October 31, 1846 On the Peekamiiki Siipiiwi ‘Missouri River’
Content Warning: This post discusses the death of Myaamiaki.
On October 23, we noted that Myaamiaki had spent the previous days mourning their dead – the Waawiyaasita piloohsa and the elder man named Ottawa. We came to understand that travel by water was not a good choice for them and that they likely did not happily board the Clermont No. 2, which would take them into a strange land. Little did they know that this leg of their journey would also increase their mourning.
We learn about the sad events from Toohpia ‘Francis LaFontaine’ in his November 1 letter to Allen Hamilton,
“My family and self have been sick - but are recovering - Two thirds of the Indians have been sick - There has been six deaths amongst my People, all children - to the exception of one: the name you have by my letter from St. Louis.”
Sadly, as Toohpia’s letter implies, four more children died during this week on the Peekamiiki Siipiiwi. The Waawiyaasita piloohsa and Ottawa had been buried on Bloody Island within their homeland at the western edge of Myaamionki ‘the land of the Miami.’ We do not know where in this strange land along the Peekamiiki Siipiiwi these children were buried, or if their relatives waited until their next stop in the Town of Kansas. We can only hope that they too were buried with the funeral words of the peekomaata, assisting them into the afterlife.
In the next installment, to be posted on November 1, we will see Myaamiaki disembarking for the last time at the Westport Landing.
Post written by Diane Hunter, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Diane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.