FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A piece of local history was formally recognized Saturday, as the former home of Miami Chief Richardville was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark.
Hundreds turned out for the ceremony and to get a peek into the home's history. The structure received the prestigious designation on March 2, 2012, but Saturday marked the formal dedication.
As the oldest building in Northeast Indiana, the Chief Richardville House is only the second site in Allen county to be named a National Historical Landmark. The other honor belongs to the Allen County Courthouse. The Chief Richardville House is now the 38th landmark in Indiana and one of only a few Native American landmarks in the country.
Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville was known as Pinsiwa in the Miami language, or "Wildcat." He lived in the home from it's construction in 1827 until he died in it in 1841. His legacy includes treaties that secured land and resources for the Miami Tribe amidst European expansion in Indiana, Kansas, and later Oklahoma.
As part of the 1826 Treaty of the Mississinewa, tribal leaders and the Miami people were given homelands on which to construct residences. Chief Richardville and his descendants lived on the property until 1908. In 1991 the History Center bought and restored the house.
Public tours have been offered since 2004, and on the first Saturday of each month from May to November the property hosts Miami Indiana Heritage Days.
In the Miami language, the home is called Akima Pinsiwa Awiiki and is the only treaty house left standing in the entire country. It once served as a place for hospitality, discussion, and wealth distribution.
Today it serves as a representation of what the Miami people have overcome and their continued work preserving the tribe's culture and heritage.
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