at the current Piqua, Ohio, which was burned by the French in 1752.

  • In 1757 smallpox epidemic took a heavy toll on the Miami people.

  • Even after the Revolutionary War, hostilities continued between settlers and Native people of Ohio.

  • After the Revolutionary War, the Western Alliance was formed. A major goal was for Natives to keep their land.

  • The Treaty of Fort Harmer was made, but it was worthless as soon as it was signed. The treaty defined the western border for settlement as the Muskingum River.

  • The Miami people stayed out of the War of 1812.

  • In 1846, the Miami were moved to the Indian territories (from Indiana).

Family Life

  • Descent came through the father.

  • Chiefs had a religious function within the nation.

  • Early Miami were farmers noted for a unique variety of white corn. Also had many other crops.

  • Houses were a long house with an arched roof made of saplings and covered with rush or cattail mats.

  • Also had a central large house for councils and ceremonies.

  • Early Miami had a reputation for liking fancy clothing. Tattooing was common for both sexes.

  • The men wore cloth shirts, leggings and breechcloths with much ornamentation. Earrings, nose rings and face painting were common.

  • Women wore shirts and decorated capes that were attached to the shirt. They wore two styles of skirts — a wrap and a cylindrical one, both decorated with ribbon or bead work and silver.

  • Miami moccasins were distinctive and easy to identify. The flaps came together from the middle to the point of the toe.

Famous Chief — Little Turtle

  • Became War Chief of the Western Alliance, an alliance ready to defend Native American rights in Ohio.

  • His tactical skills were impressive and the early efforts to take Ohio were disastrous.

  • An early morning assault by Little Turtle against General Arthur St. Clair was considered to be the worst defeat inflicted on the U.S. Army at the hands of Native Americans.

  • "Mad" Anthony Wayne moved to Ohio and established himself at Fort Greenville.

  • Little Turtle was replaced by Blue Jacket as the War Chief of the Alliance. A week later the alliance met Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and was defeated.

  • This defeat led to the Greenville Treaty.

  • Little Turtle and the Miami were the last signators on the treaty and symbolically the last to cede their rights.

  • Little Turtle settled in Indiana and became the Miami Peace Chief. He brought the first smallpox vaccinations to his people.

  • After the death of Little Turtle, most of the Miami joined Tecumseh.


  • By 1813 the death of Tecumseh killed any hope of the Miami people remaining in the Ohio country.

  • Many moved to Indiana, but in 1846, the Miami boarded canal boats to begin their journey to eastern Kansas.

  • One group of Miami remained in Indiana, but in 1897, for no apparent reason, the U.S. government terminated the Indiana Miami as a tribal nation.

  • Eventually the Kansas Miami moved to Oklahoma Indian Territory.

  • By the 1930s both the Oklahoma and Indiana Miami had lost all of their land.

  • Since then the Oklahoma Miami have acquired 160 acres.

  • The Indian Miami continue to fight to be recognized as a Native people.
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