Portrait of Mi-A-Qu-A, a Miami chief.
The Miami natives originally lived in Indiana, Illinois, and southern Michigan at the time of European colonization of North America. They moved into the Maumee Valley around 1700. They soon became the most powerful American Indian tribe in Ohio. The Miamis spoke an Algonquian dialect, and were thus related to the Delaware (Lenape), the Ottawa, and the Shawnee.
The Miami were allies of the French until British traders moved into the Ohio Country, around 1740. The French forced the British out of Ohio, and the Miamis allied themselves with the French again until the British victory in the French and Indian War. As French trading posts turned into British forts, many Miami natives moved to present-day Indiana to avoid further battles with the more powerful British. During the American Revolution, the Miami, who were especially fearful of additional white settlers moving into the Ohio Country, fought with the British against the United States. After the defeat of the British, the Miami natives continued to fight the newly-formed United States.
Little Turtle was a great leader of the Miamis, with affiliations to the Eel River tribe. He helped to lead a force of Miami and other American Indians to victory over two United States armies. They defeated the army of General Josiah Harmar in 1790 (Harmar's Defeat) and the army of General Arthur St. Clair in 1791 (St. Clair's Defeat).
General Anthony Wayne defeated the Miamis and other American Indians with Ohio lands at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The Miamis, along with other American Indians living in Ohio, were forced to surrender most of their Ohio lands with the signing of the Treaty of Greenville. In 1818, the United States forced the Miami to give up their last reservation in Ohio. Many of the displaced Ohio Miami settled in Indiana, but, once more, the U.S. federal government removed some of them to Kansas during the 1850s, while others were permitted to remain in Indiana.
Descendents of the Ohio Miami are members of the federally-recognized Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, and of the unrecognized Miami Nation of Indiana.
- Anson, Bert. The Miami Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.