Miami chief’s historic home poised to be dedicated

By Vivian Sade
Fort Wayne, Indiana (AP) April 2012

Local history buffs are excited about the upcoming dedication of the home of a rich and famous Miami Indian chief as a national historic landmark.

The home of Miami Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville was built in 1827 and was where numerous treaty negotiations between the U.S. government and the Miami Indians took place. In early March, the Fort Wayne site was named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, part of the Department of the Interior.

Mike Galbraith, executive director of ARCH, spoke Tuesday at the History Center, outlining how his organization spearheaded the movement to acquire the designation.

“The extraordinary lengthy process was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces,” Galbraith said.

There was an abundance of research that had already been done, he said, and more that had to be completed for the application.

Members of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma are hoping that a new national historic landmark in Fort Wayne will help spread their message that they are still a strong, vibrant people.

Directors of the Myaamia (Miami) Project at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, also spoke of the significance of the Richardville home. Daryl Baldwin, director of the Myaamia Project and George Ironstrack, assistant director and education coordinator, work together to restore, preserve, and maintain Miami language, culture and history.

Both said they hope the site will be a place where members of the Miami tribe will gather and learn of the sacrifices made by their ancestors.

“My people still call Fort Wayne home,” Baldwin said. “Perspectives and experiences may differ, but the story of (Chief Richardville) belongs to all of us.”