Cecaahkwa Kiilhswa ‘Sandhill Crane Moon’ is the third lunar month of Myaamia Kiilhsooki ‘Miami Lunar Calendar.’ Like the other months named for birds, Cecaahkwa Kiilhswa is associated with the process of transition from peepoonki ‘winter’ into neepinwiki ‘summer.’ The month is named for cecaahkwa ‘Sandhill crane (grus canadensis).’
Around this time of year, cecaahkwaki ‘Sandhill cranes’ return from their winter nesting grounds in, what is today, the state of Florida. Historically, some cranes nested in our traditional homelands along the Wabash River Valley and some traveled to other nesting grounds throughout the Midwest. This moon marks an important moment of return, rebirth, and renewal for an animal that is closely associated with Myaamiaki ‘Miami people’. Delaware and various Iroquois speaking peoples, who originally lived to our east and south, referred to the Myaamia as the “Twigh Twee” after the call of the Sandhill crane.
In the past, Myaamiaki would mark the edges of our lands by blazing the head of cecaahkwa into trees along major trails. In 1701, a Myaamia leader signed a treaty with this very symbol. Cecaahkwa remains a powerful symbol of Myaamiaki and can still be found on the tribal seal of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.