First Peoples

The Miami Indians

The Miami Indians lived not in Florida, but in the Midwest: Indiana Illinois and Ohio. The Miami originally lived in several areas near the Great Lakes. It is believed that they lived to the west, south, and east of lower Michigan . The Miami Indians name means “Allies”.

The Miami Indians joined Pontiac’s rebellion against the British in 1763-1765.   Read more about Pontiac’s rebellion by clicking here (don’t forget to come back!)

About 2000 Miami Indians live in Oklahoma and about 6000 in Indiana.The Miami tribe in Oklahoma has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country. However, the Miamis are also US citizens and must obey American law. The Miami Indians of Indiana don’t have a reservation or their own government. However, they still have traditional Miami leadership and tribal meetings.

In the past, the Miami tribe was ruled by two chiefs. One was a village chief, chosen by the leaders of the Miami clans, and the other was a war chief, chosen by the other warriors. Today, Miami chiefs are elected by the people, just like mayors and governors. There are also about 1000 Illinois Indians (primarily Peoria and Kaskaskia) living in Oklahoma today.

The Most Famous Miami Indian

Little Turtle was a formidable leader of the Miami Indians who were living in the Northwestern part of Fort Wayne, Indiana. His Indian name was Michikinikwa. Before the year 1790, very little is known about his life. However, it is known that he was born in this location in the year 1752.

Can You Pronounce Little Turtle's Indian Name?
It is pronounced: Me-She-Kin-No-Quah

The Potawatomi Indians

The Potawatomi (also spelled Pottawatomie or Pottawatomi) are a Native American people originally of the Great Lakes region. They traditionally speak the Potawatomi language, a member of the Algonquian family.

The Potawatomi controlled a vast amount of territory in the 1700s and served as middlemen for the fur trade between the French and various Great Lakes Tribes. Among the first Native Americans to intermarry with the Europeans, they fought alongside the French in the French and Indian Wars and later as allies of the British in the War of 1812.

Read more about the French & Indian War by clicking here (don’t forget to come back)

Read more about the War of 1812 by clicking here

The Most Famous Potawatomi Indian

Topinabee Chief Topinabee (He Who Sits Quietly). He was born in his father’s village on the St. Joseph River in 1758. Next to his father, Chief Nanaquiba, he was also noted as one of the greatest Potawatomi chiefs of all time. He was documented as a great warrior and known for his great tactical decisions in many battles like his father. He signed the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 that ceded much of what is now Ohio to the United States. He also signed 11 later treaties. He was succeeded as a leader of the Potawatomi by Leopold Pokagon.

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