Myaamia Ribbonwork

A Brief History

Ribbonwork is a craft that emerged in the late 1700s when Myaamia people traded with Americans for silk ribbon. Using the silk, Miami women were able to create intricate geometric patterns.

Although the materials and methods of making the patterns were new, elements of the patterns pre-dated ribbonwork and can be found on older painted hides, tattoos, quillwork, and weaving, among other examples. Myaamia people used the ribbonwork to adorn clothing for special occasions for both men and women, especially leggings, skirts and moccasins.

Traditionally, ribbonwork would have been taught to one another by family members. While this is still considered the best way to learn a skill, it is not realistic for a community as geographically dispersed as the Myaamia.

Read our most recent posts about Myaamia Ribbonwork.

waawaahsinaakwahki ‘It Shimmers’

peepankišaapiikahkia eehkwaatamenki ‘Myaamia ribbonwork’ is an artform in which an artist layers, cuts, folds, and sews ribbons onto textiles to create intricate geometric patterns. The artform reached an initial peak of beauty and complexity in the mid-1800s, but by the early 1900s the practice of ribbonwork was in steep decline.…

Keep reading
Kara Strass with several ribbonwork projects in front of her on the table.

Mahkoonsihkwa’s Experience with Myaamia Ribbonwork

My journey with Myaamia ribbonwork started the same way that it has for many Myaamia people, through a community workshop about six years ago. Prior to the workshop, I had very little knowledge about ribbonwork and no idea how to make it, but I was excited to learn about this…

Keep reading

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Myaamia people, please check out these resources!

Myaamia Ribbonwork

Miami Tribe

Myaamiaataweenki ‘Miami Language’

Miami Tribe and Miami University Relationship

Last update: March 30, 2021