October 23, 1846 Leaving Bloody Island
Content Warning: This post discusses the death of a child and an adult
After Myaamiaki had spent three days on Bloody Island, mourning their dead – the Waawiyaasita infant and the elder man named Ottawa, the Removal contractors procured the steamboat Clermont No. 2 to take them west on the Peekamiiki Siipiiwi ‘Missouri River.’ Although these had been a difficult three days on the sandbar, Myaamiaki must still have been sorry to get on another boat. We can understand a bit of how they felt as we read from the letter Toohpia ‘Francis LaFontaine’ wrote on November 1 after disembarking from the Clermont No. 2, “It would have been much better – if my people had moved by land – moving by water does not suit – the habits of my people.” The Removal contract had specified that Myaamiaki were supposed to be removed by land. The contractors made the decision to take canal boats and steamboats in late September. Toohpia clearly saw that it was a bad last-minute decision.
Bloody Island was located at the very western edge of Myaamionki ‘the land of the Miami.’ The Clermont No. 2 would now take them out of their homelands and into strange, unknown, and possibly dangerous territory. Their only source of comfort may have been the knowledge that their new reservation was close to their Waayaahtanooki (Wea) and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankeshaw) relatives who could help them.
While Myaamiaki were unhappily traveling on the Peekamiiki Siipiiwi, we will look at who was on these boats. In the next installment, to be posted on October 24, we will see the list of Myaamiaki who were on Removal.
Post written by Diane Hunter, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Diane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.