aya!

   This website is one part of a grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. It is intended to give a thorough review of the myaamiaki iši meehtohseeniwiciki exhibition that was housed at the Miami University Art Museum from September 16th to December 13th 2008. You will find a interactive walkthrough of the exhibit as it was, including close up images of most of the objects. Be sure to click the text on the walls for more information on the exhibit, as well as important quotes by Myaamia people. Visit the 'Auditorium' for videos of the opening events, sculpture dedication, and lecture series that happened during the exhibition's run.

 

Also featured on the website is a browsable list with pictures of each item, a slideshow of images from the opening events, and links to organizations related to this project.


Sculpture

About the myaamiaki iši meehtoseeniwiciki exhibition

   In 2003, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma was awarded a NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) Documentation grant by the National Park Service. These funds allowed tribal members to travel to museums around the country and document what Myaamia items these organizations had in their collections. As the process wore on, it became clear that the scattered nature of these items would make it difficult for many tribal members to see them. During a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian, tribal representatives met James Pepper Henry. Julie Olds presented the idea of a museum exhibit that gathered these objects from across the country, but several challenges were raised, including the issue of where such an exhibition would be housed.

 

   In 2005, Dr. Bob Wicks, Director of the Art Museum at Miami University, suggested that Miami would welcome such an exhibit. The next few years were dedicated to planning this unique event. Contacting 17 institutions and numerous individuals to arrange the loan of items, preparing to care for these fragile pieces of history, and organizing the visit of approximately 120 Miami Tribe members on opening day required an immense amount of work by people scattered across the United States.

 

By the time the myaamiaki iši meehtoseeniwiciki closed in December 2008, it had completely exceeded expectations. The museum set a new record for attendance, with over 7000 visitors walking through the exhibition. A new sculpture in the sculpture park (picture left) just outside the museum ensured the memory of the exhibit lives on in Oxford. Most importantly, Myaamia people were able to connect their families’ stories with items brought together for the first time.