Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Tyler Boulware

Committee Co-Chair

Kenneth Fones-Wolf

Committee Member

Amy Hirshman

Committee Member

Joseph Hodge

Committee Member

Michelle Stephens


Maopewa iati bi is a Tutelo translation of William Byrd's eighteenth century quote "To abandon so beautiful a Dwelling." The quotes sets the stage for this examination of the indigenous landscape history of the eastern half of the Middle Ohio River Valley. The region, or Okahok amai, was the homeland of Siouan speakers, but passed from Siouan control into Iroquoian and Algonquian hands around turn of the eighteenth century. Not long afterward Indians, pressured by British and French citizens and governments, were forced to again fight to maintain their hard won new homes. By the middle of the eighteenth century, control and access had begun to shift to the growing number of European settlers gaining a permanent foothold in the former Okahok amai..;Residents of the Okahok amai were adept at adapting to ever-changing social circumstances, but they also adapted to economic and environmental processes as well. The environment played a large role in the process of the many diasporas from and through the Middle Ohio Valley. These diasporas stemmed from seventeenth-century demographic and environmental crises, or shatter zones, but also connected the remaining residents to communities across the entire eastern half of North America. These kinship connections became important avenues for survival during the early eighteenth century. Whether Monyton, Tutelo, or Shawnee, the Wahtakai, or Indians as the English referred to them, also remained connected to the former Okahok amai..;Maopewa iati bi also challenges many of the myths of the Ohio region, especially the one that refers to the region as merely a "common hunting ground." While outlining the complicated history of Wahtakai in the Okahok amai beginning in the sixteenth century, my research deconstructs the history of the misunderstandings of the "hunting ground" culturally, geographically, and temporally. This alters and complicates the indigenous cultural landscape assumptions of Seven Years' War historiography when the Ohio enters the colonial consciousness.;The story of this part of the Ohio Valley has been obscured through time but has been carefully reconstructed to show that the historical, cultural, and political importance of this region for indigenous peoples was much deeper and more complicated than previously thought.