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Miami Tribe Earns Prestigious Award With Help From Miami University Partnership

Courtesy of Myaamia Center
A child working on a piece of art that reads "I am Miami."

The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma is being awarded by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for its cultural heritage and language revitalization program. The tribe's research wing is housed at Miami University.

The tribe received the Honoring Nations Award from the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development Thursday.

Receiving the award, Chief Douglas Lankford credited the tribe's relationship with the university and the school's commitment to the Myaamia Center as a key component of its success.

"I am so honored to serve the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma as chief at this time in our history and to witness and support the great awakening we are experiencing with the return of our language and culture," Lankford said.

The Miami Awakening project serves about 5,300 tribal members with a range of educational opportunities, activities, and publications resulting in the first generation in nearly 100 years learning to speak the Miami language.

Miami University created a Myaamia Heritage Program in 1991 and began offering Myaamia Heritage courses in 2003. The school also offers scholarship opportunities for tribe members who meet entrance requirements for enrollment. The university says 76 Myaamia students have earned degrees, to date.

Myaamia Center Director Daryl Baldwin says the Harvard Project visited Miami, Okla., in June to speak with tribal leaders, parents of Miami University students, and others involved in the cultural education efforts.
"They were very interested in the connection between the university, the tribe and how the center fits into the revitalization effort," Baldwin says.

Baldwin was awarded a 2016 MacArthur "genius grant" for his work with the Myaamia Center.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.