Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Meskwaki Nation)

349 Meskwaki Road
Tama, IA  52339

104th Annual Meskwaki Powwow August 9-12, 2018

Tony Waseskuk, Chairman
Adrian Pushetonequa, Vice-Chairman
Delonda Pushetonequa, Treasurer
Jarvis Bear, Member
Harvey Davenport, Jr., Member
Troy Wanatee, Member

The Meskwaki are of the Algonquian origin from the Eastern Woodland culture area.  The language spoken is the same dialect as the Sauk and Kickapoo. The tribe has been historically located in the St. Lawrence River Valley, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa.  The tribe’s first European contact was in 1666.

In 1830 Native Americans and European Settlers started moving into Tama County, Iowa as the Black Hawk War concluded. Relationships were tumultuous at the time. But as a new generation of foreign-born immigrants from German and Czech countries came to Iowa creating the first permanent settlements, relationships developed. Curiosity and a need to understand each other led to settlers learning a little of the Meskwaki language and the Meskwaki learning a little German so they could communicate. Relationships became a two-way street as they enriched each other’s lives in areas such as: harvesting nature, healthcare,  and commerce.

When the federal government mandated the Meskwaki relocate from Iowa to Kansas in 1845, these relationships also led to the settlers of Tama County, Iowa protecting and hiding Meskwaki tribal members. Ultimately the new generation of foreign-born immigrants became prominent men not only within the communities but in the state of Iowa was well. This led Iowa to becoming one of the first states to grant permission for Native Americans to buy land.

In 1857 the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Meskwaki) purchased 80 acres of Tama-land on the bluffs of the Iowa River for its natural beauty and resources, as well as peaceful rural qualities. In recent decades economic development milestones accelerated with the erection of the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel and Convention Center. It is the biggest full service casino in Iowa and the biggest employer in Tama County. Most recently the tribe also acquired Pinnacle Bank and Trust to form the foundation of an economic development diversification portfolio. Today the Tribe owns approximately 7,778 acres and has a sovereign nation and settlement designation making a unique distinction between Meskwaki and most other tribes who live on reservations.

Every year in mid-July the tribes of Northern America gather in Tama County, Iowa for Proclamation Day. Non-tribal members also get a special invitation into the Meskwaki culture the first weekend in August with the annual Pow Wow. Historically this event celebrated the “Green Corn Dance” but today it offers an opportunity to congregate, remember and learn from the past, celebrate traditional regalia, music and dancing, eat traditional foods, shop traditional crafts and extend a hand of friendship.


104th Annual Meskwaki Powwow August 9-12, 2018
Walk Away Inspired & Informed!
Culture plays an important role in our daily lives; however many do not know the history of the Meskwaki Nation, federally recognized as the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. Through exciting and engaging activities, the History Tent, performances and songs, you will learn the story of the Meskwaki Nation at the 104th Annual Powwow during August 9 – 12, 2018. You can pick a day to travel to the Meskwaki Settlement, located 5 miles west of Tama, Iowa where Meskwaki vendors will exhibit their best artwork and crafts. Enjoy your day with a variety of delicious foods, including locally grown produce.
Don’t miss out on this Iowa cultural opportunity that offers great entertainment and hospitality…a historic place where the Meskwaki Nation is fused with traditions grounded in a strong Indigenous heritage.
There is something for everyone!
For more information, contact the Meskwaki Annual Powwow Association at: or   or call (641) 484-4678.

16 Comments on “Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Meskwaki Nation)”

  1. Esther Toney July 23, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    My husbands great-great grandfather was one of the people that started the Tama Settlement. His daughter married my husbands great-great grandmother. His aunt has pictures of the daughter but not her dad the chief. Do you have any pictures of him?

    • Phyllis Kennedy January 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      I’m tracing my Grandmother who was born in Tama in 1898 and who was half Indian. Her Great Great Great (I may have one too many Greats in there) was a full blooded Indian Chief. Her Mother’s name was Mary Madaline Parrish who was born in 1860, Sept. Have you run across any of these names? Mary Parrish’s parents were Isaac Parrish, b 1820, Ohio and Elizabeth Carpenter b 1830, Virginia.

      • Donna Huthceson March 22, 2015 at 2:52 am #

        Phyllis, I have no answer to your question, but would very much like to correspond with you. Isaac and Elizabeth were great great grandparents. My great grandmother was Rachel Parrish (or Parish), an older sister evidently to Mary. Contact me at

  2. Esther Toney July 23, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    It should be great-great-great grandfather. Sorry for the confusion. We also have pictures of his daughters children and one of them he took to the settlement with him because he wanted him to be raised in the Indian culture.

  3. leah moore October 26, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    I used to go to school with danny dean lasley @ riverside indian school. Just wandered if someone could send me some pictures of him. I live in oklahoma city, oklahoma

  4. katherine riddell June 15, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    I have enjoyed reading about your tribe and it’s unique history. We have a week long family reunion in southern Iowa yearly and this year’s theme is Indian tribes and I chose the Meskwaki. I grew up on Campbells Island on the Mississippi so have always been interested in Native American history. My father was from a family of 11 children and all the boys served our country in world war 2. Our family has always been proud of that fact. I read of the 27 men from your tribe in 1941 that confounded the Germans in North Africa. This too was at great sacrifice. Thank you.

  5. Suzanne J. Novotny Svoboda November 21, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    On my fathers family, Stanley Notony, his great grandfather came from Czekoslavakia and married a native american indian woman and they had four sons, Vitus, Vince, Joe, Frank. They also had four daughters, Anna, Frances, Madeline and Julia. How can I locate my native American Indian Great Great Grandmother’s name and her family history?

    My mother’s dad, Harry Haack, my mother’s grandmother’s married last name was Wignall. She was a full blooded Indian and her first name was Zoe. She married into the Wignall family. They had three daughters, Mildred, Nell and Alta. They also had one son (don’t know his name) but he and his wife had two sons called Robert (wife, June) and Melvin (wife, Marcella) Wignall. Is there a way to trace down our Native American Indian heritage from both sides of my parents families. The Novotny’s and the Wignalls. Any information and help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  6. Lea Levis March 8, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    I am looking information on my great grandmother Moon and her son Johnny Littlebear. I am told that Grandmother Moon return to the settlement after Grandpa Levis died.

  7. Susan Jack October 1, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    Looking for any information at all! My great grandfather Tony Jack, was born on a reservation in Tama, Iowa in 1878. He used to say that he was named after a Chief Tony. He was given no middle name. His parents moved to West Virginia shortly after his birth and he lived the rest of his life there. I am trying to find out any information I can. Was there really a Chief Tony? And how is the Jack Family connected to Tama Iowa? Any information is greatly appreciated!

  8. Jennifer Atkins April 7, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    I’m tracing my great grandfather Horace Poweshiek. My grandmothers name was Marie Poweshiek. I’m looking for any information. Thank you to anybody that can help.

    • Mitch golden June 13, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      Jennifer Atkins my name is Mitch Golden in Oklahoma my best friend is Steve Poweshiek . He could probly help you with your search

  9. Michelle Kretchmer November 8, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    Looking for any relationship tied to MELVIN RICHARDSON, from Tama Iowa– my Meskwaki Grandfather who’s father was full blooded Tribesman. Melvin married Ruth Christensen.

    • Alan hempel December 26, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

      My mom family is from Tama would like you to call me at 402-378-5680 or thank you

  10. Seila December 30, 2016 at 5:27 am #

    Looking for any one related to andres docena that lives in az and belongs to the sac and fox tribe

    • Alan Hempel January 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

      Looking for somebody in the Triad with the same last name is Michael I want to get a hold of them

  11. Dee Hall May 10, 2018 at 2:21 pm #

    Looking for ancestors of Bill and John Leaf.

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