Wrapping up the 50th Anniversary Part 2
Throughout 2022, the Miami Tribe celebrated the 50th anniversary of our community’s relationship with Miami University here in Oxford, Ohio. As we move into 2023, we wanted to reflect on the events, activities, and materials produced over the course of the year. If you haven’t read part one of Wrapping up the 50th Anniversary, we recommend checking it out to read all about the events on campus and in Miami, Oklahoma.
In this post, we’ll be focusing on four exhibits across Oxford and two publications published by Miami University meant to educate the local and campus community on the relationship.
In September 2022, Myaamia Heritage student, Megan Sekulich, worked with Myaamia Center affiliate, Dr. Stephanie Danker, to curate neepwaantiinki: learning through imagery in Miami University’s Art Building. This exhibit explored how imagery is used to share knowledge with both the university and Myaamia communities. The exhibit featured various logos, patterns, and art forms used by the Myaamia Center and the Tribe and explored how culture influenced those design choices. To learn more about Dr. Stephanie Danker’s work with the Myaamia Center on educating through imagery, read Bringing Myaamia Art to the Classroom.
The following month, in October, weeyaakiteeheeyankwi neepwaantiiyankwi: Celebrating 50 Years of Learning from Each Other, opened at the Oxford Community Arts Center in uptown Oxford. This exhibit, curated by the Myaamia Center and the Myaamia Heritage Museum and Archive, featured photography, contemporary art, and an exploration of the relationship between the Miami Tribe and Miami University. The exhibit featured work from Myaamia Center staff, Miami University staff, Myaamia Heritage students and alumni, members of the Business Committee, and many other community members.
During “Celebrating Miami: Tribe and University Week,” a special week of events to highlight and celebrate our unique relationship with the university, two receptions were held on campus that encouraged people to visit two different exhibits.
The first exhibit, Since Time Immemorial… The Place of the Miamis, co-curated by the Myaamia Center and co-hosted by the Walter Havinghurtst Special Collections in King Library, explores the history of the Miami Tribe and our relationship with our homelands. A special neewe ‘thank you’ to the Myaamia Center’s education outreach specialist, Andy Sawyer for his hard work putting this exhibit together. During the reception, Jarrid Baldwin from the Myaamia Center shared one of the oldest stories about Myaamionki ‘Myaamia lands’ with the audience by telling “The Coming Out Story” in both English and Myaamiaataweenki.
Later that same week, the Miami University Art Museum held a reception and awards ceremony for its student response exhibit Interconnected: Land, Identity, Community. This exhibit encouraged students to creatively respond to Miami’s 2022-2023 Focus Theme: Tribal Sovereignty. Interconnected was developed by both the Art Museum and the Myaamia Center. Four Myaamia Heritage students, Lela Troyer, Megan Sekulich, Eva Fox, and Kayla Becker submitted pieces exploring identity. You can read more about their artwork here.
Since the opening of the exhibit, visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorite works in the gallery. Kayla Becker, a sophomore Myaamia Heritage student placed third for her work niila myaamia – I am myaamia. During the reception, the Art Museum unveiled a land acknowledgment panel to be hung in the museum, publicly emphasizing the Art Museum’s commitment to its relationship with the Miami Tribe through community-curated exhibits and programming.
Before the anniversary year kicked off, Margo Kissel from Miami University’s newsroom wrote The Two Miami’s, a deep-dive into the history of the 50-year relationship between the Miami Tribe and Miami University. The publication details the growth, changes, and outcomes of the relationship. This publication was the cover story of the Fall/Winter 2021 edition of The Miamian, a Miami University magazine. The cover artwork of the magazine features work by Julie Olds, cultural resource officer for the Miami Tribe. Graphic via Miami University Alumni Association.
Finally, throughout 2022, a three-part series about the Myaamia people was published by Miami University with input from the Myaamia Center. wiikiami: home, myaamionki: the places of the Miami, and aahkohkeelintiiyankwi: we care for each other tell the story of the Myaamia people through our homes, places, and community.
As this year of celebration comes to a close, we hope you enjoyed reflecting on these events as much as we did. Celebrating this milestone was important to both the Miami Tribe and Miami University communities and we can’t wait to see what the next 50 years have in store for us.