Episode 372: John Bickers and Diane Hunter, A History of the Myaamia

Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Early America was a diverse place. A significant part of this diversity came from the fact that there were at least 1,000 different Indigenous tribes and nations living in different areas of North America before the Spanish and other European empires arrived on the continent’s shores.

Diane Hunter and John Bickers join us to investigate the history and culture of one of these distinct Indigenous tribes: the Myaamia. At the time of this recording, Diane Hunter was the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. She has since retired from that position. John Bickers is an Assistant Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Both Diane and John are citizens of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and experts in Myaamia history and culture.‌

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of Colonial Williamsburg Innovation Studios.‌

Episode Summary

In this episode, we speak with two guests. John Bickers is an assistant professor of History at Case Western Reserve University. He’s an expert in the history of early America and the history of the Myaamia Tribe. He’s also a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. John is working on his first book, which is tentatively titled “The Miami Nation: A Middle Path for Indigenous Nationhood.”

‌We are also joined by Diane Hunter, who at the time of this recording worked as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. She is also a citizen of that tribe. Before she retired, her work as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer involved preserving and protecting historic sites and resources, providing education about the presence and history of the Miami people, and serving more than 1,200 Tribal citizens in Indiana.

During our investigation, John and Diane reveal what we know about the history and origins of the Myaamia people before European contact; Details about the Myaamia’s ancestral homelands and the different elements that make up Myaamia culture and identity; And, how contact with Europeans and Americans has altered Myaamia culture and their relationship with their ancestral homelands.‌

What You’ll Discover

  • ‌Myaamia culture pre-contact
  • Myaamia government pre-contact
  • Where the Myaamia ancestral homelands are located
  • Elements that make up Myaamia identity
  • Myaamia language revival
  • The Beaver Wars
  • The Myaamia relationship with its Indigenous neighbors prior to the Beaver Wars
  • The impact of the Beaver Wars on Myaamia culture
  • The 1701 Peace of Montreal
  • The Myaamia’s role in the American War for Independence
  • The Northwest Indian War
  • The 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers
  • Myaamia displacement

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Complementary Episodes

Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, what might have happened if the Miamia people had never become involved with Europeans. How might Myaamia history have turned out differently?

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