MOINES) – Sometimes referred to as the Sac and
Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, the Meskwaki
Nation has adapted, survived and thrived over the
Now, the story of the Meskwaki is available on Meskwaki History, a new interactive CD-ROM created by
the State Historical Society of Iowa in collaboration
with tribal historians. The CD-ROMs cost $19.95 each
and are available at SHSI’s Iowa City office,
402 Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, Iowa 52240 or by calling
“The State Historical Society of Iowa has one
of the richest and most distinctive collections of
materials on the Meskwaki nation in the world,”
said Mary Bennett, special collections coordinator.
“Previous methods for presenting information
on the tribe have typically been through books, media
documentaries or museum exhibitions. This CD creates
a virtual library for anyone to use in a variety of
SHSI partnered with tribal historians, Johnathan Lantz
Buffalo and Dawn Suzanne Wannatee, to create the new
educational tool as a primary and secondary source
about Meskwaki history. Chockfull of information,
the CD contains 1,230 pages of text and documents;
357 images or photographs; 13 film clips; 8 audio
segments; 12 historical maps; artifact images from
SHSI collections; documents such as treaties, census
records and tribal constitution; examples of Meskwaki
language; history and archaeology information; extensive
bibliography of literature relating to the tribe;
a timeline and lesson plans.
“As a learning tool, Meskwaki History
promotes greater awareness and celebration of tribal
heritage while creating a better understanding of
the contributions of the Meskwaki,” Bennett
said. “This sampler brings to the public photographs,
audio clips, movies, documents, maps and artifacts
from the collections of the State Historical Society
of Iowa or the Historical Preservation Office of the
Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa.”
Meskwaki History offers information in the
following subject areas:
Anthology: Selected writings about the Meskwaki, including
observations about the tribe from 1532 to present.
Besides the observations, Johnathan L. Buffalo writes
about baseball, horses, lacrosse games, tribal community
patterns, the Stone House, the treaty of 1842, the
South Farm property, and the powwow through the years.
The CD also includes unpublished papers on William
Jones and education as well as articles published
Artifacts: Artifacts from the collections of SHSI
are displayed in this section, including beadwork,
bows and arrows, breechcloths, wooden spoons and bowls,
yarn sashes, bandolier charm bags, ribbon appliqué,
eagle feather fan, necklaces, pictograph, kettle hooks
and other tools.
Audio: Sound recordings of the Meskwaki language,
lectures and presentations on Meskwaki history, and
other audio selections can be heard in this section.
Census: Census records document the presence of the
tribe in Iowa, including a rare census from about
1840. The federal census records are from 1888, 1910,
1915, 1920, 1934, and 1937 – the census used
to determine tribal enrollment today. There is also
a list of Meskwaki living at the Settlement in 1905.
Culture: There are major sub-categories within this
section, such as History, Settlement, Clothing, Education,
Flag, Food Sources (hunting, gathering, and agriculture),
Medicine, Music, Powwow, Recreation and Games, Trade,
Transportation and Warriors.
Documents: Primary source documents, including the
1857 deed for the land the Meskwaki purchased in Tama
County and the Constitution adopted in 1937. Also
contains treaties for 1804, 1815, 1822, 1824, 1830,
1832, 1836, 1837, 1840, 1842, 1859 and 1867.
Education: History of the Meskwaki struggle for self-determination
in education and photos of the old Sac and Fox School
at the Settlement.
Housing: Explanations of how a wickiup was constructed
and the use of native plants for construction materials
including cattail mats and bulrush mats.
Language: Excerpts from The Autobiography of a Fox
Woman and They Who Chased the Bear offer both the
Meskwaki words and the English language translation.
Listen to audio recording of the spoken words for
numbers, weather and other terms. The Meskwaki alphabet
and a list of commonly used phrases and words also
Maps: A selection of North American maps from the
1600s and 1700s show where the Meskwaki lived and
the various names used for the tribe. Maps also show
land cessions forced by treaty agreements and the
land acquisition pattern at the Settlement in Tama
Movies: Excerpts from 16mm films made by Monroe P.
Killy in 1948 show a woman making fry bread, women
playing a konono game and powwow dancers. Also movie
footage shot by others who visited the powwow in the
1940s and later.
Photographs: Significant collections of historical
images appear here, including the work of Duren H.
Ward, Monroe P. Killy, Josephine Wallace, Robert Campagna
and Joan Liffring-Zug Bourret. Photographs show scenes
at the Settlement, powwow celebrations and portraits
Timeline: A timeline of key events in Meskwaki history
is accompanied by historical images.
Bibliography: A detailed bibliography of literature
on the Sac and Fox of the Mississippi in Iowa.
Lessons: Goals for the project, standards for teaching
history, lesson plans and glossary to assist educators
and students using Meskwaki History.
Meskwaki History was created with support
from SHSI, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs,
Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the
A division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs,
the State Historical Society of Iowa is a trustee
of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate
for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies,
records, collects, preserves, manages and provides
access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual
mission of preservation and education serves Iowans
of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates
information, and encourages and supports historical
preservation and education efforts of others throughout
the state. Please visit www.iowahistory.org
or call 515-281-5111 for more information.
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