Miamis Indian Tribe
History of Miamis Indian tribe
During European colonization of North America, the Miamis were living in southern Michigan and Illinois. Around 1700, they relocated to the Maumee and soon they were the most powerful American native tribe in Ohio. The Miami Indians used Algonquindialect language. In addition, they were connected to the Delaware, the Ottawa, and the Shawnee. Besides, they had allied with the French before British traders entered into the Ohio Country. The Miamis allied with the French to force the British out of Ohio(“Encyclopedia.com | Free Online Encyclopedia,” n.d.). When French traders turned into British forts, most of the Miami Indians relocated to Indiana to avoidfurther war with the British who were more powerful. In the period of the American Revolution, the Miami were in fear of the large number of whites who were moving into Ohio county. They became allies with the British to fight against the United States. As the British lost the fightthe Miami natives instead continued to fight the formation of the new United States.
Miamis leader was called Little Turtle who had associations to the Eel River tribe and thus led a Miami force to vctory against two of United States armies. In 1794, Miamis and other American Indians who possessed Ohio lands were conquered by General Anthony Wayne. They were compelled to give up most of their lands as the Miamis were forced also to surrender their last reservation in Ohio county by the United States. As a result,the majority of the displaced settled in Indiana.
Cultures of the Miami Indian Tribe
The Miami Indians mostly hunted buffalos and practiced mobile farming, they usually trapped animals with fire and other times caught them using arrows. Men went for buffalo hunts while women would remain behind and assist to prepare meat and hides that would be used to travel back for the next hunts in the river valley. Miami Indians used mats of woven plant materials to build their houses of various shapes(Kinietz& Vernon 1714). They also farmed a lot of white corn, which they would trade with other tribes and the English and French between the borders of Illinois and Ohio(Kinietz& Vernon 1673). As they traded with other tribes, the Miami’s became wealthier. They started adopting the European styles such as building log houses and mode of dressing. As majority of the Europeans were getting influenced to new ways of living the Miamis stuck to their traditions and more so continued their active life (Kinietz&Vernon 1670).
The Miami religion revolved around an individual attempts to gain power from sprits which are referred to as mentors. They believed that manitousroved and could be in different forms including; animals, plants and humans. Manitou’s power source was equated to the sun.Women andmen, were instructed to fast, segregatethemselves, and try to talk to a Manitou in a dream. Manitou would be someone’s guardian spirit if contacted but people had to offer sacrifices and reverence to gain power. Public feasts were made to receive spiritual power from specific manitous. Besides, religious practitioners were referred as Shamans and they were assumed to be closer to manitous than other people and they could gain power from them either to kill or heal.
The Miami Indian tribe participated in ceremonies such as the Calumet Dance which was performed to request power frommanitus. The Calumet dance was usually performed before going to war. It provided a means of offering food to Manitous through a raiding party. Calumet was made up of a long wooden stem and a stone pipe with feathers and paint for decoration. This dance was made by the raiding party members in their hands which they would smoke and then offer the smoke to their god Manitou.(Free Online Encyclopedia,” n.d.). Moreover, feasts were given for monitors, especially before going to war. The two types of feasts that were held included one with a simple diner with dance rituals and short speeches and another which food had to be eaten before anyone could be allowed to leave.
The Miami tribe employed numerous plant materials in making medicines for common diseases, which offered effective treatments for fractures, cuts or gunshot wound. If these remedies would fail the Miamis could call the Shaman whowas believed to heal through his supernatural powes (Trowbridge &Charles). The Shaman had it that someone’s illness was embodied like a shell hence he would pretend to physically suck out from the ailing person.
All women were tattooed on the face, arms, and the chest while men were tattooed from head to toe. Porcupine quills and paint was used in decoration of garments and shoes. Songs, music, and dances were religious; theywere used as a method of showing reverence to a Manitou and oher times as entertainment.
Death of a reative was signaled by weeping and ritualized lamentations (Anson&Burt 54). When the husband dies, the wife was required to stick to a number of strict taboos. However, the dead body had to be cleaned and ornamented. The body was then wrapped and placed on a tree. Mourners would normally bring small presents and food on this tree. After the burial a dance may be performed or a game might play to show that the dead person was loved. They believed that when people died they would enter another world and they would find themselves walking down a road which they would have to pass a number of obstacles before they reached a happy home.
Labor was determined by one’s sex with men spending most of their time in fights, gaming, or in discussions that concerned the village. Women, on the other hand, were expected to take care of the house, prepare game that their husbands brought in, make clothing for the family, make clay pots and baskets, and gather wild plant foods such as nuts. They were also responsible for making and repairing the mats, weed and cultivate the gardens, and prepare meals for the family(“Encyclopedia.com | Free Online Encyclopedia,” n.d.).
Polygamous marriages were accepted in Miami Indian tribe could support more than one wife. Although individuals would decide and arrange on their own marriage it had to be approved by the the family (Callende& Charles 681). Dowry payments were made by the husband’s family. If it was accepted, the individuals were considered married. Also, there were few informal marriage arrangements. Interestingly, couples were expected to set up their own homes once married. Divorce was common although mostly would be due to the wife’s adultery. Nonetheless, mothers gave birth in seclusion and where they remain with their babies for a few weeks(Callende& Charles 689). The Miami were affectionate parents and allowed their children greater freedom. In cases of internal disputes, the village council involving clan chiefs would be called for solutions but other times the involved family would resolve them themselves.
Anson, Burt (1970). The Miami Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Callender, Charles. (1978). “Miami.”In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 15, Northeast,edited by Bruce G. Trigger, 681-689. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
Kinietz, Vernon (1965). Indians of the Western Great Lakes, 1615-1760. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Trowbridge, Charles (1938). Meearmeer Traditions, edited by Vernon Kinietz. University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology, Occasional Contributions, no. 7. Ann Arbor.
“Miami.” Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. 30 Mar. 2017<http://www.encyclopedia.com>.