Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Miamis, Miami team up to publish

Quarterly 16-page newspaper keeps tribe informed

By Laura Johnston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        OXFORD — The photo on the front page of the Miami Tribe's newspaper symbolizes the paper itself, a joint venture between Miami University and its namesake. In it, tribal members pose after attending a concert at Miami University.

        Aatotankiki myaamiaki, which means “what the Miamis are talking about,” is a 16-page paper that keeps the members of the Miami Tribe in the know.

        “That's basically the idea,” said co-editor Joe Leonard, the son of Miami Chief Floyd Leonard and an associate management professor at Miami University. “We use it as a way to keep tribal members, their fami lies, and other friends of the tribe informed.”

        Published quarterly in Miami, Okla., the paper was the brainchild of Mr. Leonard and Miami Nation secretary/treasurer Julie Olds.

        But it was Miami University journalism professor Hugh Morgan, along with four of his students, who put the idea on paper.

        “I think that if you're going to work with another community you have to live as best you can within their culture,” he said. “Otherwise, you're just another white man telling them what to do.”

        During the summer of 1998, Mr. Morgan, along with journalism students Juliette Boyce, Josh Greenburg, Lindsey Levine and William Young, spent a month in Oklahoma preparing the first issue of the paper.

        Ms. Olds assigned stories, and the university team wrote, took pictures and laid out pages. They also brought computers to add to the tribe's collection, and soon, the paper was born.

        “(Mr. Morgan') plan, and it's worked out very well, was initially to teach the tribe how to do a newspaper,” Mr. Leonard said. “The first few issues were pretty much his doing. The first two or three issues were actually formatted and pretty much done in Oxford, Ohio. Now 99 percent of it is done in Miami, Okla.”

        Mr. Morgan and two students returned to Oklahoma the following summer to con tinue working on the paper.

        But now, he said, his role is minimal. “Joe's my boss here, too, as far as I'm concerned because he's a tribal member,” Mr. Morgan said. “They give me assignments.”

        His assignment for the current issue was to interview “the Herb Lady” in Livonia, Mich.

        Because Mr. Morgan has been homebound since a car accident in late December, the story was a welcome break from his regimen of physical therapy and daytime television.

        “It was very nice that (Ms. Olds) gave me something to do,” he said.

        The story was just one of the features in the current issue, which includes stories about the annual winter stomp dance, tribal history and a recipe contest.

        “We don't want to make it just really generic Native American topics, only things that deal directly with the Miami Tribe,” Mr. Leonard said. “We try to get feature articles in it and a lot of news. The tribe uses it as a way to communicate.

        “Surprisingly, every quarter I think "how's there going to be enough stuff?' But it always seems to happen.”


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