October 12, 1846 Cincinnati, Ohio
Content Warning: This post discusses how Myaamia people were discussed by the residents of Cincinnati and the local newspaper.
This morning, Myaamiaki disembarked from the canal boats. Many were still sick but probably glad to get off the boats. The Cincinnati newspapers reported that as Myaamiaki marched down Main Street, Cincinnati residents “saw a number of the women laughing and chatting with great vivacity, seemingly separating from the home without any regret.” How little they understood about what they were seeing. After a week on the canal boats, Myaamiihkwiaki ‘Miami women’ may have felt almost giddy to be able to walk on solid land again. They would not have been in a city like Cincinnati before and were likely amazed by that busy and noisy town with so many people, horses, and activity.
Main Street took them to the Public Landing. To Myaamia men, this was a familiar place that they knew as the Kaanseenseepiiwi ‘Ohio River.’ The older men would have remembered coming there to hunt and hearing their grandfathers tell stories of the glory days of crossing the Kaanseenseepiiwi to fight against the Mihši-maalhsaki ‘Americans.’ By 10 a.m., they were loaded onto the steamboat Colorado.
Every day, the Cincinnati newspaper included the shipping news, listing items that had come into the city by the canal and items leaving the city by steamboat. The shipping news for October 12, 1846 was very revealing.
The Daily Receipts from the Miami & Erie Canal that day included “…8 [barrels] Varnish, 2 Indian Ponies, Miami Indians 225 over and 78 under 8 years old, 49 perch Stone, 4 Pigs….”
The Shipments that day to St. Louis by the steamboat Colorado included “30 tons Dry Goods, 32 casks Government Stores, 350 Indian, with their Baggage.”
The steamboat Colorado had a passenger list, but Myaamiaki were not on it. We were listed with the dry goods and the pigs. It is obvious that we were cargo on these boats. We were not treated as or perhaps not considered human beings.
In the next installment, to be posted on October 13, we will begin to learn of the journey west on the steamboat Colorado.
Post written by Diane Hunter, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Diane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.