How to Contact the Cultural Resources Extension Office

Doug Peconge,



The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) kiihkayonki project facilitates holistic health and cultural learning for the myaamia community, adhering to public health guidelines. The Kiihkayonki ARPA Project team is focused on two projects related to ARPA, community wellness and foods.

Kiihkayonki ARPA Team Members:

Doug Peconge

Kiihkayonki ARPA Project Manager

Doug is a citizen of the Miami tribe of Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Trine University and Western Governors University. Doug has a degree in Engineering along with a degree in information technology with a focus in security. After spending seventeen years in IT, he joined the Cultural Resources Office (CRO) of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma in 2015 to continue his passion for learning the cultural ways of the Tribe and providing opportunities for Tribal citizens living in the Lower Great Lakes to expand their cultural knowledge.   

Doug’s myaamia cultural journey started in the late 90s when Daryl Baldwin introduced the community to the myaamia language. Years later, when his children were attending eewansaapita he became a more involved language learner while volunteering. During this time, Doug also heard from community members wanting more cultural learning for their children and themselves. Understanding the community’s needs, he organized monthly language learning workshops in 2013. Since joining the CRO in 2015 as the Community Programming Manager for the Cultural Resources Extension Office (CREO), Doug has become a community storyteller, a tribal photographer, and a lacrosse stick maker for his community.

In 2021, his role in Kiihkaynoki shifted when the Tribe purchased peehkihkayonki(The beautiful place) on the Northwest side of Fort Wayne, Indiana. As the ARPA Project Manager in Fort Wayne, Doug oversees the 45-acre property and the ARPA project in Fort Wayne. He is working with his kiihkayonki ARPA team to establish goals and plans to assist tribal citizens in food, health, and wellness. He also ensures that the community’s cultural needs are met.

Dani Tippmann

Kiihkayonki ARPA Foods Program Director

Dani is a Miami Tribe of Oklahoma citizen, descended from Takumwah, and Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville. She serves the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma as the Kiihkayonki ARPA Community Food Program Director at the Fort Wayne CREO. Part of her job is installing and maintaining gardens for food production, eliminating invasive plants, and harvesting plants for natural foods and crafts. She enjoys talking about it all with tribal members. 

She has been involved in the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma with projects such as the annual Eewaansaapita experience, which involved cooking and plant knowledge. She was employed as the Whitley County Historical Museum Director for 14 years before starting her current position with the tribe. Her experience includes programming for Miami Days at the Chief Richardville House and as an Indiana Master Naturalist, among many other places. Dani is certified as an ISDH “Morel Mushroom Identification Expert” and an ISDH “Wild Mushroom Expert.” Dani has been interested in gardening, wild plants, and animal usage for most of her life. She regularly harvests fresh roadkill for meat, leather, and feathers!

Claudia Hedeen

Kiihkayonki ARPA MLRP Community Cultural Education and Wellness Coordinator

Claudia is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. She proudly serves her tribe through the Cultural Resources Extension Office (CREO), organizing the means for her tribal community to gather on the MTO property in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In her role, she aspires to infuse the language and material culture of the Myaamia people into the places and activities shared through the CREO.

In addition to her work through the MTO, Claudia has represented indigenous voices for local PBS projects and serves as a docent of the Chief Richardville House in Fort Wayne. She also welcomes the public to events at the Chief’s House (former home of Chief LaFontaine) on the Forks of the Wabash in Huntington, IN. Descending from families of both historic homes, she is honored to have the opportunity to represent both her immediate and extended tribal families in so many ways.

Claudia holds an associate degree in liberal arts, focusing her formal education on foreign languages, including German, Russian, and Spanish. She has completed 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Pranayoga Institute, where she currently serves as an instructor and attends courses to achieve credentials as a certified yoga therapist. She hopes to contribute her enthusiasm for language and her knowledge of therapeutic movement and health to promote the well-being of the Myaamia people.

Kirk Strass

Kiihkionki ARPA Property Maintenance Specialist 

Kirk is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. He worked for the City of Huntington for 38 years and retired as their wastewater treatment plant superintendent. Following his retirement, he worked for the Huntington Public Library for seven years as facility maintenance. Kirk started working for the Tribe in 2022, and the Cultural Resources Extension Office (CREO) is fortunate to have someone with a lifetime of experience to maintain the facilities and grounds at peehkihkionki (the Beautiful Place). Kirk has been involved in Falconry for over twelve years. He is currently training a young redtail hawk. He is also an avid hunter and fisherman. Kirk helps at CREO events by assisting our tribal youth in learning how to fish.

Health and Wellness

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Kiihkayonki team is responsible for providing community members access to a physical and virtual environment that promotes physical and mental wellness through both indoor and outdoor activities. Programs presented to the community to meet these goals are created with a Myaamia cultural focus.

Food Programs

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Kiihkayonki team provides opportunities to practice home and community garden methods of growing, processing, and distributing which will allow sustainable food production for community members. These efforts are designed to inspire cultural reconnection to the land and seasons through gardening and foraging.

Peehkihkionki 'The Beautiful Place'

What can I do at Peehkihkionki?

The Cultural Resources Extension Office (CREO) hosts multiple events throughout the year, there are always opportunities for Tribal citizens to visit and enjoy peehkihkionki 'the beautiful place' beyond those events. Check out the list below of some of the things you can do at Peehkihkionki. 

Athletics and Sportsman 
  • Disc golf 
  • Lacrosse 
  • Fishing 
  • Camping 
  • Self-guided nature walks 
  • Bird watching 
  • Photography 
Community gatherings 
  • Invasive species removal 
  • Help with the community garden 
  • Crafting 
  • Storytelling 
  • Stomp Dance
  • Culturally focused guided nature walks
  • Maple sugaring 
  • Cooking 
  • Seenseewinki 'Bowl Game'
  • Mahkisina meehkintiinki 'Moccasin Game'
  • MTOK information assistance
  • Reconnecting with myaamiaki 'Miami people'

Wildlife at Peehkihkionki

As tribal citizens walk the trails and around the pond at peehkihkionki they will notice the extensive wildlife that calls this place home. The list below is a sample of what tribal citizens will see when they visit peehkihkionki. 

In the Woods and all around the property
  • Wild turkey 
  • Cormorant
  • Woodpecker
  • Cardinals
  • Crows
  • Kingfisher
  • Flycatcher
  • Mourning doves
  • Red-tailed hawks
  • Bats
  • Monarch butterfly
  • Viceroy butterfly
  • Garter snakes
  • Crawfish
  • Snails
  • Salamander
  • Deer
  • Opossum
  • Raccoons
  • Rabbits 
Pond Life
  • Herron 
  • Painted Turtles  
  • Bass 
  • Canada Geese
  • Bluegill
  • Snapping turtles
  • Frogs
  • Muskrats
  • Water Snakes
  • Grebe
  • Wood Ducks
  • Mallard DucksWhite egret 

Trails at Peehkihkionki

There are 2 miles of trails for tribal citizens to enjoy. These trails consist of maintained mowed paths that are generally flat and easy to walk. Trails highlight landscapes, including the 13-acre woods, open prairie areas, and a picturesque pond. The trails are open year-round, so come prepared for the weather with boots and a jacket. Sakia get hungry during the summer, so bring your mosquito spray. 

Cultural Programming

The Cultural Resources Extension Office (CREO) in Kiihkayonki supports the efforts of the eemawiciki cultural education office. The CREO works with the eemawiciki cultural education office and the Myaamia Center at Miami University to bring cultural learning opportunities to the myaamiaki living in the Lower Great Lakes region.  

   The CREO staff promotes cultural knowledge in the community through activities such as hikes, stomp dancing, winter storytelling, cooking, lacrosse, and workshops (cordage, finger weaving, elm bark baskets…). 


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