Dictionary reveals Oklahoma tribe's lost language

Sunday, March 6th 2005, 5:09 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ More than 40 years after the last fluent speaker died, the first modern dictionary of the Miami-Peoria language will be published in the spring.

For members of the Miami Nation of Oklahoma, the 200-page book due out in March is a milestone in the effort to rescue their language from near extinction.

But the dictionary also represents a relationship between the small Oklahoma tribe and its academic namesake, Miami University of Oxford, Ohio.

A university project was established in 2001 to research and preserve the tribe's history, language and culture.

Faculty members are mapping the Miami Tribe's historic territory, studying the plants they used for food and medicine, and translating centuries-old, Miami-language documents.