Written by Joshua Sutterfield
For the past several years, we have been looking for ways to bring our Eemamwiciki Summer Programs to our parents, caregivers, and other adults in our community. Many parents and caregivers had asked if they could get more information about the day to day programs their children were participating in and so we created orientation packets and a one day program where we came together to discuss the programs and the wants and needs of participants’ families. One of the outcomes from this orientation day was the desire of parents and caregivers to participate more in their culture. From this Neehsapita was born.
The Neehsapita program is our Summer Adult Educational Experience. The program gets its name from our language and means afternoon. This represents the continued learning we do as adults. Neehsapita is still in its infancy and we aim to have it add to our existing education programs and we look forward to expanding its curriculum.
The vision of Neehsapita is to create a space where Myaamia adults can come together to share and learn as a community. Each year we will focus on the themes of the other summer programs, with the hope that we foster more interaction between learners of all ages.
During the summer of 2019, we held our first pilot program of Neehsapita, our adult summer program, in Miami, Oklahoma. It was a week-long program with morning and afternoon activities. It may have been small, but I believe it was a success. Several parents and grandparents came together to learn about and discuss Myaamia culture. We practiced our greetings, we made ribbonwork inspired bookmarks, we painted Myaamia designs, and even toured the Geboe house where we were all regaled with stories about the place and people from elder Twila Coger. This impromptu storytelling revealed many facts about our Myaamia relatives that lived on and around the allotment property of David Geboe and for me highlighted the importance of Neehsapita. My only regret is that we did not record this spur of the moment history lesson.
In 2020, we faced the challenge of our inability to gather together physically. As with our youth programs, we switched to a learning at home format. Families were encouraged to work together to explore the theme: Eeweentiiyankwi ‘Myaamia Family.’ Many of our participants spent time learning about their close family, extended family, and ancestors. They also got creative and made a Myaamia family tree based on our cultural perspective on families.
I learned a lot about at-home learning last summer and with our programs once again being at home in 2021, I hope to expand my own knowledge on how this program can grow and get feedback from our community to better meet their wants and needs.
We invite you to join us and help develop this new and exciting program. More information about our summer programming is available on the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma website.