What Are Some Historical Facts About the Miami Tribe of Native Americans?


Quick Answer

The Miami people interacted with Europeans almost from the arrival of the first colonists, maintaining a position in the Midwest from the 1600s until the last holdouts were removed to Oklahoma in the 1870s. Today they number in the thousands, mostly living in Indiana and Oklahoma.

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Full Answer

The Miami nation took form in the 1600s on the shores of Lake Michigan, having migrated there from the lower Ohio Valley area to avoid conflict with the powerful Iroquois. The Miami people made contact with French missionaries early on and allied with them until the French retreated across the Mississippi following the French and Indian Wars. Around 1700, the Miami moved into the Ohio area, but with the coming of the British, they sought the safety of distance in Indiana.

The Miami aligned themselves with the British against the Colonists in the Revolutionary War, fearing American expansionism, and they continued to make war against the new nation long after the British gave up the fight. The early 1790s saw Miami success on two battlefields, but in 1794, General Mad Anthony Wayne inflicted a decisive defeat upon the tribe. It was forced to sign a treaty, after which it attempted to coexist peacefully with its new neighbors. Before 1820, however, it was forced out of Ohio for the last time, with some tribe members going to Kansas and others to Indiana.

The next 70 years saw a dramatic decline in the Miami population until fewer than 100 remained near the turn of the 20th century. Since that time the tribe's numbers have recovered, although its language has died out, and many have acculturated themselves to the white way of living.

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