Miami University is adding a new “heritage logo” that embraces the culture of the Miami “Myaamia” Tribe, which it’s named after.
Twenty years ago Miami University’s athletic teams abandoned the controversial “Redskins” nickname and logo at the urging of the Miami “Myaamia” Tribe. Now, the university is adding a new “heritage logo” that embraces the culture of that Native American tribe.
The new logo, which features the tribe’s traditional ribbonwork art, is part of an awareness platform to broaden the recognition and pride in the relationship between the two Miamis. It won’t replace the Miami “M” or the RedHawks logos.
“Our relationship is one of reciprocity in learning and mutual respect,” said Miami Tribe cultural resources officer Julie Olds. “When you see this icon we’re talking about knowledge gained, knowledge shared and community service. ”
It serves as a visual representation of the university’s commitment to restore Miami culture and language and a reminder the university’s roots, school officials say.
Members of the Miami Tribe lived in what is now Oxford long before L.L. Bean boots and Tory Burch flats strolled the campus. Ohio was part of the tribe’s homeland until members were forced to surrender massive amounts of their lands in 1795 under the Greenville Treaty. Miami University was built on part of that land in 1809, and the school was named after the tribe.
Beyond the name, the university didn’t express strong ties to the Miami Tribe until 1928, when Miami’s then-publicity director, P.J. McGinnis, dubbed the teams “the Miami Redskins.” After that the school referenced its cultural roots with Indian-themed student yearbooks and various dancing mascots named “Hiawabop,” “Chief Miami” and “Tom O. Hawk.” There were objections to the mascots and Redskin moniker beginning in the 1970s, but the tribe didn’t find it derogatory until 1996, according to the Miami student newspaper.
In the early 1970s, the tribe and the university started building a relationship that tribe and university leaders describe as one ofmutual respect and trust.
The relationship was bolstered in 2001 when the Myaamia Project opened at the Oxford campus. The project supported research and tribal initiatives to preserve the Miami language and culture and exposed students to those efforts. The project grew to become the Myaamia Center in 2013. Daryl Baldwin, founding director of the Myaamia Project, recently won the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship to help his quest to revive the heritage and language of his people.
The new Myaamia heritage logo will be used on print- and web-based materials and merchandise that either entity can distribute or sell. The designs and colors of the logo represent respect, history, responsibility, shared vision and cooperation. It was co-created by Myaamia artist Julie Olds and designer Alyse Capaccio of university communications and marketing, with direct input and support from the Myaamia Center.
All royalties from the sale of the new merchandise, like cornhole boards and car decals, will go toward scholarships and student support for Myaamia students at Miami.
Miami President Gregory Crawford and Douglas Lankford, chief of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, will sign the agreement Saturday and will celebrate by using a ceremonial coin in the toss to begin the home football game at 2:30 p.m. that day.
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