Native American Indian negotiations in Ohio

This engraving by Benjamin West depicts Col. Bouquet negotiating with Native American Indians on the Muskingum River in 1766.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is Part 1 in a 9-part series on Ohio's great American Indian chiefs released by the Ohio Historical Society on Nov. 3, 1967. Richland Source has entered into a collaborative agreement with the Ohio History Connection to share content across our sites.

Over the next several weeks we will be publishing brief biographies on eight Native American Indian chiefs of Ohio.

Today we begin with the great tribes of Ohio and a map to grasp the locations of some of those who inhabited the state.

Map of Ohio

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SIX NATIONS

The northeast corner of what is now Ohio was, before explorers penetrated the region, the territory of the Erie Culture, or Cat Nation.

In 1655, the Erie were completely wiped out by a confederation of the Iriquois, known as the Five (later, Six) Nations.

Thereafter, for many years the Ohio country was virtually uninhabited. The vast tract of virgin forest was subject to rival territorial claims before the Revolutionary War.

Virginia, Pennsyvlania, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut believed their colonial charters extended their boundaries indefinitely to the west. French and English explorers and traders asserted their respective rights.

Thus there were conflicting agreements set uip with the Native American Indian tribes in Ohio.

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MIAMI

The Miami, from Wisconsin, migrated into western Ohio in the early 1700s, having already established villages in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.

In 1730, the first English traders were known to have been trading gunpowder, hatchets, rum, blankets and beads with the Miami for their valuable furs.

Their principal village in Ohio was Pickawillany -- near present-day Piqua -- but their strongholds were dotted throughout the Maumee and Miami River Valleys.

Villages there were destroyed in the 1790-to-1794 campaigns of Generals Josiah Harmar and Anthony Wayne -- although the Miami were notable warriors and, under the firm leadership of Little Turtle, won some important victories over the invaders from the east.

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SHAWNEE

The Shawnee were migrating from their southern homelands into eastern Pennsylvania by 1690. Then, forced further west by hostile tribes and encroaching Europeans, began in 1720 to move into the upper Ohio Valley.

By 1750 they were established in the Scioto Valley in southern and central Ohio.

It was the Shawnee who offered the stiffest resistence to the advancement of Colonial settlers and their military. Three Shawnee chiefs have left their names and deeds upon the records: Cornstalk, Blue Jacket and Tecumseh.

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WYANDOT

The Wyandot, also doughty fighters, were a segment of the Huron, pushed out of eastern Canada by the Iroquois.

They first settled in northern Michigan, then in comparitively small numbers, migrated south into the Maumee and Sandusky Valleys.

Famous among their chiefs was Tarhe, one of the signers of the Treaty of Greene Ville, who sided with the United States in 1812.

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DELAWARE

The Delaware, or Leni-lenape, were also refugees from the east, defeated by the Iroquois and crowded out by English settlers. They occupied large areas of eastern Ohio, including Muskingum and Tuscarawas River Valleys.

In alliance with the Shawnee, the Delaware stubbornly opposed the frontiersmen.

Among the Delaware chiefs were Captain White Eyes and Tishcohan.

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OTTAWA

In addition to the "Big Four" of Miami, Shawnee, Wyandot and Delaware, there were a number of lesser tribes. Many of them allied from time to time with their more powerful neighbors. Periodically they collaborated with the French or the English.

The Ottawa from Ontario and the Great Lakes settled in northwestern Ohio. Pontiac belonged to this tribe.

The Tuscarora and the Mingo or Seneca Indians were fragments of the Iroquois confederacy who migrated to the Ohio country.

The villages of the former were in the eastern part of the state, while the Mingo settled on the upper Ohio, upper Scioto and Sandusky Rivers. The eloquent chief Logan was a Mingo.

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