naanoohkite neepanki ‘It’s getting gradually cooler’

Two weeks ago, the Myaamia community in the area around Kiihkayonki ‘Fort Wayne’ gathered at the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s new Cultural Resource Extension Office. We enjoyed lunch together followed by a presentation by the Miami Tribe’s Business Committee, which updated the community on what the tribe has accomplished over the past year.

Players in a huddle raising their lacrosse sticks in the air
Photo of lacrosse game from CREO 27 šaašaakayolia kiilhswa/Sept 24, 2022. Photo by Jonathan M. Fox

After the presentation, the community gathered on the pakitahamahki ‘Lacrosse field’ for one of the last games of the year. The game was full of good competition and a lot of laughter. It was a great way to celebrate coming together as Myaamiaki. The day was beautifully sunny and slightly cool. The weather reminded us all that neepinwiki ‘summer’ would soon be coming to an end.

As we move through the end of Šaašaakayolia Kiilhswa ‘Grass Burning Moon’ and into Kiiyolia Kiilhswa ‘Smokey Burning Moon’ we usually experience increasingly strong teekwahkahki ‘frost.’ Eventually, we will experience the killing frost which sends plant life into dormancy and marks the beginning of peepoonki ‘winter.’ This period of gradually cooling weather followed by progressively stronger frosts is called teekwaakiki ‘fall’ in Myaamiaataweenki. During this period of time Myaamia people continue to harvest fall fruits and nuts. However, teekwaakiki is not viewed as a separate season but instead a transitional period between neepinwiki ‘summer’ and peepoonki ‘winter’ in the Myaamia seasonal system.

Myaamia seasons wheel
Seasonal wheel shows the two seasons: peepoonki on the top colored black and neepinwiki on the bottom colored blue.
On the left in red you see teekwaakiki ‘fall’ as a zone of transition between the two seasons. The line in the middle of teekwaakiki marks teekwahkahki ‘frost’ (specifically the killing frost). On the right in yellow you see meeloohkamiki ‘spring’ presented as another zone of transition between the two seasons. The line in the middle of the meeloohkamiki marks ciinkwia ‘thunder’ (the first thunderstorm of the year). Art by Megan Sekulich

Our fall gathering on our lands in Kiikayonki was full of feasting, peekitahaminki, plenty of visiting, and was capped off by a community stomp dance. It was great to gather as Myaamiaki and celebrate everything that we had accomplished over the year and give thanks for what we have as a people. While it will be bittersweet to put up our pakitahaakana ‘lacrosse sticks’ when peepoonki begins, we do so in the knowledge that ciinkwia will return and soon we will be running and chasing and laughing together on the pakitahamahki ‘lacrosse field’ again.

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