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The Urban American Indian Collective- FIND YOUR TRIBE!

RICHARDVILLE; The Head Chief of the Miami Tribe of the Indians, from The Aboriginal Portfolio 1835

Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville was the civil chief of the Miami Indians from 1816 until his death in 1841. He was born at the Miami village of Kekionga (Fort Wayne) about 1761 and was known by his Miami name, Peshewa ("the lynx," "the wildcat"), and later by the Anglicized version of his name, John B. Richardville


Jean Baptiste de Richardville (c. 1761 – 13 August 1841), also known as Pinšiwa or Peshewa in the Miami-Illinois language (meaning 'Wildcat' or 'Lynx') or John Richardville in English, was the last akima 'civil chief' of the Miami people.[1] He began his career in the 1790s as a fur trader who controlled an important portage connecting the Maumee River to the Little River (the present-day Little Wabash River) in what became the present-day state of Indiana. Richardville emerged a principal chief in 1816 and remained a leader of the Miamis until his death in 1841. He was a signatory to the Treaty of Greenville (1795), as well as several later treaties between the U.S. government and the Miami people, most notably the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1803), the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809), the Treaty of Saint Mary's (1818), the Treaty of Mississinewas (1826), the treaty signed at the Forks of the Wabash (1838), and the Treaty of the Wabash (1840).

Richardville and other Miami leaders were criticized for personally benefitting from their roles as tribal chiefs and treaty negotiators. However, their efforts successfully delayed for decades the removal of the Miami people to federal lands west of the Mississippi River and gained additional time to negotiate concessions and obtain the best prices available for Miami lands. Treaty provisions that they negotiated also allowed about half of the Miami people, including 43 members of Richardville's family, to remain in Indiana after the remainder of the Miamis moved west in 1846. Richardville also provided displaced Miamis in Indiana with a place to stay on the few hundred remaining acres of his property. Those who remained in Indiana were among the original 148 members of the Miami Nation of Indiana, which began on October 6, 1846. Over the years, some of Richardville's family members migrated to what became the present-day states of Kansas and Oklahoma, but many more of his descendants remained in Indiana.


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