The Myaamia Center includes several offices, with differing areas of focus and staff support.


In order to carry out the mission of the Myaamia Center, the Office of the Director works with the collective talents and experiences of:

  • Myaamia Center staff
  • Miami Tribe’s leadership
  • Miami Tribe’s Cultural Resources Office
  • Miami University’s Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship

This is accomplished through planning, development and the execution of a wide range of programs, projects, and research initiatives carried out by the Myaamia Center offices.

Research and Development

Child Health and Indigenous Language Development

The Child Health and Indigenous Language Development (CHILD) working group is comprised of academic, professional, and community members from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds, including early childhood development, language acquisition, linguistics, public health, education, psychology, statistics, and indigenous studies, among others. Very little is known about how language learning and development progress in the unique contexts of marginalized, revitalization, and heritage language situations. We seek to encourage, empower, and recognize the positive actions and critical research that is occurring in these unique contexts.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF #1500720), Ruth Rouvier convened a working group which met to explore current research concerning young learners (ages 0-5) in these challenging language contexts. The initial goal was to consider how ongoing practices not only promote language (re)learning but also provide extra-linguistic benefits influencing social, emotional and physical well-being among young children, their families and communities. This meeting produced a white paper titled, “Language Documentation, Revitalization, and Reclamation: Supporting Young Learners and Their Communities,” which discusses existing research and practices, and recommends next steps to support community actions to maintain, restore, and reclaim their languages. Through this overview of existing knowledge, our group aimed to lay a foundation for future research to share and enhance the outcomes and benefits of language documentation and revitalization practice.

Additionally, one of the barriers we identified to pursuing this work is the limited opportunity to communicate and share research with allied researchers and practitioners across our diverse disciplines and professions. We are developing a variety of tools to address these challenges, including creating a bibliography of relevant literature and a listserv to support ongoing collaboration and resource-sharing. We are also planning additional future collaborative endeavors (e.g., meetings and research projects).

Myaamia Program Assessment

Language and culture revitalization is one crucial issue facing many First Nation communities today. The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma has undertaken revitalization efforts since 1996 by developing a wide range of community based educational initiatives including support for the development of the Myaamia Center at Miami University to assist in the development of tribal education.

A strategic goal of this revitalization movement is to reconnect the Myaamia people to their indigenous knowledge system.

This strategic goal is being achieved through a wide range of educational opportunities rooted in language and cultural learning. It is understood that the Myaamia language is the most effective and efficient means of communicating cultural knowledge.

After many years of observing significant positive outcomes at the community level, which are believed to be a result of language and cultural education, the Myaamia Center established an assessment team in 2012 to begin exploring the many factors that have shaped this effort.

The assessment team’s initial directive was to gather observational, interview, and survey data on the impact of the “Myaamia experience” on tribal students attending Miami University, tribal youth attending summer youth camps (eewansaapita), and tribal community engagement. These data are being used to not only chronicle the re-emergence of language and cultural revitalization but to also provide tribal leadership with tools to enhance the tribal experience itself.

To date, preliminary data gathered suggest an impact on increasing tribal engagement, enhanced academic attainment (higher retention and graduation rates), and an increased sense of tribal connection.

Related Publications and Information

"Niila Myaamia (I Am Miami): Identity and Retention of Miami Tribe College Students" in Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice

National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages

The Mission of the National Breath of Life (BOL) Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages is to help endangered language communities find and utilize their linguistic archival sources from archives located in the D.C. area.

The National Breath of Life Archival Institute developed in Washington DC to allow the extensive archival collections at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives (NAA) of the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the Library of Congress to be available to tribal communities. First organized in 2011, and originally partnered with the Endangered Language Fund, the current National Breath of Life planning team is spearheaded by the Myaamia Center at Miami University and the Recovering Voices Program of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

The National Breath of Life has been supported in part by the National Science Foundation Documenting Endangered Languages Fund grants #1160685 (2011), #1160685 (2013), #1360675 (2015), #1561167 (2017).

Related Publications and Information

National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages

Office Staff

Daryl Baldwin, Director
George Ironstrack, Assistant Director
Bobbe Burke, Executive Assistant
Elise Brauckmann, Administrative Assistant

Language Research

The mission of the Language Research Office is to continue to further our level of knowledge of the Miami-Illinois language. The research undertaken by this office supplements the cultural and educational initiatives of the Myaamia Center, feeding directly into the language and cultural programs undertaken by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Some of the specific educational projects to be undertaken by the Language Research Office include development of an online learner’s dictionary and teaching grammar of the Myaamia language. Additional results of the Language Research Office’s research are available to the tribal and general public.

Moreover, the Language Research Office will also make the findings of its research accessible to the linguistic community, specifically to the field of Algonquian studies. This research will be made available by continued print publications pertaining to aspects of the grammar of the Miami-Illinois language, as well as public presentations at the annual Algonquian Conference.

The current linguistic research goals of the Language Research Office include a database of the LeBoullenger Illinois dictionary, ongoing study of the word order, syntax and morphology of Miami-Illinois, and a full annotated collection of all native texts in the Miami-Illinois language. Longer-term projects include full grammatical analysis and comparative annotation of the data in the LeBoullenger dictionary, and possible inclusion of data from the other Illinois dictionaries. Also envisioned is a digitization of later sources on the Miami-Illinois language, such as the materials of Trowbridge, Gatschet, Dunn, and Michelson, with an eye toward making analyzed versions of this data available online.

A long-range project of the Language Research Office will be a comprehensive, annotated dictionary of the Miami-Illinois, including data from all sources and time periods, with comparative documentation placing the language within its context in the larger Algonquian family.

Finally, the Language Research Office will make itself available to help or train any members of the Myaamia community who wish to learn the language more extensively, or who wish to learn to do their own linguistic study of Miami-Illinois.

Research and Development

Miami-Illinois Digital Archive (MIDA)

A primary responsibility of the Language Research Office is updating and maintaining the data in Miami-Illinois Digital Archive (MIDA). Currently the entire eighteenth-century LeBoullenger French-Illinois manuscript dictionary is uploaded into MIDA; the Language Research Office is engaged in analyzing this data, with the other Illinois dictionaries expected to be added in the next few years. The ultimate goal of the Office is to enter the entire corpus of the Miami-Illinois language into this database, including the extensive manuscript sources from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with complete linguistic analysis and annotation. The purpose of this project is to make this vast amount of raw data maximally useful for both the Center’s language programs and linguistic research. The project of analyzing all the data in the original manuscripts as they are uploaded into MIDA is expected to continue for several years to come.

Grammatical research of Miami-Illinois

The Language Research Office is also continuing its ongoing linguistic study of Miami-Illinois. This especially includes continued research into the word order, syntax and morphology of Miami-Illinois, as well as the completion of a full annotated collection of all native texts in the Miami-Illinois language from the nineteenth- and twentieth-century manuscript collections.

Office Staff

Dr. David J. Costa, Director
Carole Katz, Language Document Transcriptionist

Education and Outreach

The Education and Outreach office develops educational models, materials, and programs that specifically address the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s language and culture educational needs. The office also coordinates the Myaamia Heritage Program for Myaamia undergraduates at Miami University who attend the university with the support of the Myaamia Heritage Award. This program includes a three-course series on Contemporary Issues and Sovereignty, History and Cultural Ecology, Language and Culture, and concludes with a two-semester long senior project.

The Education and Outreach office works with the general Miami University community by visiting classrooms and collaborating with professors who incorporate Myaamia language and culture into their courses. Support is also provided for K-12 educators throughout the Midwest by making Myaamia educational materials available to public educators in a variety of ways.

Research and Development

Eewansaapita and Saakaciweeta 2018 curriculum planning

The theme for 2018 is weecinaakiiyanki weecikaayankwi ‘we sing and dance together.’ Research and planning related to the theme is ongoing.

Telling Our Story: A Living History of the Myaamia

An interdisciplinary curriculum for 4th through 12th grades (public). This site in undergoing continued beta testing and is currently seeking to identify and respond to new educational needs related to Myaamia lifeways. This curriculum can be accessed at Teach Myaamia History.

keehkaapiišamenki: A History of the Allotment of Miami Lands in Indian Territory (Oklahoma)

Progress regarding the research and publications tied to this project can be found at and in Myaamia Center Publications.

A History of the Allotment of Miami Lands in Kansas

Research and writing for this project is ongoing with planned release in 2018

Language in the Home Initiative

Research and planning is underway for the 2018 launch of a pilot group for greater support of language learning in Myaamia homes.

Office Staff

George Ironstrack, Director
Kristina Fox, Education and Outreach Assistant

Cultural Ecology

The mission of the Cultural Ecology Office is to explore and interpret a Myaamia ecological perspective. This is accomplished through a variety of research initiatives that reclaim ecological understandings, practices, and knowledge that serve the Myaamia community today.

Myaamia ecological knowledge (MEK) is derived from many sources, including the vast historical and linguistic record, living community members, research outcomes, and directly from re-engagement in ecological practices. These combined efforts continually shape our understanding of our historic and contemporary connection to the many places Myaamia people call home. The outcomes of this work directly contribute to our ongoing educational program development within the tribal community. Youth language and cultural programs are typically embedded with MEK and are encouraged to practice culturally appropriate interactions with the land.

Current initiatives include:

  • Ethnobotany
  • Traditional foods and diet
  • Corn and other agricultural genetics research for preservation
  • Understanding sustainable environmental practices
  • Lunar calendar development and maintenance
  • Environmental and cultural education

Research and Development

Project updates coming soon.

Office Staff

Daryl Baldwin, Acting Director

Communications and Publications

The Communication and Publications Office develops the technological means by which research information and materials are distributed to the widespread Myaamia community. It also documents the Miami Tribe’s activities (through photography, videography, and publications of various formats) while assisting with the planning and execution of these activities.

Other ongoing projects include providing information technology support for the Myaamia Center and exploring technological aspects of language learning and culturally informative tools that can be used by indigenous people.

With such varied responsibilities and tasks, the Communications and Publications Office interfaces with the other offices of the Myaamia Center and Miami Tribe of Oklahoma in many interesting and often unexpected ways.

Research and Development

Recovering Voices Indigenous Digital Archive (RVIDA)

The RVIDA project, a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution’s Recovering Voices program, aims to to create a digital archiving tool that can be used by indigenous communities working to revitalize their language and culture from documentation. Our office continues to beta test this system.

Myaamia Dictionary (iOS, Android, Web)

The Myaamia language learning tools are currently in a solid state of function and reliability, but our office continues to improve and enhance these resources.

Miami-Illinois Digital Archive (MIDA) – maintenance, data entry, expansion of functionality

MIDA is currently being used by the Language Research Office to enter data from the various sources of documentation for myaamiaataweenki, the myaamia language. As more data is entered, more changes are needed to keep it running efficiently and better than it was before. We provide maintenance, data entry, and expansion of functionality to MIDA.

Office Staff

Jonathan Fox, Director
Chris Anderson, Graduate Assistant, Computer Science
Alexander Stahl, Graduate Assistant, Computer Science

Miami Tribe Relations

Miami Tribe Relations advances Miami University’s educational partnership with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Neepwaantiinki, meaning "learning from each other" in the Myaamia language, aptly describes the foundation of this multi-layered reciprocal partnership.

The Miami Tribe Relations office serves in the following capacities:

  • Connection for potential Myaamia students interested in attending Miami University and ongoing individual and group support for Miami Tribe students at Miami University.
  • Support beyond graduation to Myaamia alumni, encouraging lifetime connections with both Miami University and the Miami Tribe.
  • Acting as a "gateway" for interested individuals to learn more about and/or associate with the Miami Tribe. The intentional plan is to monitor the activities that are in existence as well as any new initiatives that may evolve into future projects with the Miami Tribe.
  • Making the broader University campus aware and proud of the unique relationship with the MIami Tribe.

See Miami Tribe Relations to learn more about for more information about the history of the relationship between the Miami Tribe and the University, including resources for student programming and support and campus activities.

Research and Development

Project updates coming soon.

Office Staff

Bobbe Burke, Director
Kara Strass, Miami Tribe Relations Graduate Assistant