2020 Year End Wrap Up

COVID turns everything upside down

The year of Neehseehpineenki COVID-19 was full of tragedy and disruption. In addition to all the lives lost and sickened by this terrible disease, we also paid a serious price in our ability to gather together as Myaamia people. We were forced to cancel events like the Myaamiaki Conference and our National Gathering. Other constitutionally required events, like our Annual Meeting, had to be postponed and reduced in size. For our people, these cancelations and delays were no simple inconvenience. Because of the impacts of removal and allotment our people live mostly in diaspora and we depend on these events to enable us to come together and strengthen our community.

Two people wearing masks, sitting in lawn chairs in a large field.
Myaamia community members attending the 2020 General Council Meeting in Miami, Oklahoma.
Photo by Karen L. Baldwin

In the face of the tragedy of Neehseehpineenki COVID-19 we took the opportunity to be innovative and meet the educational needs of our community to the best of our ability. One place that we innovated was in the creation of new words to describe our challenging circumstances. A list of some of these terms with links to our online dictionary follows.

If you have not yet updated your dictionary app, please visit our Dictionary Update! post for instructions on how to set up the new ILDA Dictionary app.

2020 Summer Programs

In response to the challenges created by Neehseehpineenki COVID-19, our educators created an array of programs that could be safely accessed from all of our homes. Eemamwiciki Summer Programs moved to a Learning at Home model. Saakaciweeta (6-9 year olds), Eewansaapita (10-16 year olds), Maayaahkweeta (17-18 year olds), and Neehsapita (18+) all learned about Eeweentiiyankwi ‘We are Related to Each Other’ over a seven week period in June and July. You can find an archive of the Learning at Home materials on our Eeweentiiyankwi page. Offering learning opportunities to Myaamiaki no matter where we live is one of our major goals, and we remain committed to continuing to offer virtual summer learning opportunities even after we move beyond COVID.

Family names in a large oval connected together forming a web.
This web illustrates how each 2020 Eemamwiciki at Home Summer Programs family is connected to one another.
Image by Jonathan M. Fox


We also launched the Aatotantaawi Movie and Book club for Myaamia people to watch and read art produced by or about Native Americans and then discuss it in community Zoom video chats. Since launching, the Aatotantaawi group has discussed two movies and two books. The Aatotantaawi group also hosted two sessions of Winter Storytelling and discussion. Over the course of six events we’ve had wonderful conversations with over 100 participants! You can find Aatotantaawi on Facebook to learn more about how to join the group and participate in future discussions.

Coming up we have a discussion of Tommy Orange’s book There There on February 18, 2021 at 7:00PM (Eastern) and our last Winter Storytelling discussion of this winter on February 27, 2021 at 4:00PM (Eastern).

Announcement for the Aatotantaawi discussion of There There by Tommy Orange

Ribbonwork Exhibit at the Miami University Art Museum

Much to our sorrow, the Myaamia Ribbonwork exhibition at the Miami University Art Museum had to be shuttered in the spring before much of our community was able to visit. In response, we created a series of YouTube videos that serve as a guided tour of the exhibition and as a compliment to the Art Museum’s virtual exhibition. We also were lucky enough to have the assistance of Miami University’s eLearning staff, who created unique videos for each object in the exhibition. Those videos will be added to the Art Museum’s virtual exhibition as they are completed.

A close up of the ribbonwork and beading design on a pair of woman's leggings
Myaamia mitemhsa ataahsema ‘Woman’s leggings’, 1870-1880
Wool and silk with glass beads
National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 221942.000
Photo by Jonathan M. Fox

Looking ahead

As we move into a new year, we are looking forward to spending time together in any way possible. We are excited to continue with Aatotantaawi and the new events scheduled for 2021!

weehki-kihkatwe 2021

Join us February 12th and 13th for our Winter Gathering at Home!
We will be hosting a weekend of events via Zoom* this year beginning at 7pm ET.

Friday night will be our cultural education day with presentations on:

  • Myaamia Kiilhsooki ‘Lunar Calendar’
  • Removal Commemoration
  • Eugene Brown Memorial Art Show
  • Storytelling 101
  • Stomp Dance 101

And, as usual, Saturday will be our storytelling night. We hope you can join us!

For event information please contact Joshua Sutterfield: 918-325-0107, jsutterfield@miamination.com.

*For Zoom information and instructions contact Doug Peconge: 918-919-1484, dpeconge@miamination.com.

Announcement of the 2021 Myaamia Winter Gathering

Removal Commemoration

Over the next year, we will be remembering and commemorating our forced removal from our homelands in the Wabash River Valley. This October will mark 175 years since this momentous and tragic event began on October 6, 1846. The 1846 removal took nearly a month to complete, but the impacts of removal continue to be felt by all Myaamiaki no matter where we live today.

Meehkweelintamankwi Aanchsahaaciki ‘Remembering Our Forced Removal’, a year of remembrance and commemoration, will begin during our Winter Gathering at Home event and will continue with monthly activities through February 2022.  

We will feature educational opportunities, presentations, and events examining the history of this removal and its long-ranging effects. We hope that sharing knowledge about the Myaamia forced removal will create understanding and healing across our community. These efforts will help us see removal, not as a singular event in time that “ended” with arrival in Kansas. But rather as a great stone cast into our communal waters with ripples that have continued to move throughout generations. The repercussions of removal are integral in shaping our national identity today.

Based on subsequent research, the dates for Miami Land (Sugar Creek) should be November 4-5.
Map by Kristina Fox with annotations by Diane Hunter from George Strack, et al., myaamiaki aancihsaaciki: A Cultural Exploration of the Myaamia Removal Route (Miami, OK: Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, 2011), which was supported by a National Park Service Historic Preservation Grant (#40-09-NA-4047)

Pen Pal Program

A participant of the 2020 Eemamwiciki at Home Summer Programs requested a way to keep our youth connected to one another throughout the year. In response, we’re launching the Eemamwiciki pen pal program!

The program is open to community members ages 5 and older. We’re asking for a minimum of four letters over the course of a year; however, we’re encouraging pen pals to write as often as they would like! Eemamwiciki staff is providing monthly writing prompts beginning March 1, 2021 and all participants will have access to printable stationery.

Online applications are available now.
If you have any questions, please contact Kristina Fox at markskm@miamioh.edu.

An Eewansaapita participant working with her counselor
A 2019 Eewansaapita participant working with her counselor.
Photo by Karen L. Baldwin

Eemamwiciki Summer Program Virtual Art Exhibit

This year, we’re holding our first Eemamwiciki Summer Program Virtual Art Exhibit! Participants from all of our programs submitted work based on the theme Eeweentiiyankwi. Many of the pieces were shared during our Zoom Community Celebration and we want to make them available to all community members to celebrate all of the artists’ hard work. The exhibit will be launnching February 12, 2021. More information will be posted on Eemamwiciki’s Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

A wire, salt dough, and masking tape tree
“Wiikweehsimiši” by Josey C.
Photo courtesy of the artist

2nd Eugene Brown Memorial Art Show

Looking ahead to June 2021, the Myaamia Heritage Museum & Archives will be hosting the second Eugene Brown Memorial Art Show.  We encourage Myaamiaki of all ages to enter art of any kind! In conjunction with the Removal Commemoration programming described above, there will be a special theme award for artwork that ties in some way to removal. Adherence to the theme is not required, but we hope artists will take the opportunity to contemplate what removal means to them personally, and the continuing effects on our community and identity.  

Be sure to join us the evening February 12 for the Winter Gathering presentation for more details about application, categories, and divisions.  Also follow the MHMA on Facebook for updates and deadlines!

Outline of a turtle with cranes painted on it
The logo for the 2021 Eugene Brown Memorial Art Show is a variation of one of Eugene Brown’s original artworks.

2021 Summer Programs

The 2021 Eemamwiciki Summer Programs theme is ašiihkiwi neehi kiišikwi ‘Earth and Sky.’ We’ll be asking questions about the way nipi ‘water’ flows through everything and shapes our world in order to explore Myaamionki ‘the place of the Myaamia.’

While the Cultural Resources Office has not made a decision about the opportunity for face-to-face programming, we will be offering two, week-long learning sessions regardless of format. Session 1 will be held June 14-18 and Session 2 will be held July 12-16.

You can read more about this summer’s programming in our Eemamwiciki Summer Programs 2021 Dates post.

Participants and staff making funny faces for the camera.
Participants of the 2019 Saakaciweeta program in Fort Wayne, IN.
Photo by Karen L. Baldwin

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