Miami University ‘genius grant’ winner gets nod from Biden to join national council

Baldwin says appointment will help expand work reviving some of America’s original Native American culture.

President Joe Biden is expected to soon sign on to an appointment of an already nationally acclaimed Miami University program director to join the National Council of the Humanities.

In the spring Daryl Baldwin, director of Miami University’s Native American Myaamia Center and a winner in 2016 of a $625,000 MacArthur Foundation grant, learned he was one of 16 appointees for the national council.

And the U.S. Senate last week approved his appointment, which now only needs President Biden’s expected approval to become one of the council’s 26 members drawn from throughout the nation.

The former “genius grant” winner said in a released statement his appointment will help expand work locally and nationally in reviving some of America’s original Native American culture.

“Many of the branches within the humanities lie at the heart of our work supporting language and cultural revitalization,” Baldwin said. “I hope that my position on the National Council on the Humanities will increase awareness of the important role the humanities play in the preservation and promotion of Indigenous knowledge, language, culture, and values.”

Miami University is named after the Native American tribe whose members were the original inhabitants of the region and beyond.

Baldwin is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. His forefathers were active in the political affairs of the Miami Nation dating back to the 18th century.

Miami University President Gregory Crawford said of Baldwin’s appointment: “Daryl is truly a thought leader in his field. I am confident that he will provide invaluable insight to this council of inspiring leaders and help to further its mission of celebrating culture, advancing the humanities, and shaping a truly great society.”

Growing community interest for language and cultural education prompted Miami Tribal leaders to approach Miami University in 2001 to create the Myaamia Center. Baldwin was asked to be the founding director.

He will continue to serve as an adjunct assistant professor in educational leadership at Miami where he also serves as co-director of the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages, which is based in the Myaamia Center on the school’s Oxford campus.

The National Endowment for the Humanities chairman is advised by the National Council on the Humanities, a board of 26 distinguished private citizens appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Members serve staggered six-year terms.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

About the Author