Native Chief Of The Mighty Miami Indians

Miami Chief Little Turtle was one of the last War Chiefs of the mighty tribes that lived in Indiana. He is known for being a great military strategist along with creating a confederacy of many different tribes to try to stop the encroachment of the Native Peoples lands of many generations.

It is said that Chief Little Turtle was around 6 feet tall and was known for his subtle nature along with his prudent handling of most circumstances that came into his life.

Let’s find out more about this man who lived and fought for his people. He encouraged the members of his tribe to abstain from drinking the alcohol of the the white settlers and he also tried to promote new farming techniques that could be learned from these curious people with the light skin. Perhaps he saw both good and bad in the people who would eventually take the land away from his people and the other indigenous peoples who had inhabited this continent for centuries.


Early History of Little Turtle

Miami Chief Little Turtle was born around 1747 near Devil’s Lake in what is now Whitley County, Indiana. The area is northwest of modern day Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Some sources say that he was called Little Turtle because his father was known as Turtle.

It is believed by many historians that Little Turtle’s mother was a Mohican but little is known of her.

Leader of the Miami Warriors

Little Turtle was not the main Chief or civil chief of the Miami people. Instead he was what is known as the War Chief or the chief military leader of the Miami Indians. He gained this position around 1790 according to most historians.

Up to 1790 the Shawnee, Delaware, and other displaced natives began to gather near the Miami villages at the head of the Maumee River which is near present day Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Little Turtle, Chief of Miami Tribe
Little Turtle, Miami Chief

A Native American Confederacy Led By Little Turtle

Chief Little Turtle, of the Miami, led a confederacy of Native Americans that defeated General Arthur St. Clair on November 3, 1791. The multitribe band of warriors were trying to keep the Americans off of the land that they had lived on for generations. The battle was fought at what was later to become Ft. Recovery which is now on the boundary line of Ohio and Indiana. Little Turtle, with the help of Blue Jacket, delivered a defeat to the U. S. Army that has since been deemed the worst defeat ever to be dealt by the indigenous peoples of North America. General St. Clair lost 602 men in the battle with another 300 wounded out of the 1300 soldiers he started with. The War Chief, Little Turtle, had 1000 warriors in his confederation of different tribes and only lost 66 men.

Although he became one of the most successful war leaders of his people and other tribes who joined with him, Little Turtle tried to keep peace for his people. The Miami Chief lost favor with the Native Americans as a whole when he signed the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. It was a very unpopular thing for him to do. The Shawnee and other tribes questioned his right to sell land to the white settlers, saying that it was not his to sell. He felt it was his land and also that it would protect further land from being taken by the white settlers. History shows us that he did in fact make the wrong decision because the Americans would eventually take all of the land.

Come sit in the circle of peace with Chief Little Turtle’s spirit and me. Let us know you stopped by with your comments.

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