Origin and History
The Miami people (literally “people of the peninsula”) are an Algonquian-speaking association of six bands of Native Americans. They initially inhabited a territory south of Lake Michigan, in present-day North-central Indiana, southwest Michigan, western Ohio and eastern Illinois. As birch trees did not grow in their territory, their canoes were in fact dugout boats made with the trunk of a butternut tree.
During the Beaver Wars, the Miami people were slowly pushed westwards to present-day Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.
At the beginning of the 18th century, with the assistance of French traders from Canada, the Miami people pushed back into their historical territory in present-day Indiana and Ohio and resettled it.
By 1717, the French estimated the population of the Miami people to 8,000. By 1720, they were established along the Miami and Scioto rivers in present-day Ohio.
By 1736, the Miami people numbered less than 3,000.
In the first half of the 18th century, the Miami people were allied with the French against the British.
In 1748, some Miami bands left the French alliance and signed a treaty at Lancaster with the Colony of Pennsylvania, allowing the British to build trading posts in Ohio. In 1752, the French reacted and organised an expedition with 250 Odawa and Chippewa warriors, destroying the British trading post at Pickawillany (prresent-day Piqua, Ohio). The rebels then rejoined the French alliance.
In 1763, the Miami people took part in Pontiac’s Rebellion.
From 1775 to 1783, the Miami people supported the British against the Americans.
From 1783 to 1795, the Miami people fought against the United States.
In 1846, about half of the Miami people were relocated in Kansas. In the 1860s, the Miami people was once more relocated, this time, in Oklahoma.
Role during the War
In 1758, some Miami warriors joined the French force which unsuccessfully defended Fort Duquesne.
We have been unable to find characteristics about the dress of this Native American people that would distinguish them from other peoples. If you can suggest sources documenting such characteristics, please do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions.
Sulzman, Lee: Miami History
Waldman, Carl: Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, Revised Edition, pp. 136-137
Wikipedia – Miami people
N.B.: the section Role during the War is derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.