Cecaahkwa Kiilhswa is the third lunar month of the Myaamia lunar calendar. Like the other months named for birds, Cecaahkwa Kiilhswa is associated with the process of transition from pipoonwi (winter) into niipinwi (summer). The month is named for cecaahkwa ‘Sandhill Crane – grus canadensis.’

cecaahkwa

cecaahkwa (Sandhill Crane) performing a mating dance

Around this time of year, Sandhill Cranes return from their winter nesting grounds in what is today the state of Florida.  Historically, some cranes nested in our traditional homelands along the Wabash River Valley and some traveled to other nesting grounds throughout the midwest.  This moon marks an important moment of return, rebirth, and renewal for an animal, cecaahkwa, that is closely associated with Myaamia people.  Delaware and various Iroquois speaking peoples, who originally lived to our east and south, referred to the Myaamia as the “Twigh Twee” after the call of the Sandhill Crane.

Peace 3

Signature of Myaamia leader on Great Peace of 1701

In the past, Myaamia people would mark the edges of our lands by blazing the head of cecaahkwa into trees along major trails.  In 1701, a Myaamia leader signed a treaty with this very symbol. Cecaahkwa remains a powerful symbol of Myaamia people and can still be found on the tribal seal of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

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Mihšiiwia Kiilhswa (Elk Moon) is named for the Eastern American Elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis).  The Eastern Elk subspecies was hunted out in the state of Indiana by the 1840s and declared extinct in North America in 1880.

Brooklyn_Museum_-_American_Elk_-_John_J._Audubon

To the best of our knowledge, this month is associated with the fact that the Eastern Elk used to mate around this time of this year (August & September).  During mating season, the woodlands around the Wabash River would fill with the sounds of male Elk bugling, which attracts females of the species (click here to listen to a Western Elk bugle). The Eastern Elk’s close cousin, the Roosevelt or Western Elk, has been introduced to the woodlands east of the Mississippi, and so it is possible that in a few generations we may once again hear the bugling of Elk along the Wabash.

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Mihšiiwia Kiilhswa (Elk Moon) is named for the Eastern American Elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis).  The Eastern Elk subspecies was hunted out in the state of Indiana by the 1840s and declared extinct in North America in 1880.

Brooklyn_Museum_-_American_Elk_-_John_J._Audubon

To the best of our knowledge, this month is associated with the fact that the Eastern Elk used to mate around this time of this year (August & September).  During mating season, the woodlands around the Wabash River would fill with the sounds of male Elk bugling, which is used to call out to females and warn off competing males (click here to listen to an Elk bugle).  The Eastern Elk’s close cousin, the Roosevelt or Western Elk, has been introduced to the woodlands east of the Mississippi, and so it is possible that in a few generations we may once again hear the bugling of Elk along the Wabash.

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Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa ‘Young Black Bear Moon’ is one of two lunar months named for the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus).  To the best of our knowledge, this month is associated with the fact that it is around this month that Black Bear cubs begin to emerge from their dens.  The start of this lunar month marks weehki-kihkatwi – the Myaamia New Year!  During some years, the maple sugaring season begins during Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa; in general trees and animals begin the slow process of waking up as pipoonwi ends.

three_tiny_cubs

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meekaalankwiki mihši-maalhsa – mikaalitioni taawaawa siipionki
Mihši-maalhsa Wars Part IV- The Battle of the Taawaawa Siipiiwi

This article is the fourth of a five-part series on the history of our wars with the Mihši-maalhsa (Americans), which occurred from 1778-1794 and from 1812-1814. This fourth article focuses on the Battle of the Taawaawa Siipiiwi (Maumee River), also known as Fallen Timbers. If you want to hear the pronunciation of the Myaamia terms in this article, please visit our online dictionary – www.myaamiadictionary.org

In our last article on the Mihši-maalhsa Wars we looked at the Battle of the Wabash, also known as St. Clair’s Defeat. This battle was a near catastrophic disaster for the still very young United States, but the victory did not leave the allied villages of the Taawaawa Siipiiwi in a very strong position.[1] The British still refused to commit troops and especially artillery to aid the allies. More importantly, poor harvests in the summer of 1791 and floods in the fall of that same year left the allied villages in a terrible state. The continued presence of a large concentration of men from communities throughout the Great Lakes only further strained the limited agricultural stores and forced hunters to go farther from the Taawaawa Siipiiwi in order to bring in enough game.

In the fall of 1791, following the victory at the Battle of the Wabash, the Taawaawa Siipiiwi alliance held a council. They wanted to meet before all the villages temporarily split up into their winter hunting camps. During the council there was an active and lively debate over whether to continue to pursue the path of war against the Mihši-maalhsa or to use the recent victory over the U.S. Army as an opportunity to negotiate peace from a position of relative strength. The records of the council do not make clear what side Myaamia leaders took in this debate, but it seems that around the time of this council they became divided on whether to pursue peace to continue the war.[2]

The years of disruption and warfare were beginning to take their toll on Myaamia villages. The fall harvest in 1790 was destroyed by Harmar’s invasion and the following year’s crop was poor due to weather. As a result, in the winter of 1791-92, the tribes of the Taawaawa Siipiiwi alliance were reduced to begging for food from the British. Within Myaamia villages, some were beginning to wonder whether their communities could continue to sustain a seemingly never-ending conflict.

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