Though Scott Shoemaker practices a variety ofMiami (Myaamia) arts, he chose to teach his young daughter Hazel ribbonwork embroidery techniques during this apprenticeship. Scotttaught himself to create these complicated textiles based onmuseum pieces and old photographs. The removal of Miami people from Indiana in 1846 and the land loss of those Miami who remained disrupted the production and passing down of many community traditions. Scott estimates that no Miami created ribbonwork textiles for ninety years before he revived the tradition.
The process of ribbonwork involves cutting, folding, stitching and layeringcolorful strips of ribbon. Historical pieces used silk and matching thread, while Scott chooses to work with rayon taffeta ribbon and clear nylon thread for ease and cost. As language preservation is of great concern to Scott, the pair have been using Myaamia vocabularyto discuss the process of ribbonwork and theconnections between this art form and larger systems of belief. As Scott says, “It encapsulates cosmology. So much of our stories and our language are about how to be a good human being. Making this is about continuing those forms that our ancestors made but then also reminding us about what it means to be a Miami person.”Their work will culminate in a miniature wrapping blanket for Hazel’s doll, which they plan to enter into the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma Artist Market Competition.