Miami Oklahoma

1. Historical information about the culture

Originating from the Great Lakes region including the states of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin is the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. A well-known tribe, the United States government recognizes Miami tribe as a Sovereign Nation. The signing of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 by President Andrew Jackson as well as the ferocious steadfastness of other leaders set in motion a chain of events that altered their home and people forever. The treaty meant the removal of the Miami tribe and relocation beyond the Mississippi. Chief and Cultural leaders of the Miami Oklahoma tribe recognize the education of the tribe’s citizens is important is a tribal responsibility to ensure that the tribe’s history, culture, and traditions are accurately conveyed. In the Miami language, the tribe’s language means “the Downstream People.” Over generations, the Myaamia extended their cultural roots deep into the soil of the Wabash River Valley. The people drew their provisions from the wetlands, prairies, woodlands, river bottomlands, and the plants and animals that lived in these places. The summers were long in the area, and the men of the villages helped with the farming. However, they spent the majority of their time hunting white tailed deer, bison, and eastern elk, as well as a variety of smaller birds and animals.











2. Colonial experience of the culture

The Miami tribe had mixed relations with the United States.  Parts of the Piankeshaw villages supported the United States rebel colonists in the American Revolution, while some of the villages around Ouiatenon were very clearly against American allies. The United States openly attacked parts of the tribe (like Kekionga) numerous times during the Northwest Indian War as they did not trust the Miami’s split opinions. The Battle of Fallen Timbers signified the end of the Northwest Indian War, and was followed shortly with the Treaty of Greenville. Miami people who still possessed resentment for the Americans joined forces with Ouiatenon and Prophetstown, where Shawnee Chief Tecumsuh organized an alliance of Native American nations. In 1811, William Henry Harrison and his forces destroyed Prophetstown. There were many attacks on Native American villages prior to The War of 1812, particularly throughout Indiana territory. In 1826 the Treaty of Mississinwas was signed, forcing the Miami to forfeit a large portion of their land to the United States government. It allowed individuals to hold Miami land as private property (where the land used to be owned by the Miami people). In 1846, the Indian Removal allowed Miami people who owned separate pieces of land to stay as citizens in Indiana. Affiliates of the tribe were relocated to reservations west of the Mississippi including places like Kansas and eventually Oklahoma. There is still a divide between this tribe, as the Western Tribe is federally recognized as the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (with over 3,500 members). The Eastern tribe does have its own government but is not recognized federally. They were temporarily recognized in an 1854 treaty with the United States, however that was eventually voided before the 1900s. However, in July of 1993, a federal judge declared that the Eastern Miami Tribe officially recognized by the United States government and that the past practices were deemed obsolete. The United States officially recognizes the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma as a sovereign nation. Originally, when they were sent on the mandatory move westward due to the treaty in the 1840s, the reservations of land to which they were to claim were desolate. In 1936, following the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, the first Tribal Constitution was implemented and eventually in 1939 they were officially recognized as the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. The Miami people have remained extremely courageous and persistent in their determination to become federally recognized in the United States and indeed granted the status of being a sovereign nation. Though there has clearly been plenty of quarrels between the United States government and the Miami People of Oklahoma, they have maintained fortitude and bravery to establish the land reservations that were granted to them, and in turn many treaties, acts, and laws have been passed in their favor (to both the eastern and western tribes). Today, both the eastern and western tribes have gained a status here in the United States that has required much work, time, and patience. Though the land that the United States had originally granted to them was far from ideal , they have established their living conditions and look to maintain (and even improve) their means of life.



3. Contemporary developments or issues

Today, the Miami Oklahoma nation describes itself as a strong and vibrant community.  Decisions made by the community are made with their predecessors in mind, although they do not view themselves as people that are stuck in the past.  They are a proud people who do not seek out pity or sympathy. Instead, they focus their energy on moving forward and creating a better future for themselves and for future generations.
The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma Business Committee recently announced that they will be opening an office in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They are also actively building a new road to the Myaamia Heritage Cemetery.
Chief Landford has recently challenged all Miami people to learn the Myaami language.  Chief Langford is a student of the heritage language and wants make sure all members are similiarly learning the language. This is a common issue for indigenous tribes. These are minority and second languages that are not necessarily essential in the way that knowing English would be. However, Myaamia still holds great cultural value and should not be dismissed.
University researchers have found that Heritage classes are a key to the success of Miami university students. These courses cover ecological perspectives and the history or the Miami Tribe, language and culture, and contemporary issues of American Indian tribes. The researchers believe such courses help Miami students to create a self-identity, which is a key to academic success. The classes also help students deal with stereotyping and other negative experiences. The Miami people are proud of their community but realize that it is a microcosm of the world.  They understand that this inevitably leads to misunderstandings with other cultures. They believe that understanding themselves helps them to deal with these issues and accept the differing views of others.
The Miami people seem to be very progressive and able to adapt to a changing world. They have their own police, who recently received funding for expansion and new uniforms. Their childcare manager recently received her BA from Ashford University.  Miami Nations Enterprises’ Miami Technology Solutions was recently certified for the US Small Business Administration’s Business Development Program. This was part of a larger effort to help small, minority owned businesses compete in a competitive marketplace.
The tribe has announced summer youth programs for 2015. Two camps will focus on lacrosse, which promotes both exercise and teamwork.