Piankashaw Indians

From Ohio History Central

The Piankashaw (or Piankeshaw) were members of the Miami nation, although they lived apart from the Miami -- in far Western Ohio, and, by the 18th century, in the territory now comprising Indiana and Illinois. The United States referred to the Piankashaws as a separate tribe in the Treaty of Greenville. The Piankashaw, like the Miami, spoke an Algonquian language.

In the late 1700s and the early 1800s, the Piankashaw and the Wea worked closely together, oftentimes sharing the same villages. The Piankashaw did not play a major role in Ohio during the 1700s and the 1800s, but they were signatories for many treaties involving American Indian lands in the Ohio Territory. As tensions with encroaching Anglo-American settlers increased, many Piankashaw moved from their 18th-century home base in today's Vincennes, Indiana to Kaskaskia Illinois, or to Terre Haute -- strongholds for the Kaskaskia and Wea nations. By the early 19th century, the Piankashaws forfeited all claims to the land in what is now Ohio. The subsequently became affiliated with the Illinois Confederacy. After the Civil War, the majority of the Piankashaw -- along with the Kaskaskia and Wea -- were moved to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), and endured U.S. government attempts to dissolve communally-held lands and federal tribal recognition under the assimilationist policies of the Dawes Act (1887).

The Piankashaw, Kaskaskia and Wea nations are federally recognized as the combined Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma in 1939, after the passage of the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act (1937). The tribe faced dissolution of its federal status under aggressive federal recognition dissolution policies of the mid-20th century. However, the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma regained its federal recognition in 1978.

See Also


  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.