Indian Country Today: Nation of Miami returns to homelands on Indigenous Peoples Day

Myaamia students tied 330 strips of cloth to trees on the University of Miami campus in Ohio – one for each citizen of Myaamia who was removed from their ancestral lands in 1846. The tribe is now associated with the university to open the Myaamia center and work to restore its language and culture. (Photo by Mary Annette Pember / Indian Country Today)

Myaamia tribe commemorates forced eviction 175 years ago

Tribe Now Partners With The University Of Miami For Language And Culture Revitalization

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Indian country today

Indigenous Peoples Day, October 11, also marked the day 175 years ago when Myamia’s tribal citizens were forcibly evicted from their homelands near the University of Miami campus in Oxford, Ohio. . Myamia tribal leaders, citizens, and University of Miami officials and students came together to commemorate that fateful day when it seemed all of Myamia had been lost. Their collective grief, however, was alleviated by recognition of the remarkable partnership between the tribe and the university that has helped restore the lost Myaamia language and culture, providing healing and recovery from the pride of being Myaamia. Recipients of the Miami Heritage Award program hung 330 strips of fabric on trees across campus, one for each tribal citizen who was removed from their home country in 1846, 16 years after President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Today, 39 students from Myaamia attend college with a fee waiver as part of the Heritage Prize.

Douglas Lankford and Darryl Baldwin

Myaamia Chief Douglas Lankford and Myaamia Center Director Darryl Baldwin stand in front of the “A Tribe Called Miami” sculpture, created by tribal member Eugene Brown, in a ceremony on October 11, 2021, commemorating the removal of tribe from ancestral lands 175 years ago in 1846. (Photo by Mary Annette Pember / Indian Country Today)
Myamia chief Douglas Lankford addressed a crowd of around 200 gathered at the university’s art museum for the occasion. His voice broke with emotion as he described the ancestors’ love for their homeland. Forced at gunpoint on rowboats to leave the only house they had ever known, they knelt down, grabbing handfuls of dirt. “Classes were probably underway here at the university when the boats taking our ancestors to Kansas passed nearby,” Lankford said. On this day, so long ago, the citizens of Myamia were taken first to Kansas and later to Oklahoma, the present home of the tribe. So much has happened since then. Today, Myaammia leaders of the Invigorated Tribe commemorated their retirement and celebrated a remarkable new relationship, an initiative with the University of Miami that has helped reclaim their language, culture and pride.

Myamie students

Myaamia students, winners of the Miami University Heritage Award program, hang 330 strips of cloth, one for each tribe removed from their land in 1846, from trees on the University of Miami campus on October 11, 2021 (Photo by Mary Annette Pember / Indian Country Today)
The partnership between the tribe and the university made it possible to create the Myaamia Center located on the Miami campus. The founder of the Myaamia Tribe Daryl Baldwin and others revitalized a language that was declared dead in the 1960s. Since the centre’s inception in 2001, the program has set the bar for language revitalization and Indigenous culture, winning support from the National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation and others. Lankford noted that the partnership marks a new day for the tribe. “Today we are thriving again as a sovereign nation,” he said. “This was made possible by the recovery of our language and our culture. This healing journey was supported by allies and friends. Once again overcome with emotion, Lankford added: “I express the deepest gratitude of my people on this day. We are now walking a good path together. At the culmination of the ceremony, Madelyn Jett, president of the Miami student body, read the university’s land recognition, highlighting the school’s commitment to working in partnership with the tribe. “It is impossible to separate the history of the University of Miami from the trauma suffered by the people of Myamia,” she said. “It is critical that students recognize that our university exists in part because of the forced removal of Indigenous peoples from this land and the transfer of those lands by treaty to the US government. ”

Jett encouraged students and staff to read the recognition at all college events. “It is our responsibility as learners,” she said, “to educate ourselves on this history and to show respect and reverence for this land”.

Mary Annette Pember, a citizen of the Red Cliff Ojibwe tribe, is a national correspondent for Indian Country Today.

This article originally appeared on Indian Country Today, an independent news company owned by IndiJ Public Media, an Arizona nonprofit that is funded by funding from members, donors, foundations and supporters. . ICT does not charge for subscriptions, and tribal media (or any other medium, for that matter) can use the content of the publication for free. Contribute to Indian Country Today.

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