2022 Myaamiaki Conference

2022 Myaamiaki Conference Banner

Welcome to our biennial conference where we present to the general public our ongoing activities that support the revitalization of Myaamia language and culture. Our conference is a great way to learn about a wide range of research projects that are underway and the educational initiatives we continue to develop.

The 2022 Myaamiaki Conference was a part of the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the relationship between the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University. This unique partnership is expressed through a shared commitment to neepwaantiinki, ‘learning from each other,’ which has played a key role in the Miami Tribe’s language revitalization efforts that have led to the first generation in nearly 100 years learning to speak the Myaamia language.

The Myaamiaki Conference took place on the following dates and times,  and at the listed location. Please contact us with any questions.

  • Date: Saturday, April 9, 2022
  • Time: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • Location: Fritz Pavilion - Armstrong Student Center, 550 E Spring St, Oxford, OH 45056

The live stream for the Myaamiaki Conference was broadcast on the Miami University Alumni Association's Love.Honor.Learn platform. The live stream can also be viewed on the Miami University Alumni Association's YouTube page. You can view the virtual attendance packet here.

Presentation Schedule

9:00 a.m. | Introduction and Opening Song

Performed by Haley Shea, Kara Strass, Kristina Fox, George Strack, George Ironstrack, and Jarrid Baldwin

 

9:15 a.m. | Opening Remarks

Daryl Baldwin, Executive Director, Myaamia Center at Miami University

Biography

Daryl BaldwinDaryl Baldwin is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He has worked with the Myaamia people developing language and cultural materials since 1995. Learn more about Daryl.

Video Introduction

Presentation Video

9:30 a.m. | National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages: From Paper to Talk

Dr. Gabriela Pérez Báez, Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department, University of Oregon

Jerome Viles, National Breath of Life Workshop Coordinator, Myaamia Center

Biographies

Gabriela Perez-BaezDr. Gabriela Pérez Báez is an Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department at the University of Oregon. She is the Director of the Language Revitalization Lab and works closely with the Northwest Indian Language Institute. Gabriela is Co-Director of the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages alongside Daryl Baldwin. Gabriela served as Curator of Linguistics at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and in its Recovering Voices initiative. Her research centers on revitalization practices around the world. In her native Mexico, Gabriela works with Zapotec communities and has published on migration and language vitality, verbal inflection and derivation, semantic typology, and language and cognition. Gabriela is the compiler of two dictionaries of Isthmus Zapotec within a participatory and interdisciplinary model. She holds a doctorate in linguistics from the University at Buffalo.


Jerome VilesJerome Viles (Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Chee-me’, Lower Chinook) is the National Breath of Life Workshop Coordinator. He was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon where he lives with his partner and child. Jerome has been engaged in language revitalization efforts for his ancestral languages of Nuu-wee-ya’ (Oregon Dene) and Chinuk Wawa for nearly a decade. He received a B.A. in Linguistics and a M.A. in Nonprofit Management, both from the University of Oregon to aid in his language revitalization work.

Jerome specializes in archival language research and works with members of his family and community to bring language from archives back into daily use. Since 2016, he has worked as part of a team at the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) to build a digital archive of Nuu-wee-ya’ archival language materials. These efforts have been supported through partnership with the Myaamia Center. This partnership resulted in his team’s creation of the Nuu-da’ Mv-ne’ Digital Archive hosted on the Myaamia Center’s Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA) platform. Jerome is currently with the Myaamia Center as the Breath of Life Workshop Coordinator working to provide ILDA to other Native American communities engaged in archives-based language revitalization.

Abstract

Since 2011, the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages (NBoL) has provided training to tribal communities engaged in archive-based language revitalization. Through a series of workshops, participants learn how to navigate archives in the D.C. area to locate and acquire digital copies of important language materials they may use for their community directed revitalization efforts. In 2015, the Myaamia Center became the institutional home for National Breath of Life in order to provide long-term stability and development to the program. Today, NBoL is the only nationally focused program housed in the Myaamia Center to advance the work of archive-based revitalization.

A major development of this program is the recent launch of the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA) software developed through the Myaamia Center. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, ILDA was piloted in summer of 2019 here on Miami University’s campus. Five tribal research teams acquired copies of ILDA along with training to begin setting up their community language archives. Community Research teams are now able to house their once dispersed and inaccessible archival materials to build new digital language archives to support their revitalization efforts.

To date, NBoL has trained 124 community researchers from 55 language communities. The vision for NBoL is to continue ongoing development that supports the indigenous language revitalization movement by providing communities with techniques, tools, and expertise to support their work. In pursuit of this vision, the Myaamia Center welcomed Jerome Viles (Siletz) as the new National Breath of Life Workshop Coordinator in January 2020. Jerome is a member of the first team to pilot ILDA by building the Nuu-da' Mv-ne' Digital Archive for his ancestral language, Nuu-wee-ya' (Oregon Dene). Through his position, he will share his knowledge of ILDA and experience in digital language archive building with NBoL Community Research teams . Future plans for NBoL include broad dissemination of ILDA, continued support for ILDA users, and advanced training in archival-based language revitalization. 

National Breath of Life workshops have been significantly supported by the National Science Foundation’s Documenting Endangered Languages Program (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017) and the National Endowment for the Humanities: Digital Humanities Advancement Grant Level III (2019, 2020)

Video Introduction

Presentation Video

10:15 a.m. |  Aacimwahkionkonci: Stories from the Land

Dr. Cam Shriver, Research Associate, Myaamia Center, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History at Miami University

Dr. Douglas Troy, Coordinator of Application Development, Myaamia Center at Miami University

Biographies

Dr. Cameron ShriverDr. Cam Shriver is a Research Associate at the Myaamia Center and Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department at Miami. He researches Myaamia reserves and land transactions in nineteenth-century Indiana and Ohio, and periodically writes on the Myaamia Community Blog, ‘aacimotaatiiyankwi.org.’ His research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society and National Endowment for the Humanities, and he has held fellowships at the John Carter Brown Library, the Newberry Library, and the Huntington Library. In addition to his work on Myaamia real estate, his current book project analyzes intelligence-gathering practices among Miami-Illinois and imperial communities—French, British, and American—in the eighteenth century. Dr. Shriver completed his PhD in history at Ohio State University in 2016. He teaches Native American History and “Introduction to the Miami Tribe” at Miami University.


Dr. Douglas TroyDr. Douglas Troy serves as the Coordinator of Application Development in the Myaamia Center and as a Software Developer for the National Breadth of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages.  As such, he directs the development of a variety of software tools to support archive-based language and culture revitalization including the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA), Aacimwahkionkonci ‘Stories from the Land’, the Myaamia online dictionary and mobile apps, and the National Breadth of Life website. He oversees a software development team of graduate assistants from Miami’s College of Engineering and Computing where he is Professor Emeritus.  Prior to his current role he served as Associate Dean in the College of Engineering and Computing, as Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering and was a tenured professor in the department. Doug has over 40 years of experience in the research and development of software.

Abstract

Our research on allotment and reservations across the Indiana, Kansas, and Oklahoma homelands has benefitted from many years of research and mapping. Now, the Myaamia Center has entered a new phase aimed at collecting and interpreting the diverse events, people, and places that weave together the peoples’ past and presence in Myaamionki. This project, called Aacimwahkionkonci, or “Stories from the Land,” will help revitalize the historical connections between the Myaamia people and their heritage lands. This will be accomplished by building a web-based educational and historical reference site incorporating a wide range of primary archival sources relative to Myaamia land holdings, including Myaamia reservation and allotment research data collected over nine years and spanning over 100 years of tribal land transactions. The resources used in this project include the rich archives of Myaamia land holdings and transfers from Indiana, Kansas and Oklahoma, treaties and associated records from national archives, oral histories collected by the Myaamia Center since 2001, and complex genealogical information woven through land transfers over time. By bringing together these archival resources from various locations by means of digital technology and a mapping platform, we are creating a unique opportunity to learn about the Miami Tribe’s complex history of location and relocation. GIS technology offers the ability to spatially organize these resources, thus allowing the public to explore the Myaamia people’s historical and contemporary connections to places over time. We will explain this digital storytelling platform, its current progress, and ask for community input about its future directions and possibilities.

The Aacimwahkionkonci ‘Stories from the Land’ has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor

Video Introduction

Presentation Video

11:00 a.m. | Mahkihkiwa: Myaamia Ethnobotanical Database

Dr. Michael P. Gonella, Chair & Professor of Environmental Horticulture at Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, CA.

Biography

Dr. Mike P. GonellaDr. Mike Gonella earned his Ph.D. at Miami University in 2007 working with the Myaamia Center since its inception. His dissertation, Myaamia Ethnobotany began the formal, contemporary documentation of all extant Myaamia plant knowledge, including information from historical writings and interviews with living Myaamia elders. The ethnobotanical information he gathered in his research was organized into a basic database for use by members of the Myaamia community and Myaamia scholars. Currently, he is chair of the Environmental Horticulture Department at Santa Barbara City College, while continuing his work with the Myaamia Center further developing the web-based Myaamia Ethnobotanical Database. He lives with his wife and three daughters in California.

Abstract

The Myaamia Ethnobotanical Database is a collection of plant references derived from over a decade of research and interviews regarding the historical and contemporary use of plants by the Myaamia People. The database organizes cultural information related to plants, and also contains other botanical information, scientific names, distribution, and related ecological data. Additional to its research and archival value, the database is designed to eventually support the needs of ecologist and tribal environmental educators who are interested in identifying and maintaining plant knowledge on tribal properties in Oklahoma and other locations. This talk will cover the basic and current features of this new software and share ideas for future modifications.

Video Introduction

Presentation Video

11:30 a.m. | Break - visit presenter tables

12:00 p.m. | Lunch on your own

1:30 p.m. | weeyaakiteeheeyanwki neepwaantiiyankwi: Celebrating 50 years of learning from each other

Kara Strass, Director Tribe Relations, Myaamia Center

Dr. Cam Shriver, Research Associate, Myaamia Center, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History at Miami University.

Biographies

Dr. Cameron ShriverDr. Cameron Shriver is a Research Associate at the Myaamia Center and Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department at Miami. He researches Myaamia reserves and land transactions in nineteenth-century Indiana and Ohio, and periodically writes on the Myaamia Community Blog, ‘aacimotaatiiyankwi.org.’ His research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society and National Endowment for the Humanities, and he has held fellowships at the John Carter Brown Library, the Newberry Library, and the Huntington Library. In addition to his work on Myaamia real estate, his current book project analyzes intelligence-gathering practices among Miami-Illinois and imperial communities—French, British, and American—in the eighteenth century. Dr. Shriver completed his PhD in history at Ohio State University in 2016. He teaches Native American History and “Introduction to the Miami Tribe” at Miami University.


Kara StrassKara Strass is Director of Miami Tribe relations at the Myaamia Center. a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, is originally from Huntington, Indiana. It was there, within the traditional homelands of the Myaamia people, that her Myaamia identity was fostered by her family, especially her grandmother. Today, she resides in both Oxford, Ohio, and Bloomington, Indiana with her husband Kristoph.

Kara received an M.S. in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Miami University in 2016. Kara’s graduate studies focused on Student Development Theory, and specifically how these theories can be applied to make Myaamia students successful in their college endeavors.

Kara joined the Myaamia Center in 2016 and became the Director of Miami Tribe Relations in 2020. As the liaison between the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University, Kara strives to strengthen this relationship, which is now 50-years old. Additionally, Kara serves as an advisor and mentor to the Myaamia students who attend Miami University as part of the Myaamia Heritage Program.

Abstract

2022 is the 50th anniversary of the relationship between the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University.  This unique partnership is expressed through a shared commitment to neepwaantiinki, ‘learning from each other,’ which has played a key role in the Miami Tribe’s language revitalization efforts and has led to the first generation in nearly 100 years learning to speak the Myaamia language. 

Although this relationship is 50 years old, the connections between Myaamia history and Miami University history are much deeper.  Cam will discuss the founding of Miami University in Myaamia homelands, the continued connections over time, and how an unlikely relationship between a sovereign Tribal Nation and public educational institution was formed.  This history, he hopes, will be more fully developed in a book to be released in 2023.

Building off of the history of the relationship, Kara will speak to the outcomes of the relationship for both the Miami Tribe and Miami University, including the evolution of the Myaamia Heritage Program and the development of the Myaamia Center.  She will discuss how this relationship served to strengthen the revitalization work of the Miami Tribe, how we are celebrating our accomplishments, and where it is headed in the future.

Video Introduction

Presentation Video

2:15 p.m. | The Miami-Illinois Digital Archive: Where Are We Now?

Dr. David Costa, Program Director, Language Research Office, Myaamia Center at Miami University.

Dr. Hunter Thompson Lockwood, Project Coordinator, Language Research Office, Myaamia Center at Miami University.

Biographies

Dr. David CostaDr. David Costa is the Program Director for the Language Research Office at the Myaamia Center.  He completed his Ph.D. in linguistics at U.C. Berkeley in 1994, with his dissertation on the Miami-Illinois Language. Costa is involved in a long-term project to analyze and annotate the data from the language manuscripts that have been uploaded into the Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA), in addition to helping with the design of Myaamia language curricula, answering language inquiries from members of the Miami Tribe, and ongoing research on the Miami-Illinois language. He has worked with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma on language revitalization since 1995.


Dr. Hunter Thompson LockwoodDr. Hunter Thompson Lockwood (Ph.D. U. Wisconsin-Madison, 2017) is a project coordinator in the Language Research Office under Dr. David Costa. He has worked for the Myaamia Center since 2019, assisting Dr. Costa in analyzing and annotating historical attestations of the Miami-Illinois language on the ILDA platform as part of the ongoing language revitalization work at the Center. He also works with Dr. Douglas Troy and Jerome Viles to design and test upcoming iterations of the ILDA software. His research covers a diverse array of topics, including the grammar of questions and the meaningful pieces that make up Miami-Illinois words. Additionally, he has worked with speakers of Ojibwe and Potawatomi since 2008.

Abstract

The Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA) is a program first developed by the Myaamia Center 2012. It was developed to fill the need for a database to organize the huge amount of archival information on the Miami-Illinois language, made necessary by the fact that there were no programs on the market at that time designed for such a purpose. Since the initial rollout of ILDA, the program has been continuously updated and over 78,000 entries have currently been uploaded. Perhaps the greatest value of this program is that it has rendered the most inaccessible data sources on the Miami-Illinois language far easier to use, allowing them to now realize their full potential. The process of keying in, translating, uploading and analyzing new data is still ongoing and will probably continue for decades to come. In this talk Dr. Costa will demonstrate where ILDA is now, detailing the multi-stage process necessary to get ready-to-use data into the program. I will also show how incredibly useful ILDA has become; not only has it assumed tremendous importance for Myaamia language education, but it also has become an invaluable tool for academic research, both historical and linguistic. Time permitting, he will also discuss the connection between ILDA and another program recently created to help with language research, the On-Line Myaamia Dictionary. 

Dr. Lockwood will show how the ILDA platform, by assembling a deep timeline of sources all together in one place, enables and empowers his current research on word formation and lexical expansion processes in Miami-Illinois. Language users of all sorts naturally expand their vocabularies as time and technology march onward, but the creation of new words is especially relevant to communities working toward language reclamation and revitalization, where new or standardized words are sometimes needed for educational, technological, medical, and legal purposes. This talk will tie the historical strategies for new word creation that speakers used throughout the period when Miami-Illinois varieties were spoken more broadly together with the ongoing work of the Myaamia Center to produce useful resources for the broader myaamia community.

The Indigenous Languages Digital Archive has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

Video Introduction

Presentation Video

3:00 p.m. | Myaamia Student Experience at Miami University, A Student Panel

Dr. Haley Shea, Research Associate, Myaamia Center, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Miami University

Biography

Dr. Haley SheaDr. Haley Shea (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma) is a Research Associate at the Myaamia Center and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Educational Psychology Department at Miami. As myaamia tribal member, is originally from Huntington, Indiana. Haley grew up participating and engaging in tribal programming, beginning as an Eewansaapita summer camp participant and eventually moving on to the role of counselor and later researcher.  Haley then attended Miami University for her undergraduate career, studying Psychology and Spanish (class of 2013) as well as participating in the Myaamia Heritage Awards Program. After graduating, she earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Iowa State University and completed her doctoral internship at Miami University’s Student Counseling Service. 

Currently, she has a joint appointment as a Research Associate at the Myaamia Center and a Visiting Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology at Miami University.  She is currently the co-chair of the Nipwaayoni Acquisition and Assessment Team (NAAT) and engages in research on how language and cultural revitalization within the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma impacts the tribal community on four primary factors: academic attainment, health/wellness, community engagement, and national growth and continuance.

Abstract

Myaamia students who attend Miami University as part of the Myaamia Heritage Award Program have a common experience that unites them as a community.  The primary goal of the Heritage course is to teach them about Myaamia history, language, and culture.  However, in addition to the educational component, there is an abundance of additional benefits that these students gain as a result of their experience at Miami University.

One aim of the Nipwaayoni Acquisition and Assessment Team (NAAT) is to understand the impact(s) that language and cultural revitalization has had on these myaamia students who have the unique opportunity to have significant exposure to myaamia cultural education.  To date, our research has revealed that students grow in their understanding of their myaamia identity, connection to the tribal community, academic attainment, and general pride in their myaamia heritage. 

In this presentation, Haley will share some of her experiences as a Myaamia student at Miami University and how her own experience has shifted now that she has found her way back to Miami as an employee of the Myaamia Center.  Then, as a primary focus of the presentation, she will moderate a panel of current Myaamia students who are attending Miami University.  In this panel, these students bring life to the aforementioned impact that the Heritage Program has had in their own lives.

Video Introduction

Presentation Video

4:00 p.m. | Daryl Baldwin - Closing Comments

Presentation Video

4:15 p.m. | Visit presenter tables