2016 Myaamiaki Conference

The seventh biennial Myaamiaki Conference, which we hosted at Miami University, presented research and other topics related to the Miami Tribe. 

  • Theme: eempaapiikinamankwi kineepwaayoneminaani ("We pick up the threads of our knowledge")
  • Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016
  • Time: 9:00 am-4:00 pm
  • Location: John Dolibois Room, Shriver Center (701 East Spring Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056)

Note: In conjunction with the conference, a traditional Native American stomp dance was performed 8:30-11:00 pm in the Armstrong Student Center.

Presentation Schedule

9:15 am | Welcome and Opening Song

Presented by: George Strack, George Ironstrack, Jarrid Baldwin

9:30 am | eempaapiikinamankwi kineepwaayoneminaani (Picking up the threads of our knowledge)

Presented by: Daryl Baldwin, Director, Myaamia Center at Miami University

Presenter Bio

Daryl Baldwin is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and currently serves as the Director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He has worked with the Myaamia people developing language and cultural materials since 1995. Learn more about Daryl.

9:45 am | Introducing the Miami-Illinois Digital Archives and the Myaamia Online Dictionary

Presented by: David Costa, Myaamia Center, Director, Office of Language Research; Jarrid Baldwin, Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

Presenter Bios

Dr. David J. Costa is the Program Director for the Language Research Office at the Myaamia Center. He completed his Ph.D. in linguistics at U.C. Berkeley in 1994 with his dissertation on the Miami-Illinois Language.He has been studying the Miami-Illinois language since 1988, and has worked extensively with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma on language revitalization since 1995. He is a third-generation northern Californian and presently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and daughter.

Jarrid Baldwin is an employee of the Cultural Resource Office as the Community Language Program Coordinator. His work consists of creating and maintaining language programs within the Miami community with a focus on technology and its role in these programs. He graduated from Miami University in 2013 with a B.S. in Anthropology and began working for the tribe right after graduating.


The Myaamia Center has released two new tools to support our community's work in language research and education: The Miami-Illinois Digital Archive (MIDA) and the new Myaamia language dictionary app for iPhone and iPad. MIDA is a digital archive database designed to provide access and search capability, for both tribal linguists and community revitalizationists, to the two and a half centuries of documentation of the Miami-Illinois language . The dictionary app is designed to provide convenient access to the language for learners and teachers. This talk mainly describes the challenges of working with digitized archival materials and how MIDA has filled the software tool gap between archives, linguists and revitalizationists. The talk ends with a demonstration of the new dictionary app and a challenge to the audience to compete for prizes for those who use the app to translate Myaamia messages found in today's conference program.

10:15 am | Differences in Pre- and Post-Removal Myaamionki Ecology and Its Effects on the Myaamiaki

Presented by: Mike Gonella, Santa Barbara Community College

Presenter Bio

Dr. Mike Gonella has been working with the Myaamia community since 2001 when he began his Ph.D. research at Miami University. His professional and academic background includes native plant restoration with the Forest Service, agroecological work with indigenous communities in Guatemala and Hawaii, and supporting the restoration and conservation of culturally important plants of a number of indigenous communities in California.

He currently serves the Miami Tribe and Myaamia Center as a research associate aiding in efforts to restore and enhancing culturally important myaamia plants on tribal lands in Oklahoma and Ohio. While not working with the myaamia people, he is a professor of horticulture at Santa Barbara Community College, California where he lives with his wife and three daughters.


The ecology of myaamionki (myaamia lands) varies significantly between Indiana, Kansas and Oklahoma. Although there are commonalities between these bioregions there exist a dramatic differences in climate, vegetation, soils, and wildlife that made removal from Indiana a challenging adjustment for myaamiaki (The Myaamia people). For a culture and language that is deeply rooted in the landscape, these ecological differences necessitated changes to adapt to the new environment—particularly agricultural and dietary changes. In this presentation I compare the historic ecologies of pre- and post-removal myaamionki (1840-1880) and infer what these changes meant to those being removed, describe examples of adaptive technologies that evolved, and discuss how these ecological differences across myaamionki affect revitalization efforts today.

10:45 am | Validating the Impact of Picking Up Cultural Threads

Presented by: Susan Mosley-Howard, Professor and Myaamia Center Faculty Affiliate; Haley Strass, Iowa State University and Miami University Tribal alumna

Presenter Bios

Dr. G. Susan Mosley-Howard is Professor and Dean Emerita and faculty affiliate in the Myaamia Center at Miami University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Michigan State University, has Master's degrees from Xavier University (Ohio) (Counseling) and The University of Michigan (Educational Psychology), and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from The University of Michigan. She was a professor at Miami University for 32 years before retiring in June, 2015. She taught courses in counseling, human development, research methods and other areas of psychology and also served as a Dean while there. She has published many articles and books on topics in human development and learning and mental health; her most recent book Mental Health Practice in Today's Schools: Current Issues and Interventions by Springer Publishers (NY) was published in 2014 with colleague Raymond Witte. She is a certified instructor of Mental Health First Aid, an 8-hour training course designed to give members of the public key skills to help individuals facing a mental health problem or crisis. Dr. Mosley-Howard has served on school boards while living in the Cincinnati Ohio area and supported community programs focused on youth well-being. She and her husband have 3 adult children and now live in the Nashville area.

Haley Strass, a myaamia tribal member, is originally from Huntington, Indiana. As a child, she was a participant in the Eewansaapita summer camps and eventually transitioned into the role of counselor and later researcher. Haley attended Miami University for her undergraduate career, studying Psychology and Spanish (class of 2013) as well as participating in the Myaamia heritage class. She is currently a third year doctoral student at Iowa State University studying Counseling Psychology. Her research interests include identity formation in American Indian youth, influences of stereotypical media on social attitudes, and mental health stigma. She hopes to someday give back to American Indian communities as a true scientist-practitioner, combining research endeavors with clinical practice.


The journey of any individual or group is filled with experiences that impact and shape lives. Just as we attempt to record our life's journey with pictures, movies, journals or stories, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma has sought to record its language and cultural revitalization efforts. The Myaamia Center has been a part of that documenting process and this session will present some of the “lessons learned” regarding the impact of the Miami Nation's language and cultural revitalization efforts. The presenters will highlight observations obtained from a group of Miami tribal students attending Miami University, as well as more intently highlight the journey of one Miami tribal student in particular to illustrate the impact of tribal efforts.

11:15 am | Weaving Myaamia Culture: Creating Myaamia Space through Revitalization and Cultural Education

Presented by: Joshua Sutterfield, Miami University Tribal alumnus

Presenter Bio

Joshua Sutterfield is a citizen of the Sovereign Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Sherrie and Roger Sutterfield and his Myaamiaki ancestry includes mihšihkinaahkwa, neewilenkwanka, and the LaBadie family. He has three brothers and is a proud uncle of five nieces and nephews. He graduated Miami University with bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Comparative Religion and a master's degree in Geography. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Arkansas in the Anthropology department.

His research interests include cultural space and language use as performative tools for the expression of identity as they relate to the language and cultural revitalization and cultural education efforts of the Miami Tribe.


Through language and cultural revitalization certain “cultural threads” of the community web, or fabric, have re-emerged after forced removals, the loss of land and people, and colonization. Cultural threads are those elements that over time have distinguished Myaamia collective identity. Each thread is an aggregate in the larger web, or tapestry, of the Myaamia experience, and they play a role in collectively holding the community together. Individual Myaamia people can also use these threads to weave their own personal identity, which can be thought of as “cultural regalia.” When groups of Myaamiaki gather together to wear their resultant regalia they create cultural spaces; Myaamia spaces. I argue that it is in these spaces that Myaamiaki most fruitfully express, perform, and reinforce cultural identity. Myaamia space produces an environment in which Myaamia identity can easily be expressed and thereby reinforced. This paper examines how Myaamia space is created through the weaving of the threads of language in the public performance of the Myaamia language in a greeting ritual.

11:45 am-12:15 pm | Visit Presenter Tables

12:15-1:45 pm | Lunch (on your own)

2:00 pm | niwiinsooninaana: Utilizing Archival Documentation to Recover Traditional Names and Naming Practices

Presented by: Meghan Dorey, Archivist, Myaamia Heritage Museum and Archive

Presenter Bio

Meghan Dorey is the Manager of the Myaamia Heritage Museum and Archive (MHMA) at the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies. She joined the staff of the MHMA upon its opening in 2007.


As tribal members re-engage with their heritage language of myaamiaataweenki, interest in traditional names and naming practices has increased. These names are found in treaties, missionary journals, annuity payment rolls, government censuses and other records in repositories all over the country. This presentation will profile a project undertaken by the Miami Nation Cultural Resources Office to better understand the names recorded in archival records, and show how this understanding is assisting our community in re-establishing traditional naming practices.

2:30 pm | What is Myaamia Montessori Education?

Presented by: Tracy Hirata-Edds, University of Kansas; Jessie Seddelmeyer, Miami University Tribal alumna

Presenter Bios

Dr. Tracy Hirata-Edds earned her Ph.D from the University of Kansas' Child Language Program and is a Lecturer for KU'S Applied English Center. She partners with Native communities to enhance opportunities for culture and language learning/teaching, teacher training, and revitalization. Her interests include endangered languages, documentation, immersion, and language development.

Jessie Seddelmeyer is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and currently works as a program coordinator for the Eewansaapita Summer Youth Program during the summer helping to develop curriculum and materials. During the school year Jessie is a primary teacher in a Montessori classroom working with 3-6 year olds. Jessie is also a 2011 graduate from Miami University in 2011 with a BSEd in Early Childhood Education. As a child, Jessie grew up learning the Myaamia language and culture and is currently exposing her own child to similar experiences.


In the summer of 2015, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma launched the Saakaciweeta Program for five to nine year olds in order to provide language and cultural experiences for children too young to attend the Eewansaapita Summer Youth Educational Experience program. As a part of the ongoing efforts to develop the Saakaciweeta Program, staff have begun to explore how the Montessori Method might integrate well with the mantepyawi (lodge frame) of Myaamia educational values.

In this presentation, we will discuss cultural and linguistic components that we hope the children will experience at Saakaciweeta and detail how these experiences will echo, in a differentiated manner, what their older family members are enjoying at Eewansaapita. Additionally, we will depict a day in the life of a Montessori learner, highlighting aspects of the Montessori approach that rest nicely on the interwoven web of our shared Myaamia knowledge system.

3:00 pm | The Myaamia Tribute Project: A Collaboration of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University

Presented by: Bob Keller, Miami University, Student Advisory Committee

Presenter Bio

Robert Keller was the University Architect and Campus Planner at Miami University from 1989 until retirement in October 2012 where he served as the director of the Division of Planning, Architecture and Engineering overseeing long range capital planning and all phases of major construction for all campuses. In 2010 Mr. Keller was appointed to the position of Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Operations of the university when his responsibilities were expanded to include the management and operation of all utility systems, building maintenance, grounds, custodial services, and special facilities.

Mr. Keller remains active with public speaking engagements for Miami and as University Architect Emeritus specializing in campus memorial designs such as the Freedom Summer Memorial and interior art projects such as the Great Seal in the Armstrong Student Center.


Representatives from the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (MTO) leadership and Miami University (MU) have been working together on a project to create an outdoor tribute to the Miami Tribe on the Oxford Campus. This presentation will explain the origin of the project and the programmatic goals. The site selection process will be discussed as well as the design concept that has been developed over the past several months by a committee comprised of Myaamia Center staff, Myaamia/Miami students, MTO leaders and the MU Planning Architecture and Engineering staff. The presentation will follow the planning and design process through selection and placement of key design elements onto the site, the relationship of these elements to each other organizationally, creation of an overall site aesthetic, integration of important plant materials, cultural symbols, educational tools, and functional areas for outdoor classes, special events and informal gathering. Opportunities for field laboratory studies, expansion of the campus storm water management system, and long range planning for future phases will be shared with the audience.

3:30 pm | Closing Comments

Presented by: Daryl Baldwin, Director, Myaamia Center

Promotional Poster

2016 Myaamiaki Conference Promotional Poster, including speakers, conference information, and theme.