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The Otoe-Missouria Tribe

The Otoe-Missouria Tribe

Language Research In Philadelphia

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on January 31, 2018

From the Otoe-Missouria Language Director Sky Campbell: At the end of January I visited the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. 
They had some collections that I wanted to rummage through relating to the Otoe-Missouria language. While I knew partially what to expect, I was completely blown away by what I found. My main target was a researcher named Gordon Marsh who collected Ioway and Otoe-Missouria language information in 1936. 

We've already had some of his material in our archives at the Otoe-Missouria Language Department, but they were scans of poorly Xeroxed (and often illegible) copies. And I (naively) thought we had most, if not all of it. Nope. Turns out we were missing a HUGE portion of it. Of course that was the main reason for the trip in the first place...to find what we were missing and see about better copies of the stuff we had but couldn't read. I got to go through Marsh's ENTIRE collection, all the while giggling maniacally and furiously snapping pictures and making notes of what I wanted. 

And now the dreaded waiting game, where I anxiously wait for the material to sent to us from the American Philosophical Society while trying desperately to work from the no doubt poor and out of focus pictures I took with my phone.
 
I also seemed to solve a decades-old puzzle involving a mysterious "final page" of a 1947 article erroneously attributed to William Whitman and is actually from Marsh's material. All papers concerned are now happily reunited and the APS is incredibly grateful.
 
I also found loads of information on Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) and Ponca/Omaha that I didn't know was there.
 
It was a tremendous trip and the material found was desperately needed. Well worth the time. This is exactly the type of information we are seeking to revitalize and expand our knowledge of the Otoe-Missouria language.