Miami Nation of Indiana

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Miami Nation of Indiana
Regions with significant populations
 United States  Indiana
English, historically Miami-Illinois and French
Christianity, Traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
Peoria, Illinois, Shawnee and other Algonquian peoples

The Miami Nation of Indiana (also known as the Miami Nation of Indians of the State of Indiana) is a group of individuals who identify as Miami and have organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Their federal recognition related to an 1854 treaty was withdrawn in 1897. In a late 20th-century court challenge, a federal court ruled that, although the government's action was illegal, the time had passed to correct the result and the tribe remains unrecognized.

In 1980 the state passed a form of recognition and supported federal recognition.[1][2] The Miami of Indiana are seeking more formal recognition from the state. Opposition is associated with those who oppose Native American gaming casinos.


The headquarters of the group is located in Peru, Indiana. Enrollment in the nation is based on lineal descent, and applicants must be biologically connected to a current tribal member or to someone on the Indian rolls from 1854, 1889, or 1895.

The tribe has an elected government. Brian J. Buchanan is the Chief of the Miami Nation of Indiana.[3]


In 1826, the Miami tribe signed the Treaty of Mississinwas, agreeing to cede to the United States government most of their reservation lands held in Indiana by previous treaties. As compensation, the treaty also provided small private land allotments to the families of Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville and other notable Miami families, although the tribe had formerly held the land in common. The rest of the tribe was granted hunting rights on open land that was the property of the United States. Most of this land was soon parceled out to European-American settlers. In 1846, those Miami who held separate allotments of land were allowed to stay as United States citizens in Indiana. The remainder of the tribe was removed to reservations west of the Mississippi River, first to Kansas, then to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.

The divide in the tribe exists to this day, and the peoples have developed differently. Since the forced divide in 1846, the U.S. government has recognized the western Miami as the official tribal government. But, internal migration between the tribes has made it difficult to track affiliations and power for bureaucrats and historians alike.[4] Today, the western tribe is federally recognized as the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

The Eastern Miami (or Miami Nation of Indiana) has its own tribal government, but lacks federal recognition. Although they were recognized by the United States in an 1854 treaty, that recognition was stripped in 1897. In 1980, the Indiana legislature recognized the eastern Miami and voted to support federal recognition.[1]

In the late 20th century, Indiana US Senator Richard Lugar introduced a bill to recognize the Eastern Miami. He withdrew support due to constituent concerns over gambling rights. During this period, Native Americans were allowed to establish casinos on their lands in states that allowed Class III gambling. In recent decades, numerous federally recognized tribes in other states have established gambling casinos and related facilities on their sovereign lands.[5] Such establishments have helped numerous tribes generate revenues to devote to economic development, health and education.

On July 26, 1993, a federal judge ruled that the eastern Miami were recognized by the federal government in the 1854 treaty, and that the federal government had no right to strip them of their status in 1897. But, he also ruled that the statute of limitations on appealing their status had expired. The Miami no longer had any right to sue.[6]

The Miami Nation of Indiana is attempting to obtain formal state recognition from the State of Indiana with the introduction of Senate Bill No. 342.[7]

In January 2015 the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma decided to build a Cultural resources office in Fort Wayne, Indiana which will include providing services to tribal members who live in Indiana.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rafert, Stewart (1996). The Miami Indians of Indiana; A Persistent People 1654-1994. Indiana Historical Society. p. 291. 
  2. ^ "Miami Nation of Indiana". Miami Nation of Indiana. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Current Representatives". Miami Nation of Indiana. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Rafert, Stewart (1996). The Miami Indians of Indiana; A Persistent People 1654-1994. Indiana Historical Society. p. XXV. 
  5. ^ Rafert, Stewart (1996). The Miami Indians of Indiana; A Persistent People 1654-1994. Indiana Historical Society. p. 292. 
  6. ^ Rafert, Stewart (1996). The Miami Indians of Indiana; A Persistent People 1654-1994. Indiana Historical Society. p. 293. 
  7. ^ "Introduced Version, Senate Bill 0342". Indiana General Assembly. January 8, 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  8. ^ January 15, 2015

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