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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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Meskwaki Nation to celebrate Proclamation Day


by Jenny Welp - Marshalltown (IA) Times-Republican


credits: photo: A color guard opens the ceremonies at the 80th Annual Meskwaki Indian Pow Wow in Tama in 1995. Photo by Catherine Hiebert Kerst


A color guard opens the ceremonies at the 80th Annual Meskwaki Indian Pow Wow in Tama in 1995. Photo by Catherine Hiebert KerstThe Meskwaki Nation invites the public to a powwow Tuesday through Thursday in recognition of the tribe's Proclamation Day.

The holiday recognizes the anniversary of July 13, 1857, when the tribe purchased the first piece of land in the area of Iowa now known as the Meskwaki Settlement.

The tribe originally lived in the St. Lawrence River Valley that is now the east coast of Canada. Over the years, the tribe was forced by wars, treaties and other means to move west to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas.

"On July 13, we said enough; this is where we want to stay," said Johnathan Buffalo, tribal historian.

While tribal members were in Wisconsin, the French declared a holy war on them that led to their genocide, according to Buffalo. He said it was in Iowa that they found refuge and safety.

However, a treaty in the 1840s required tribal members to move to Kansas. Buffalo said they went but could not find happiness in the plains.

"We just wanted to go back home, which is the woodlands," he said.

Iowa has been a nice place to live, according to Buffalo. He said the foreign-born Americans who immigrated to the state around the 1850s were more neighborly than those in other parts of the country whose families had been there for generations.

"Their first reaction seeing us wasn't to shoot us," he said.

Proclamation Day is a time for all Americans to appreciate their rights to own land and feel safe in their homes, according to Buffalo.

The intertribal powwow will be Tuesday at 1 and 7 p.m., Wednesday at noon and 7 p.m. and Thursday at noon. Admission costs $10 for all three days or $5 per day.

The event will be at the powwow grounds, located four miles west of Tama on Highway E-49.

"In one way, we're a very ancient people," Buffalo said. "We have a lot of history - a lot of events that changed the direction of our movement - and we remember those."

Tama IA insert map here

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