Siihsipaahkwikanni Exhibit Examines Miami Maple Sugaring Techniques

The new exhibit, siihsipaahkwikanni, is open at the Elkhart County Historical Museum. The exhibit can be seen during the museum open hours, Tuesday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm, and during special event hours. This special exhibit is on loan from the Myaamia Heritage Museum and Archive, and will be on display until March 2023.

In the Myaamia language the exhibit title, siihsipaahkwikanni translates to Maple Sugar Camp, and the exhibit details the steps and historic techniques that the Miami people used to create maple syrup. As the exhibit takes you step by step through the development, you’ll see historic photos and tools that they used during the process. Highlights of the exhibit include historic images including a depiction of a Native sugar camp from 1853 and a wooden trough from the late 19th century used by Miami people to process maple sugar.

“What is so fascinating about this exhibit is how much of the history of the Miami people and their culture through the process they have used to create maple sugar,” said Patrick McGuire, the museum’s curator of education. “Most prominent is the use of Myaamia, the language of the Miami, throughout the exhibit. Every text label has some use of the language, and the objects in the exhibit are identified in Myaamia as well. It’s a really great way to learn words and phrases from the language.” McGuire continued, “The exhibit also shows how the Miami were able to adapt these skills they have learned over generations. Once the Miami were forcibly removed from Indiana by the US military in the 1840s, the exhibit details how the Miami translated their maple sugaring skills so they could be useful in their new home in Oklahoma.”