Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

David L. Vogel


The purpose of this ethnographic study is to examine the developmental relationships between myaamia aalhsoohkaana or “Miami Winter Stories” and living well for myaamia people. Living well is an individual’s lived experience of health or wellness and entails both the process of and responsibility to make decisions that contribute to one’s overall well-being. Research was conducted at the 2018 Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s Winter Gathering in Miami, Oklahoma. Data were collected over the course of three days through observation of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s storytelling event and audio recorded, semi-structured interviews with 15 myaamia individuals who attend the storytelling event. The field notes and interviews were subsequently analyzed using Creswell’s (2013) recommendations of organizing the data (through transcription and translation), then coding the data, and finally interpreting the data all using NVIVO software. Through a recursive coding process, I examined a picture of (a) how myaamia people understand living well, (b) how myaamia people understand Wiihsakacaakwa stories, (c) the relationship between Wiihsakacaakwa stories and living well, and (d) how individual development influences these relationships. Results show that myaamiaki do use storytelling to help them to live well which ultimately means achieving a sense of balance in their lives. This research informs tribal educators both in the content of stories that should be emphasized and the processes within storytelling events that will help to promote living well within the myaamia community.

Copyright Owner

Haley Alyssa Shea



File Format


File Size

173 pages