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The Miami of Kansas

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Kansas,Native American | No Comments

The Miami were called Twightwee by the Early English writers. They were sometimes spoken of as the Crane people. Little Turtle, their chief, replied when asked the bounds of his country by “Mad” Anthony; “My forefather kindled the first fire at Detroit; from thence he extended his line to the headwaters of the Scioto; from thence to its mouth; from thence to the mouth of the Wabash; and from thence to Chicago, on Lake Michigan. These are the boundaries within which the prints of my ancestors’ houses are everywhere to be seen.”

The Miamis were an important tribe in the Ohio Valley, where they bore a part in all the border wars. They are of the Algonquian stock and have the social organization of that family. There are ten clans in the tribe:

  1. Wolf
  2. Loon
  3. Eagle
  4. Buzzard
  5. Panther
  6. Turkey
  7. Raccoon
  8. Snow
  9. Sun
  10. Water

By the time of general treaty-making to divest the Indians of their land east of the Mississippi, the Miamis were mostly in Indiana. By the treaties of 1839 and 1841 they were possessed of a reservation adjoining the State of Missouri, immediately north of the land of the New York Indians, south of the country of the Wea, and east of the Pottawatomie. Miami County was made from a portion of this reservation. They arrived and began a settlement on Sugar Creek in 1846. By the end of 1847 there were eleven hundred of them on their reservation, but half of them died the following year. Many of them returned to their old homes east of the Mississippi. The remainder moved to the Marais des Cygnes, in the south part of Miami County, where they established what was called Miami Village. The Baptists and Catholics had missions among the Miamis in Kansas.

Chippewa

The Miami reservation contained about five hundred thousand acres. The land was as good as can be found in Kansas. The land-stealers soon came to demand it. A treaty was concluded June 5, 1854, by which the reservation was sold to the United States for two hundred thousand dollars. There was excepted a tract containing seventy-two thousand acres. This tract was later secured by the white settlers by the usual methods in use for getting possession of Indian land. In 1871 the Miamis removed to a reservation on the Spring River, in what is now Oklahoma.

The Chippewa are one of the largest of the Algonquian tribes. The correct form of the name is Ojibwa. It signifies “to roast till puckered up” and has reference to the puckered seam in their moccasins, it being peculiar to the tribe, no others making the moccasin in that way.

The original territory occupied by this tribe bordered both shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, and extended westward to the Turtle Mountains, in North Dakota. This land was beyond and beside the trails and courses of the first settlers, and as a consequence the Chippewa were not embroiled in so many of the border wars as were other tribes less fortunately situated.

The Chippewa, as did many other Indian nations, became widely scattered as a result of the settlement of the country by Europeans. A number of small bands settled and remained about Lake St. Clair. The band on the Swan Creek of that lake came to be known as the Swan-Creek band. The Black River flows into Lake St. Clair, and the band living on that stream came to be called the Black-River band. By a treaty made May 9, 1836, these bands ceded their lands on the stream named, and were guaranteed a reservation west of the Mississippi of eight thousand three hundred and twenty acres. This tract was finally located a few miles west of Ottawa, in Franklin County, Kansas. Only a few families were settled on these lands. To these the whole reservation was given. By the terms of the treaty made July 16, 1859, the Munsee or Christian Indians were united with these Chippewa and made joint owners of the reservation. This band was composed of the Christian Indians of the Munsee tribe, and this tribe has had notice in our account of the Delaware. In the treaty of 1859 provision was made for allotment of lands in severalty. In the course of time this was done. In 1871 the surplus land was sold. The Chippewa then asked that they be permitted to sell all their lands and move to the Indian Territory. This was complied with, but the process was slow. It was 1901 before the transaction was completed and the Indians received the proceeds of the sales of their lands.

There was a Moravian mission among these Indians. Little was ever accomplished in the way of Christianizing the Chippewa, however. Their missionary once remarked that he had little hope of meeting any of them in heaven.

There were twenty-three clans among the Chippewa:

1. Wolf 12. Bald Eagle
2. Bear 13. Loon
3. Beaver 14. Duck
4. Mud Turtle 15. Swan
5. Snapping Turtle 16. Snake
6. Little Turtle 17. Marten
7. Reindeer 18. Heron
8. Snipe 19. Bullhead
9. Crane 20. Carp
10. Pigeon Hawk 21. Sturgeon
11. Raven 22. Pike
23. Pickerel

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