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Title: Indian Tribal Characteristics
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The Indians who lived in the locality, when the French began making settlements along the Wabash, were the Wyandotts, the Delawares, the Shawnees, Ottawas, Chippewas, Potawatamies, Miamis, Kickapoos and Winnebagos.

The Miamis claimed to have originally possessed the land along the Wabash river in this locality; the Delawares occupied the land along White river and south of Coal creek in Fountain County side in what is now Wabash, Fulton and Troy townships, and had possession of the territory across the river form the little Vermillion river, at Newport in Vermillion county to the Tippecanoe river. The Miamis comprising the Eel river and Wea tribes, had their hunting grounds extending from Coal creek north; the Shawnees came in later and hunted inthe northern part of Fountain county.

The Miami Indians are spoken of as the Miami Confederates, being a confederation of different tribes of the Miamis. They were the original inhabitants fo the Wabash valley and comprised of the Weas, the Eel River, the Shockeys, and several other small tribes. The Pottawatamies and Kickapoos came in fromt he north, the Delawares and the Wyandottes came into the Wabash country from the east. The Shawnees were a tribe of tramp Indians and gathered a good deal of knowledge from the various tribes of Indians north and south in their wanderings. The Miamis did not wander; they were satisfied with Wabash valleyand they did not care to leave it. They were the last tribe to to cede their lands to the United States government. They ceded that last of what was known as the "Big Reserve" on November 28, 1840. The families of JOhn B. Richardville, Francis Godfrey, and the principal chief Me_Shing-lo-Me-Sia and many other families remained on the Reserve and some of them still live there.

The Miami Indians were the best specimens, mentally and physically, of any of the Indian tribes that inhabited the Wabash valley. The men were tall and straight; the women were larger than women of any other tribe and far more attractive. They did not inter-marry with the other tribes, but many of the women married white men and many of the men married white women.

The Miamis were the principal Indians in all the treaties. The Miamis were large men, full six feet high and almost perfect physique. Their women were beautiful and splendid specimens of womanhood and the men aided their women in taking care of the papooses and doing the work about the tents.

The Kickapoos were short, heavy set, sulky fellows; their women were small and common in appearance and the squaws were practically slaves to the warriors.

The Shawnees were handsome men, with handsome women, but hardly equal to the Miamis. They were perhaps the most intelligent of the Indians who ever lived in this locality, while the Kickapoos were at the bottom of the scale.

The Delawares were the most peaceful of any of the tribes of Indians who lived in this locality, and sometimes all of the tribes that I have named would hunt here together.

Ouiatenon was the largest Indian settlement in North America lived in this settlement on both sides of the river, and it extended from Grindstone creek in Fountain county to Wea creek in Tippecanoe, on the south side of the river.

On this side were the Weas and Miamis; on the other side were very good settlements of Kickapoos and Potawatamies. They were very loth to leave the hunting grounds along the Wabash.

On the prairies of Warren, Fountain, and Benton counties were splendid pastures for the scattering herds of buffalo and deer, and many prairie chickens, the streams were filled with fish, the birds were in the forest and the pheasant, wild turkey, and quail, there were squirrels galore, and in the Wabash Valley the Indian had but little trouble to secure his meat. He never killed as the white man kills for pleasure; he only killed game for his food and his clothing, and he killed only what he would need; he took from the waters only the fish he actually needed for food; and the birds whose feathers he could utilize or whose flesh he could use for food. His aim was unerring and when an arrow left the string that bended his bow it seldom failed to hit the spot at which he aimed. And then the fertile soil along the Wabash river was utilized for the growing of corn, which he plucked in the roasting ear and dried and kept for winter use. Beans and other vegetables were grown in this locality by them, and they spent their winters in comparative comfort before the advent of the white man.

The Potawatamies and Kickapoos came from the north and west; the Delawares and Winnebagoes came from the east, but the Miamis were the orginal tribes here, and in their native state they did not inter-marry with other tribes, for each tried to preserve their racial or tribal features, along with their legends, their superstitions, and the peculiar forms of worship.

Date: 1/1/1916
Origin: Historical Sketches of the Wabash Valley
Author: J. Wesley Whicker
Record ID: 00001183
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

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