The Miami occupied the Green Bay, Wisconsin, region in the seventeenth century but later migrated to the southern end of Lake Michigan. The name “Miami” is most probably derived from the Ojibwa word oumamik, “people of the peninsula.”
The tribe had a fairly sophisticated political structure, based largely on the clan system. Each Miami belonged to his or her father's clan. Clan chiefs in each village made up a council that ruled the community. Village councils sent delegates to band councils, which in turn sent chiefs to a tribal council.
The Midewiwin, or Grand Medicine Society, was a hallmark of tribal life. It consisted of priests noted for their special curing powers. Other Miami shamans used roots and herbs to combat disease. According to most accounts, the sun was the principal deity for the Miami and was called the “Master of Life.”
Miami villages consisted of pole-frame houses covered by rush mats. Each village usually had a large council house for council meetings and ceremonies. The tribe was famed for its superior strains of corn; the Miami also grew melons, squash, beans, and pumpkins. Buffalo were hunted once a year.
Originally, the Miami consisted of six separate bands: Atchatchakangouen, Kilatika, Mengakonkia, Pepicokia, Wea, and Piankashaw. The first three united into the Miami proper, and the Pepicokia were absorbed by the Wea and Piankashaw. The Wea and the Piankashaw were...
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