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Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma flag
Total population
Regions with significant populations
United States (Oklahoma)
Myaamia, English
Christianity, traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Illinois, and other Algonquian peoples

The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma is a federally recognized Native American tribe of Miami Indians.[2]


The tribe has partnered with Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, to create the Myaamia Center. The two organizations are working together to conduct research projects to revitalize Miami language and culture and to offer university students opportunities to visit and work with the tribe on various projects.[3]

Government and programs

The headquarters of the Miami Tribe are Miami, Oklahoma. Of the 3,908 enrolled tribal members, only 775 of them live within the state of Oklahoma. Enrollment in the tribe is based on lineal descent,[1] that is, they have no minimum blood quantum requirement.

Douglas Lankford is the Chief of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. The Miami Tribe issues its own tribal vehicle tags and operate their own housing authority.[1]

Atotankiki Myaamiaki is the Miami Nation quarterly newspaper.[4] The tribe is in the process of building the Myaamia Complex, for the benefit of tribal elders, to house the food program and tribal library.[5]

Economic development

In the interest of providing economic development for the community, the tribe created Miami Nation Enterprises, which oversees tribally-owned companies such as Miami Business Services, which provides personnel, information technologies, and business supplies; Miami Designs, which provides graphic art and promotional materials; Miami Cineplex, a movie theater and arcade; and ServiceWorld Computer, which provides computer networking and support, as well as video surveillance.[6] Additionally the tribe owns one smokeshop and one casino. Their estimated annual tribal economic impact is $16,700,000.[1]


The tribe holds an annual powwow early in June and a stomp dance every winter. The Myaamia Center continues research directed by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma to revitalize language and culture.[2]


The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma is Eastern Woodlands tribe, who traditionally spoke the Miami-Illinois language, a language of the Algonquin family, but few tribal members speak the language today. There have been recent and ongoing attempts at a revival of their 'sleeping' tongue, which is particularly well-documented in early sources (including a complete Illinois-French dictionary) [7] The name 'Miami' derives from the tribe's autonym (name for themselves) in their Algonquian language, Myaamia (plural Myaamiaki); it appears to have come from an older term meaning 'downstream people’. Some scholars contended the Miami called themselves the Twightwee (also spelled Twatwa), supposedly an onomatopoeic reference to their sacred bird, the Sandhill crane. However, recent studies have shown that Twightwee derives from the Delaware language exonym name for the Miamis, tuwéhtuwe, a name of unknown etymology.[8] Some Miamis have stated that this was only a name used by other tribes for the Miamis, and not the autonym which the Miamis used for themselves. Another common term was Mihtohseeniaki, "the people." The Miami continue to employ this autonym today.

Miami society was divided into clans, led by hereditary chiefs. They settled in village of long houses. They were farmers and were known for a unique type of white corn. Traditionally, they played double ball, the moccasin game, and darts.[2]

Like all Oklahoma tribes, the Miami endured their communal lands being broken up by the Dawes Act and their tribal government destroyed by the Curtis Act of 1898. They persevered and organized their own tribe, independent of the Peoria under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, ratified their constitution on August 16, 1939.[9]


Indigenous peoples of North America portal


  • Anson, Bert. ISBN 978-0-8061-3197-9.

External links

  • Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, official website
  • The Myaamia Center at Miami University
  • Miami Nation Enterprises
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