Jun 6, 2015

Learning about The Miami's

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about Chief Richardville,a native Miami Indian\French man who lived here in my home town back in the mid 1800's. He was one of the wealthiest men who lived here when he died. The first Saturday of the month from May - November there is something happening at the Richardville house. Today, there was a tour of the house and a dancer.   I have lived here for a long time and sadly didn't know about this place until a couple of years ago. That is one reason why one should be a tourist in your hometown.  There is a lot of history wherever you live. 

When I entered the house I was somewhat disappointed because of the condition of the inside. The outside of the house was worked on first before the inside can be renovated. They had to make sure that there wasn't any water leaks before the work began. 

In 1881, a house fire nearly destroyed the home. Two fireplaces shared the same chimney which caused a lot of soot build up and eventually caught on fire.  

Every mantel was covered with pictures of the family, especially Richardville. The above two pictures are of the great great granddaughter of Chief Little Turtle, Louisa, also called Ma-tek-kah.  She was wearing modern clothing of the day in the photograph and was probably taken in the 1860's. The second picture is the description of the photograph above it and a bit of history. 

After the tour we went outside and watched a young lady demonstrating traditional dances of the Miami tribe.  Pronounced Me ah me.

This is a closeup of her dress which reminds me of the coins that belly dancers wear on their hip scarves to make noise when they dance.  This offers the same effect. 

It seems like every part of the body is elaborately decorated with colors, scarves, feathers, and fur.  

The fur that is attached to her braids are otter skins. I had never seen that done before and it is lovely to look at. Her dress was made of a light calico material, which is cool during the summer months. 

The feathers on the fan came from a bald eagle. The dancer had four white dots on her face and when asked what they were for she said decoration only, nothing more. I came away from this brief encounter with a little more knowledge than when I arrived. The sad part is that the Miami Indians are now located in Oklahoma and is the only federally recognized tribe. The only Miami's that were allowed to stay here were the ones related to Chief Richardville or had a white parent. On the whole there is a population of about 3000 here. In August,there will be a pow wow in a city nearby.  I plan to attend this event if I can. Someone asked me today if I was a historian. No, but I have a lot of interest in the world. There is so much to learn and it seems like so little time to take everything in.