meehkweelimankwiki myaamiaki aancihseeciki
October 12, 2019 10:18 PM   Subscribe

"173 years ago this week, the United States government began the forced removal of Myaamia people from our historic homelands in the Wabash River Valley. On October 6, 1846, Myaamia people boarded canal boats near Iihkipihsinonki ‘the Straight Place’ (Peru, Indiana) and on the next day loading concluded near Kiihkayonki ‘Fort Wayne, Indiana.’ All told, in just over a month of forced travel, over 320 Myaamia people were moved via canals and rivers to Kanza Landing (Kansas City, Missouri) in the Unorganized Indian Territory. At least seven Myaamia people died on the journey and many more died over the following winter."

Further reading:
posted by Not A Thing (8 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
The Myaamia people's effort to revive their language (or, as they put it, 'wake it up') has been really remarkable. I'd say it's almost miraculous, but it's a miracle that's been pulled off by people. It's taken a lot of work, and the work is on-going. A lot of the people who contributed early on didn't know what their work would end up contributing to.
posted by nangar at 3:45 AM on October 13, 2019 [5 favorites]

Great post, Not A Thing!

This is definitely not something that is ever taught to Indiana schoolchildren. To be honest, the very existence of the native peoples throughout Indiana is so rarely mentioned in schools, other than in a manner to explain the names of rivers and such.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:55 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was in 3rd to 5th grade at Grissom AFB between Peru and Kokomo, and I took Indiana History there. I don't remember learning about this.
posted by COD at 6:39 AM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I did a few years of elementary school in a place about 30 minutes from Peru. Lots of "Who's ear?" apocrypha, nothing about indigenous people after the Lewis & Clark expedition. I'm not sure I ever really considered the ethnic cleansing part -- even though the state is named Indiana and many of the town names are directly from the displaced tribes -- until it became something of a running joke on the walls of Parks & Rec's Town Hall.

I...uh, also now understand the naming of Miami University of Ohio. It's a feeling when you run headfirst into an area of your absolute ignorance.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:00 AM on October 13, 2019 [8 favorites]

There’s a great Rough Translation podcast and I am extremely sorry if I missed a link or am doubling up but it deals with how the remaining descendants tried to recover AND reclaim their Miami language. Awesome post TY
posted by Wilder at 12:56 PM on October 13, 2019

I think you're thinking about this The World in Words episode from 2016.
posted by nangar at 2:23 PM on October 13, 2019

And Miami County, Kansas
And Miami, Oklahoma...
posted by Windopaene at 4:01 PM on October 13, 2019

I knew David Costa, I've read his Miami-Illinois language dissertation a bunch of times, and at one point in the past I could've had a decent go at parsing this stuff. It still makes me ridiculously happy to see the language, whose revivification I was present for, widely spoken and written again. (I think he always intended his work to be useful for this purpose because he wrote the thesis in a less-technical style accessible to anyone with Linguistics expertise, rather than Algonquian specialists.)

No amount of praise is enough for Daryl Baldwin who was mule-headedly determined that he & his family would learn Miami-Illinois by any means necessary. David found out about Daryl but at the time he was trying to finish the dissertation and since Daryl wasn't a native speaker (the last one died in Oklahoma in the '80s -- when Dave finally got the guy's phone number and called, the answerer replied "this is his son, we just got back from his funeral") he didn't get in touch, but after he got his PhD he sent Daryl a copy of the thesis and the result was the most successful boom since nitro met glycerin.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:10 PM on October 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

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