As 2021 comes to a close, many of us will be looking forward to putting up our new Myaamia Lunar Calendars. You can learn more about Myaamia months and the ecological changes associated with them on our Ecology page. This post will give you a preview of the 2022 Lunar Calendar and provide a peek into some of the process of designing it.
This version of the Lunar Calendar has been in publication since 2010. Over the course of those 11 years, there have been many changes. As more resources and knowledge have become available to share with the community, things have been added to make them more easily accessible.For example, in 2019, the URL for the community blog was added below the days of the month to provide a quick way to find more information about the ecology associated with the lunar months. As the Tribe created new community events, those have also been added to the calendar. The 2022 edition will be the first to feature the new monthly events that will be held by the Cultural Resources Office throughout the year in Noošonke Siipionki ‘Miami, OK’.
Another update is that the title for the 2022 calendar has been changed! A new word specifically for “calendar”, kiilhswaakani, was created by community request. Myaamiaataweenki ‘Myaamia language’ continues to change and adapt, and the addition of this word to the calendar demonstrates this growth. Kiilhsooki can still be used to refer to the calendar, as it’s a reference to lunar months. So don’t worry, either word is correct!
Not all changes are as immediately obvious. The creation of the actual structure of the lunar calendar now uses a standardized template, but this wasn’t always the case. This template can be added to, changed, or adapted to meet the needs of the upcoming year’s calendar. A very helpful result of this is that adding or removing Waawiita Kiilhswa ‘Lost Moon’ is now a quick and easy step. Previously, a completely different template needed to be used for the 13-month years. Bringing more graphic design talent to the design and construction of the calendar allowed us to make this shift, and make the process much more straightforward.
Once the layout of the calendar is complete, it’s time to choose the photos. In an ordinary year, the selection of photos is a challenging process. The photography team begins by compiling dozens of their best photos from the previous year’s community events. Then, the team critiques their selections and identifies the top choices to appear in the calendar. The challenge mostly comes from the photographers being pretty harsh critics – particularly of their own work!
The 2021 and 2022 Kiilhswaakana ‘Lunar Calendars’ were even more challenging for the selection of photos because of the lack of in-person community events to photograph. The photography team made use of material that wouldn’t normally be used for this publication to fill out the selection. There was a real positive result from this, because as it turns out, people really enjoy the art, nature, and other sorts of “artistic” pictures that were used. For the 2022 calendar, we also introduced the use of designed spreads, sort of like mini-collages. These add an additional interesting element to the calendar, and allow us to use multiple photos on the same page to really focus on a particular topic. The picture below is one example, used to highlight the 50th anniversary of the relationship between the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University, which occurs in 2022.
After all these elements are brought together, the lunar calendar team produces several drafts. These drafts are inspected by a wide range of people, looking for anything from photographic issues to typos. Once the drafts have been thoroughly reviewed and a few rounds of revisions are applied, the calendar is ready to go to print and then be mailed out to the Myaamia community.
As a member of the lunar calendar design team, my favorite part of the process is seeing Myaamia Kiilhswaakana in various Myaamia people’s homes and at community events. The look on a person’s face when someone they love or an event they enjoyed is featured is truly priceless. It’s those sort of moments that motivate our team to always push to make the calendar better, and we hope to keep improving on it for years to come.