Office of the Director

The office of Director works with the collective talents and experiences of Myaamia Center staff, Miami Tribe’s leadership, the Miami Tribe’s Cultural Resources Office and Miami University’s Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, to carry out the mission of the Myaamia Center.  This is accomplished through planning, development and the execution of a wide range of programs, projects and research initiatives carried out by the Myaamia Center offices.

Research & Development

Myaamia Program Assessment
Language and culture revitalization is one crucial issue facing many First Nation communities today. The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma has undertaken revitalization efforts since 1996 by developing a wide range of community based educational initiatives including support for the development of the Myaamia Center at Miami University to assist in the development of tribal education.

A strategic goal of this revitalization movement is to:  Reconnect the Myaamia People to their Indigenous Knowledge System

This strategic goal is being achieved through a wide range of educational opportunities rooted in language and cultural learning.  It is understood that the Myaamia language is the most effective and efficient means of communicating cultural knowledge.

After many years of observing significant positive outcomes at the community level, which are believed to be a result of language and cultural education, the Myaamia Center established an assessment team in 2012 to begin exploring the many factors that have shaped this effort.  

The assessment team’s initial directive was to gather observational, interview, and survey data on the impact of the “Myaamia experience”  on tribal students attending Miami University,  tribal youth attending summer youth camps (Eewansaapita), and tribal community engagement.  These data are being used to not only chronicle the re-emergence of language and cultural revitalization but to also provide tribal leadership with tools to enhance the tribal experience itself.

To date, preliminary data gathered suggest an impact on increasing tribal engagement, enhanced academic attainment (higher retention and graduation rates), and an increased sense of tribal connection.  Below are a list of publications reflecting our developing assessment effort.

Related Publications and Information
Journal of College Student Retention- Research, Theory & Practice


National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages
The Mission of the National Breath of Life (BOL) Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages is to help endangered language communities find and utilize their linguistic archival sources from archives located in the D.C. area.

The National Breath of Life Archival Institute developed in Washington DC to allow the extensive archival collections at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives (NAA) of the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the Library of Congress to be available to tribal communities. First organized in 2011, and originally partnered with the Endangered Language Fund, the current National Breath of Life planning team is spearheaded by the Myaamia Center at Miami University and the Recovering Voices Program of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

The National Breath of Life has been supported in part by the National Science Foundation Documenting Endangered Languages Fund grants #1160685 (2011), #1160685 (2013), #1360675 (2015), #1561167 (2017).

Related Publications and Information


Child Health and Indigenous Language Development
The Child Health and Indigenous Language Development (CHILD) working group is comprised of academic, professional, and community members from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds, including early childhood development, language acquisition, linguistics, public health, education, psychology, statistics, and indigenous studies, among others. Very little is known about how language learning and development progress in the unique contexts of marginalized, revitalization, and heritage language situations. We seek to encourage, empower, and recognize the positive actions and critical research that is occurring in these unique  contexts.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF #1500720), Ruth Rouvier convened a working group which met to explore current research concerning young learners (ages 0-5) in these challenging language contexts.  The initial goal was to consider how ongoing practices not only promote language (re)learning but also provide extra-linguistic benefits influencing social, emotional and physical well-being among young children, their families and communities. This meeting produced a white paper titled, “Language Documentation, Revitalization, and Reclamation: Supporting Young Learners and Their Communities,” which discusses existing research and practices, and recommends next steps to support community actions to maintain, restore, and reclaim their languages. Through this overview of existing knowledge, our group aimed to lay a foundation for future research to share and enhance the outcomes and benefits of language documentation and revitalization practice.

Additionally, one of the barriers we identified to pursuing this work is the limited opportunity to communicate and share research with allied researchers and practitioners across our diverse disciplines and professions. We are developing a variety of tools to address these challenges, including creating a bibliography of relevant literature and a listserv to support ongoing collaboration and resource-sharing. We are also planning additional, future collaborative  endeavors (e.g., meetings and research projects).

Related Publications and Information
Language Documentation, Revitalization, and Reclamation: Supporting Young Learners and Their Communities

Office Staff

Daryl Baldwin, Director
George Ironstrack, Assistant Director
Bobbe Burke, Executive Assistant
Elise Brauckmann, Administrative Assistant


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