Miami - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Miami religion centered around Individual and group attempts to gain power from spirits known as manitous. The Miami believed that manitous roamed the world and could take the form of humans, animals, and Perhaps even plants or nuts. The source of the manitou's power was known as the kitchi manitou and was often equated with the sun, although the kitchi manitou was apparently not considered to be animate. From youth, women and particularly men were instructed to seclude themselves, fast, and try to contact a manitou in a dream. Once contacted, a manitou became the individual's guardian spirit, giving the person power in return for respect and sacrifices. Feasts were given and public and private sacrifices of food or tobacco were made to gain power from or appease specific manitous.

Religious Practitioners. Shamans were considered to be closer to manitous than ordinary people and could gain power from them either to heal or to kill. Shamans also participated in the Midewiwin and in unabashed displays of their strength: they would fight and kill each other using supernatural power to throw bones, shells, and other charmed objects into the adversary and then try to bring the dead back to life.

Ceremonies. The Calumet Dance was held to gain power from manitous, usually before going to war. It provided a means to publicly offer tobacco to manitous by the members of a raiding party. The calumet was a stone pipe with a long wooden stem, decorated with paint and feathers. Members of the raiding party would make the calumet "dance" in their hands and then smoke it and offer the smoke to a manitou. "Striking the pole" was also done by members of a raiding party. Each would strike a post with his hatchet or war club, and relate a tale of his own bravery, dancing between the tales. Feasts were also given for manitous, particularly before going to war. There were two types of feasts: one, which was a simple dinner with speeches and dancing rituals, and another in which all the food, frequently in copious amounts, had to be consumed before the feastgoers could leave.

Arts. Miami men were tattooed head to foot, and women were tattooed on their arms, face, and chest. The Miami used paint or painted porcupine quills to decorate their clothes and shoes. Music and song accompanied dances, and dance was probably considered both a form of entertainment and a way of showing respect to a manitou.

Medicine. The Miami employed a wide variety of plant materials in making remedies for common ailments, which apparently provided effective treatments for cuts, fractures, and even arrow and gunshot wounds. Shamans were called in if these remedies failed. The shaman healed by using his Supernatural power to expel or pull illness out of an individual. Often this illness was embodied as a small bone or shell which the shaman pretended to physically suck out of the sick person.

Death and Afterlife. Ritualized lamentations and weeping accompanied a friend's or relative's death, and women whose husbands died were required to follow a number of strict taboos. The body of the dead individual was cleaned and decorated, wrapped in skins, and placed on a scaffold or in a tree, sometimes with small presents or food. After the interment a game might be played or a dance performed that the Individual had particularly liked, but the body was apparently not visited again. The Miami believed that upon death Individuals enter another world, where they find themselves walking down a road. The dead are tempted as they walk, and they must cross several obstacles before reaching a beautiful Country where there is great abundance and everyone is happy.

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gray gray
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Aug 26, 2013 @ 12:12 pm
this is a good information for a project I HAVE a fun time doing projects
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Oct 16, 2013 @ 9:09 am
your website is helping me with my school work we are working on the miami indians you have wonderfol info and im getting all my info from this website
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Oct 22, 2013 @ 5:17 pm
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Nov 21, 2013 @ 12:12 pm
This helps a lot love this website more than me I love every culture
Valanceia pointer
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Feb 14, 2014 @ 8:08 am
Need more info great info but I need to know more on their traditions
kyla s
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May 12, 2015 @ 10:10 am
i think this is a good website for kids for school
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Jul 14, 2015 @ 10:10 am
So, what happens after they die, if they do not complete their journey to the other side?
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Nov 3, 2015 @ 9:21 pm
I Have To Do A Native Americans Project And I Did The Miami And This Helped Me S o Much!
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Nov 10, 2015 @ 5:17 pm
it helped me alot because i am doing an essay on miami indians so thank you very much
Kellie Fuqua
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Sep 23, 2017 @ 12:00 am
I am a member of the Miami tribe of Indiana, quite diluted bloodline but all Indian in my heart. Maconaquah is my 5th great grand mother. Have always been drawn to all Miami history.
Elizabeth Rivera
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Jan 18, 2018 @ 9:09 am
I got a project on the Miami and this was a lot of help
alaina sleeper
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Jan 30, 2018 @ 12:12 pm
what is the culture of the miami native american tribe of michigan?
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Aug 20, 2018 @ 9:09 am
WONDERFUL INFo Thank you everyone. love you all. can't wait for winter. Erica needs to read this article. It's CRAZy
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Aug 21, 2018 @ 9:09 am
I loves this article so much thank you so much Chelsey for telling me to read this i also cant wait for winter
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Oct 22, 2018 @ 8:08 am
omg thanks this is helping me with my project so much
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Dec 5, 2018 @ 9:09 am
This is helping me a lot. Thanks for the informative article!!!
Princess of the Shadows
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Dec 12, 2018 @ 7:19 pm
I got the Miami Indians and now, thanks to this article, I bet I'm going to pass!
firestar luvs u
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Dec 16, 2018 @ 4:16 pm
I have to do a PowerPoint presentation on the Miami Indians and now I have a chance of passing!
Larry Newman
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Jul 30, 2019 @ 6:18 pm
Are the traditional shaman practices still preserved and practiced today?

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