It’s a bit quieter at Miami University and Oxford this week, as most of Miami University’s students have left campus for summer break. As the staff here at the Myaamia Center transition into neepinwiki ‘summer’ and prepare for summer programs, we wanted to reflect on this past academic year.
This past weekend, on May 13, we hosted our final event on campus for the semester, a graduation celebration. We gathered outside the Myaamia Center with the 7 Myaamia Heritage Program graduates and their guests, to celebrate their accomplishments at Miami University and the Myaamia Heritage Program. Each graduate was presented with several gifts to celebrate and commemorate their time in the Myaamia Heritage Program at Miami University.
These gifts included a t-shirt designed by Julie Olds, Cultural Resource Officer, which is only available to Myaamia graduates of Miami University, as well as a wooden pakitahaakani ‘lacrosse stick’, made by Doug Peconge, Community Programming Manager for the Cultural Resources Extension Office. Finally, each student was presented with a graduation stole to wear with their graduation garb during the commencement ceremony. This stole is made by Karen Baldwin, Special Projects Manager at the Cultural Resource Office, and includes hand-sewn ribbonwork and metal buttons. Each stole is embroidered with the Myaamia Heritage Logo and several Myaamia phrases.
Photos by Karen Baldwin, Cultural Resource Office
During their senior year, each Heritage Program student works on a research project, which prompts them to use the knowledge gained from the program as well as their major or minor, to give back to the Myaamia community. In April, these students presented projects on healthcare, computer science, education, law, nutrition, and Myaamia clothing to Myaamia Center staff and fellow Myaamia Heritage Program students. If you don’t have a chance to chat with these graduates about their research, you can check out the Myaamia Center’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to learn more about each project.
Throughout the spring, the Myaamia Center hosted a number of workshops and cultural experiences for Myaamia Heritage Program students. Karen Baldwin led two workshops, teaching students how to make ribbonwork and ribbon skirts for stomp dance.
Jared Nally, the Myaamia Center’s Aanchtaakia Graduate Fellow, led a finger-weaving workshop where he shared knowledge about Myaamia weaving practices. Other events included the annual pancake breakfast to enjoy fresh Maple syrup collected and processed by Myaamia staff and students on Miami University’s campus, as well as a day to make buckeye necklaces to take a break from studying during the week of final exams.
In the Myaamia Heritage course, students spent the year learning Myaamiaataweenki ‘Myaamia language’ with Jarrid Baldwin, the Myaamia language coordinator. Student’s not only learned the language but explored Myaamia culture and how it influences our language. Students participated in several in-class immersion sessions throughout the semester to prepare for the final oral exam.
Many students will be joining us in noošonke siipionki ‘Miami, OK’ and kiihkayonki ‘Fort Wayne, IN’ this summer as counselors for the summer youth programs. While our seniors are saying šaaye ‘see you later’ to Miami University, we look forward to seeing them at community events in the future.
As the end of another busy school year winds down, we’re sad to see our students leave Oxford but looking forward to welcoming them back in the Fall!
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