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MESKWAKI NATION - ABOUT US

History

meswaki tribe - history of sac & fox tribe of the mississippi in iowa

“Let me go back and take one drink more from the old spring.”
 

Meskwaki Women 1845.

Meskwaki: A Brief History

The Meskwaki people (sometimes spelled “Mesquakie”) are of Algonquian origin from the Eastern Woodland Culture areas. The Meskwaki spoken language is of similiar dialect to the Sauk and Kickapoo and they are working hard to maintain it.

The tribe has been historically located in the St. Lawrence River Valley, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. Meskwaki were called “Renards” (the Fox) by the French, but have always identified themselves as “Meskwaki”. The Meskwaki fought against the French in what are now called the Fox Wars (1701-1742) and in 1735, the Sauk and Meskwaki allied together to fend off Europeans and other Indian Tribes. Both tribes moved southward from Wisconsin into Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. Even though the Meskwaki and Sauk are two distinct tribal groups, with linguistic and cultural similarities, the two tribes have often been associated throughout history.

After the Black Hawk War of 1832, the United States officially combined the two tribes into a single group known as the Sac & Fox Confederacy for treaty-making purposes. Through a series of land concessions in 1845 under the name of “Sac & Fox”, the Sauk and Meskwaki formally lost all lands and were removed to a reservation in east central Kansas (although some persevered and chose to stay). After their banishment to Kansas, Meskwaki ancestors longed to reclaim their Iowa woodland homeland. Choosing to remain, some stayed hidden in Iowa, while others left for the Kansas reservation only to journey back to Iowa over the next few years. Throughout, there was an unbroken presence in Iowa and by 1856, the State of Iowa enacted a law allowing the continued residence of the tribe.

On July 13, 1857, the Meskwaki formally purchased their first 80 acres in Tama County, which gave formal federal identity to the Meskwaki people as the “Sac & Fox In Iowa”. Then 10 years later, in 1867, the United States government allowed the Meskwaki living in Iowa to receive federal annuity payments for the first time. This unique identity (that of unclear jurisdictional status since the tribe had formal federal recognition but also continuing relations with the State of Iowa due to the tribe’s private ownership of land) allowed the Meskwaki people to be virtually ignored by federal as well as state policies. Always persevering, this gave them time to return, thrive and grow.

Every year between 1857 and 1866, different groups of Meskwaki returned to the Settlement, with the majority coming to the area after 1862. The tribe traded 130 trees to obtain funds to purchase another parcel of 40 acres in January 1867. This expanded the Meskwaki Settlement to almost 3,000 acres.

By generating income through trapping and by accumulating annuity payments, the tribe was able to purchase additional land between 1867 and 1901.

During this 30 year time period, the Meskwaki people were able to live a more independent lifestyle than other tribes confined to regular reservations strictly regimented by federal authority.

Seeking to resolve this ambiguity, the State of Iowa ceded to the Federal Government all jurisdiction over the Meskwaki. Today, this outdated federal law still acts as a deterent to sovereignty for the Meskwaki, but is in the final processes of being repealed this year.

Because their ancestors had the tenacity and foresight to purchase their land, the Meskwaki Settlement is not an Indian Reservation. It was not set apart from the public domain and reserved for Indians. It is private purchased property, a sovereign nation.

Owing to the noble sacrifices and vision of their ancestors, the Meskwaki continued to thrive and grow over the years on their purchased land.

In 1987, the Meskwaki purchased additional ground, expanding their holdings to 7,054 acres, acquiring land towards the north. Powwow celebrations, however, continue to be held on traditional grounds to the south.

Today, the Meskwaki continue to purchase land as opportunities for economic diversification arise. They currently own more than 8,100 acres in Tama, Marshall and Palo Alto County.

The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa is the only federally recognized Indian tribe in Iowa. They have their own constitution, codified laws, 13 full-time police officers and a fully functioning court system. They have nearly 1400 enrolled tribal members and are the largest employer in Tama County, employing more than 1200 people.

The Meskwaki Nation has been working to improve housing, infrastructure and improve modern amenities over the years including beginning their own fiber optic network. Tribal activities at the Settlement shifted to the north after the relocation of Highway 30, where the Meskwaki Bingo, Casino & Hotel, Meskwaki Settlement School, Meskwaki Health Clinic, Meskwaki Business Center and newer housing additions are situated.

Over the last 10 years, the tribe has purchased Pinnacle Bank, built a new Meskwaki Travel Plaza and created the Natural Resources and Buffalo Wildlife Project. They opened Meskwaki, Inc. and their subsidiaries, an economic diversification project working to create sustainable business opportunities for the Tribe. In 2013, as part of the Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative, they launched Red Earth Gardens, a 40-acre self-sustaining farm. The Meskwaki Nation is working to build a better life for their community members through family service programs and support like MADAC, Historic Preservation and Higher Education.

By adapting, surviving and thriving, The People Of The Red Earth are working hard to determine the needs within their community. They are committed to protecting their inherent sovereignty, preserving and promoting their culture, and improving the quality of life for future generations.

Their mission: “To rely on the knowledge and experiences of the past, along with the will to survive to advance the people, culture and well-being of the Meskwaki Nation.”

“Visit the Iowa State Historical Society’s Meskwaki History site HERE.”
 


Meskwaki Nation’s Proclamation Day

On May 27, 1992 the Tribal Council passed a resolution marking the date of July 13th as an official Meskwaki National Holiday …

Whereas, the Mesquaki Nation of Iowa were the only Indian Tribe to purchase land in Iowa for the establishment of the Mesquaki Indian Settlement on July 13, 1857, and

Whereas, the Mesquaki Nation of Iowa is forever grateful for the foresight and spirit that the tribal leaders who purchased the original lands had for the future of the Mesquaki Nation, and

Whereas, the Mesquaki Nation of Iowa shall always recognize the significant contribution of the original founders and families of the Mesquaki Indian Settlement, and

Whereas, the Mesquaki Nation of Iowa has been and will be able to thrive on their original homelands comprising the Mesquaki Indian Settlement due to the original founders and families who purchased the land, and

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Tribal Council of the Mesquaki Nation of Iowa hereby proclaim the date of July 13, 1857 as a significant date in the Tribe’s history and the Mesquaki Nation will always honor the significant contribution the original founders and families made for the tribe by declaring this date a Meskwaki National Holiday from this date forward, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Tribal Chairman and the Tribal Secretary are hereby authorized to sign this proclamation.

CERTIFICATION

We do hereby certify that the foregoing proclamation was duly presented and acted upon by a vote of 4 for and 0 against, at a regular meeting of the Mesquaki Tribal Council, a quorum being present, and held on May 27, 1992, at the Mesquaki Indian Settlement, Tama, Iowa

Signed

Keith C. Davenport, Tribal Chairman
Harvey Davenport, Jr., Tribal Secretary

What we celebrate today is the end result of a policy that was begun by our People to have a home in order to grow crops, raise children and practice our own Meskwaki religion without interference. We honor our grandfathers and grandmothers who came here, fought to stay, and endured the deprivations that now, more than a century later, seem far away. The annual celebration on July 13th provides the Tribe, its friends, and surrounding community a chance to reflect on this great shared history and an opportunity to communicate our values and pride to the children.


A Narrative of Chronology and Perspectives
On the Removal and Return of the Meskwaki to Iowa

1839-1857
Chronology and Perspectives

“Let me go back and take one drink more from the old spring.”
 

Meskwaki Women 1845.

On May 27, 1992 the Tribal Council passed a resolution marking the date of July 13 as the Proclamation Holiday. What we celebrate today is the end result of a policy that was begun by our People to have a home in order to grow their crops, raise their children and practice their own Meskwaki religion without interference. We honor our grandfathers and grandmothers who came here, fought to stay and endured the deprivations that now, more than a century later, seem far away.

****

After the Black Hawk War of 1831 the Sac & Fox ceded their lands west of the Mississippi River. Not waiting for the expiration of the June 1, 1833 deadline for the removal of the Sac and Fox from the area, white settlers began crossing the river to squat on Sac & Fox lands. By 1839, the U.S. Congress was petitioned by delegates from Iowa Territory for the removal of the Sac and Fox Tribes to out “west.” The Commissioner of Indian Affairs acknowledged the necessity of such movement. The failed 1840 treaty negotiation was the first attempt by the U.S. to remove the Sac and Fox Tribes out of their lands.

1839- “Among these Indians and along the bank of the Iowa River was Poweshiek’s village. He moved up stream and made another home; but before setting out on the journey the squaws of the tribe waited to bid farewell to their old home and their dead who were buried near by. There was a great moaning and wailing and chanting, for Indian women do not weep as white women do; and the white men who were near at that time have said that it was a sad departure.”

-Eye-Witness

Clarence Ray Aurner. Iowa Stories. 1920.
1840- “The Governor told them that it was not the wish of the President that they should go to Washington. If they wish to sell their lands, agents will be appointed so that the treaty may be made on their own grounds. They replied that they did not wish to sell any more lands, that they now owned was very small compared to what they once had….In reply to a statement made by the Governor that the President would not wish to buy unless they would sell all, they shrewdly said they were very glad to hear that the President did not wish to buy, the land is there, it will remain, it is not going to run away, when they all get ready to sell it will be time enough.”

– Eye-Witness Eye-Witness, Failed 1840 Treaty Negotiations.

“Council with the Sac and Fox Indians in 1840.” Iowa Journal of History and Politics. Vol. 15. 1917.

1841- “The citizens of the Territory have a right to expect that, its growth will not long be retarded by the occupancy of so large and valuable tract of land within its limits by a people not amenable to their laws, whose wild and savage character render them dangerous neighbors.”

-Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

“John Beach and the Removal of the Sauk and Fox From Iowa.” Donald J. Berthrong. Iowa Journal of History and Politics. Vol. 54. 1956.
Again in 1841 Iowa Territory Governor John Chambers was trying to negotiate a removal treaty with the Sac and Fox. The “offer” from the Government was that the Tribes would sell their lands in exchange for a reservation in present day Minnesota. Not wishing to reside so close to the Sioux, the Sac and Fox Tribes refused. Wapello stated to the commissioners that “it is impossible for us to subsist where you wish us to go.” In the end the Sac & Fox Agent Beach made it clear he had little hope of ever removing the tribes to the northern area.
In 1842 a new round of treaty negotiations was placed before the Sac and Fox. Sac & Fox Agent Beach cautioned the government not to insist on the northern lands as a place for removal. Therefore this time the offer was for them to sell their lands in exchange for a reservation at Kansas.

1842- “At the time we were here last fall we had brought a part of the Sioux country on the St. Peter River and you remember we wanted you to go there. But the great council rejected the treaty and put it away. We now have no land there, if we wished it and you were willing to go. But you were not willing to go then.”

– Iowa Territory Governor Chambers.

Wapello Chief. A Tale of Iowa. Francis Roy Moore. 1938.

1842- “We believe it not only impossible but impolitic to civilize them. They are happier as they are and we should regret any attempt to interfere with their domestic policy. Place them beyond the corrupting influences of white settlement, keep from them that destroyer of human happiness among all colors, the death dealing “fire water”, and government will then have conferred the blessing upon the Indians, and the only one for which they will feel thankful….The Indians had difficulty in bringing their minds to part with their lands, and several days and nights were spent in anxious deliberation before they gave a final answer. This was a natural feeling, and one that did credit to their hearts. They were asked to part with the last of their earthly possessions, to abandon the graves of their fathers and remove to a new and distant country.”

– Eye-Witness, Treaty Negotiations.

“The Sac and Fox Indians and the Treaty of 1842.” Iowa Journal of History and Politics. Vol. 10. 1912.

1842- “On the opposite side sat Poweshiek, the head chief of the Foxes, backed in semicircles by the prominent chiefs of his tribe. His appearance is not so striking as Keokuk’s but there is something in his countenance which denotes a warm heart. One expression of his we well remember. Speaking to the Agent of having to leave the land they had sold to the United States, he said he “knew it was right that they should leave, but, says he, there will be crying in the bottoms.” How natural the expression of the old chief. Here was the land where their fathers had lived for ages and here rested the bones of some of their greatest chiefs and most renowned warriors for whom it was fit that there should be crying in the bottoms. Several chiefs spoke upon the subject of their leaving and other connected with their tribe, but Poweshiek’s regret still hung upon our memory.”

-Leland T. Mitchell Eye-Witness.

“Crying in the Bottoms.” The Palimpsest. 26. 1945.

1842, Oct. 11- “The Sacs and Foxes agree that they will remove to the west side of the line running north and south from the painted rocks on the White Breast, on or before the first of May next, and that soon after the president shall have assigned them a residence upon the waters of the Missouri as their chiefs shall consent to do so, the tribe will remove to the land so assigned them; and if they do not remove before the expiration of the term of three years, they will then remove at their own expense.”

-Treaty, Article III.

“Treaty with the Sauk and Foxes, Oct. 11, 1842.” Kappler, Charles J., Charles J. Kappler. Indian Affairs, Laws and Treaties. Vol. II. 1904.

In 1843 the Sac and Fox villages had to remove to the western part of the land cession.

1843- “I had a great desire to witness the departure of the Indians, as I felt it to be the last departure of the red man of the forest…The most noted feature of the act of breaking camp and packing up was the silent and systematic action of the whole tribe.”

A.C. Fulton.

Ambrose Cowperthwait Fulton. A Lifes Voyage. 1898.

1843- “A solemn silence pervaded the Indian camp; the faces of their stoutest men were bathed in tears and when their cavalcade was put in motion, toward the setting sun, there was a spontaneous outburst of frantic grief.”

Witness.

History of Tama County. 1883.

1844, Sept. 27- “ The Sacs and Foxes have manifested no discontent in their change of residence, though a small band of Foxes returned last winter to their old village on the Iowa river, and became so troublesome to the white inhabitants on the Iowa and Cedar that it was found necessary to compel them to return within their proper boundary by a military force from Fort Des Moines…These people will, I think, with few exceptions, cheerfully remove from the country, they have ceded to the government when the time arrives at which they have agreed to do so.”

– Iowa Territory Governor John Chambers.

Executive Document. 2rd Sess. 28th Cong. 463.

1845, Spring- “our Indian neighbors… have conducted themselves with more than ordinary propriety during the last winter and present spring. The Sacs and Foxes, with a few exceptions among the latter, give strong assurances of their intention to remove next autumn from the western part of the lands ceded by them to the United States by the treaty of October, 1842. Their removal will open an extensive, fertile and beautiful portion of the Territory to immediate settlement.”

-Territorial Secretary.

Journal of the Seventh Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa, 1845.

1845, May 18- “If the tribe was rid of Wolf Skin and Crow of the Fox band, there would be no jealousy or collision among them and the Sacs, those fellows ought be closely watched about the time of removal or they will carry off a good many of the Foxes and render them troublesome.”

– John Chambers, Iowa Territory Governor.

“Indian Letters of Governor Chambers.” Iowa Journal of History and Politics. Vol. 19, 1921.

1845, June 4- “You will see from the difficulties among the Foxes about their removal, which I have several times suggested to you as probable are beginning to develop themselves and I incline to think are more matured than Capt. Beach supposes…you will pardon me for saying perhaps repeating that the Fox chief Poweshiek and his braves Wolf Skin and Crow ought in case of opposition to the removal of the tribe be promptly seized and secured so as to make their removal certain, the rest of the band would then cease to resist.”

– John Chambers, Iowa Territory Governor.

“Indian Letters of Governor Chambers.” Iowa Journal of History and Politics. Vol. 19, 1921.

On June 11, 1845, the ceded 1842 lands west of the Red Rocks were attached to Iowa Territory.

In September of 1845 1,207 Sauk started for Kansas.

1845, Sept. 1- “The Sacs, under the good management of Keokuck, are only awaiting their payment, now soon to take place in order to commence their journey. The Foxes are less satisfied with the idea of leaving the country, to which from long possession they have naturally become much attached, still from the best means which I now have of forming my opinion, I believe that the principal men, aware of the fact that they must move are fully intending and expecting to go without opposition and I am therefore led to hope that the whole nation will be started without difficulty.”

John Beach, Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1846

1845, Sept. 6- I send you with this annual report of Captain John Beach, US agent for the Sac and Fox Indians…He informs me that he has some fears that a part of the Foxes may make a show of refusing to remove with the others, but thinks they will yield when they see the others going and are made to understand they will be compelled to go.

-John Chambers Iowa Territory Governor

Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1846

1845, Sept. 28- “The time stipulated by the treaty of October, 1842, with the Sacs and Foxes for their final removal from lands ceded by them to United States, will expire on the 11th of next month and already a part of the Sacs led by their energetic and talented chief, Keokuck are on their way to the lands west of the Missouri, which have been designated for their future residence and my most recent information from their agency at Raccoon river creates some doubt whether the Foxes will not give trouble before they can be induced to follow their confederates.”

John Chambers Iowa Territory Governor

Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1846

On Oct. 8, 1845, 1,271 Meskwaki leave the agency for Kansas. By the end of the year four-fifths of the Meskwaki were still in Iowa. A year later in Oct. 1846 only 847 Meskwaki were at the Kansas reservation to receive their annuity payments. The 424 missing Meskwaki were scattered in Iowa.

1845- “Who shall ever recount the sorrows and anguish of these people, while they formed in line of march, and turned their eyes for the last time upon the scenes that had been all the world to them. What mattered it though they realized all the pangs their natures were capable of, in those parting hours, with the uncomfortable promises that the ploughshare of civilization would level down graves of their fathers, before their retreating footprints had been obliterated from the trail which led them sadly away…The trying hour in the lives of these Indian people had come and the long cavalcade moved along the line of westward march…while bitter tears were flowing and loud lamentations gave evidence of the grief that would not be repressed and each in turn as preparations were complete would lift the papoose basket with its young soul to altitudes of mother’s back or horse’s saddle and then with trembling limbs climb to their seats and join the sad procession, adding what of woful wailing seemed necessary… though in the memory of those who beheld it, it may live as long as the throbs of sympathy which it kindled shall repeat themselves in hearts that feel for human sorrow.”

-Hon. A.B. Meacham, Witness to Meskwaki removing to Kansas.

Wigwam and War-Path. Hon. A.B. Meacham. 1875.

By the end of 1845 the Commissioner of Indian Affairs W. Medill informed the President that the Sac and Foxes were now on their way to Kansas and concluded the removal as a success.

1845, Nov. 25- “The Sacs and Foxes, according to the stipulations of the treaty entered into with them on the 11th October, 1842, to remove to their new homes, in a country to be set apart for them, within three years from the date thereof, have commenced their emigration. This was much to be desired, as the incursion upon them by whites rendered a change of location highly necessary, calculated as it must be to render the situation more advantageous to themselves. Faithful to these obligations, these people…fully understanding the benefits which must naturally follow such a course, have taken up their march for the country assigned them for their future homes…About twenty-two hundred of them have removed at different times, according to the accounts received from Captain John Beach, the agent in charge; Powsheik and his band of Foxes, being the last who were reported to be encamped on the banks of the Raccoon river and who were expected to cross the Missouri by the 11th of October”

-W. Medill, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1846.

Some Meskwaki escaped to Boone County near present –day Madrid. A company of dragoons were sent to capture and escort them to Kansas. A stone tablet was found years later.

1845, Dec. 10- “Found 200 Indians hid on and around this mound. They cried, No Go! No Go!, But we took them to Fort Dodge.”

-Lt. R.S. Granger.

Stone Tablet. Historical Museum, Madrid, Iowa.

1845, Dec. 11- In accordance with the stipulations contained in the treaty negotiated by my predecessor in office in 1842, the Sac and Fox Indians early in the past fall, quietly and peaceably abandoned the whole of the country owned and occupied by them in Iowa and proceeded to the new home provided for them by the government lying South and West of the Missouri.”

– James Clarke, Governor of Iowa Territory.

“Governors Message.” Burlington Hawk-Eye. Dec. 11, 1845.

By the beginning of the New Year, newspapers began announcing that the Sac and Meskwaki had been removed.

1846, Jan. 1- “The Sacs and Foxes have been removed to their new home west of the Missouri.”

Wisconsin Newspaper.

“Removal of the Sacs and Foxes” Madison Express. Jan. 1, 1946.

1846, Feb. 23- “First Lieut. Grier, Commanding Allen’s Company, 1st Dragoons, will as early as practicable, take up his line of march from Fort Des Moines for Fort Leavenworth escorting all the Fox Indians, who have not left the Territory of Iowa, in accordance with their treaty stipulations of October 1842, to their permanent homes, as designated by the President of the United States.”

-Orders

“Fort Des Moines, No. 2.” Annals of Iowa, Vol. 4, 1899.

But on March, 1846, the Dragoons were still escorting Meskwaki stragglers out of Iowa. On March 7, 1846 Lieut. Noble escorted over two lodges of Meskwaki to Kansas. A few days later on March 10, Lieutenant Grier with Co. 1 marched 300 stragglers out of Iowa. Between 1846 and 1854 Meskwaki bands kept returning to Iowa or remained hidden within its borders. With the constant returning and removal of the Meskwaki a dated return cannot be determined but there is documented evidence of a constant presence of Meskwaki in Iowa from 1846 to 1857.

1846- “It is understood that Capt. Allen’s company of dragoons, which has been for the last three years at Fort Des Moines, at the mouth of the Raccoon, has been ordered to Ft. Leavenworth, with instructions to see to the removal to the Kansas country of all the Sac and Fox Indians who have not gone thither. These Indians by a treaty made in1832, agreed to remove south of the Missouri by October 1845, but as yet more than six hundred have complied with the treaty stipulation. Some fifteen hundred yet remain on their old haunting ground.”

-News Paper

“Military Movements” Independent American and Gereral. Apr. 10, 1846.

1846- “Pow-e-shiek came with his band to visit his old home…From this outpost we descired the bands of piebald ponies and then the curling smoke and next the poles of his wick-e-ups and soon we saw Pow-e-shiek coming to make known his wish that he might be permitted to pasture his stock on the fields which we had already robbed of corn…The winter passed and our red neighbors had kept their promise, although neither the granary nor any other building was ever locked, nothing had been missed and our mutual regard seemed stronger than when acquaintance was renewed. When spring had fully come, Pow-e-shiek punctual to his promise broke up his camp and went away.”

-Hon. A.B. Meacham.

Wigwam and War-Path. Hon. A.B. Meacham. 1875.

1846- “The eager strife of the whites to gain possession of the country just left by the Indians, bears a most striking contrast to the slow and reluctant step of the recent owners in leaving their native groves and prairies and all the scenery associated with past joys, for a distant, an unknown and undesired country. Many of them were seen in companies of twenties or perhaps fifties, floating in their light canoes, down the swift current of the Des Moines, as if the stream of time were hurrying them into the gulf of oblivion, and yet, they could not fail to stop in this well-remembered spot, to take a few more fish, or to go ashore and pass the night in some old grove which had often sheltered them, and was still far more hospitable and grateful to them than the dwellings of their pale-faced supplanters; or to linger awhile about some place consecrated by the ashes of departed friends and then pass on to look upon it again no more forever. And yet must these slight transgressions be regarded with a jealous eye, and visited with rebuke or even insult by their ruthless dispossessors? Alas for the heartlessness of my countrymen! May God forgive them! It is not true, that the wandering, unlettered man whom we thoughtlessly call savage, cares not for his home. There are strings in his bosom which have never been touched by the cold hand of avarice, nor rent asunder in the hot pursuit of pleasure or fashion. They will vibrate most vigorously at any sound that resembles home. Says one, the wife of a chief, as she was hurried away, ‘Oh! Let me go back and take one drink more from the old spring.’ And yet these sensitive, immortal beings are to be driven into a distant wilderness, by a christian nation.”

-Rev. B.A. Spaulding

Rev. B.A. Spaulding. “The Exiled Indians.” The Home Missionary. Vol. 18. 1846.

At this time the Meskwaki were meeting different Germanic immigrant groups such as the Swedish, German, Danish and Norwegian. The Meskwaki called them “Catfish People” for their whiskers around their mouth. These people treated them fairly and ten years later supported their remaining in Iowa.

1848, June 3- “About two months ago more than thirty Indians passed through our city in order to settle farther west. They were oddly dressed, brown in color, the men were tall but the women were small. The men were armed with small bore rifles. They had adorned themselves by painting their faces with red ocher and blue. The chiefs were with them and stood out above the others by their feathers and beads which hung about their necks and heads. On the whole they looked pretty wild. That was also evident from their very strange language.”

H. Hospers. Dutch Immigrant.

Stellingweff, Johan. Iowa letters: Dutch Immigrants on the American Frontier.

1848, July, 26- “We have just been informed by a gentleman from the west that a body of Indians to the number of fourteen hundred warriors belonging to eight different tribes, principally Sacs and Foxes, have left their homes on the Missouri and came over into the State and settled down in Poweshiek country..”

Newspaper.

“Indian Disturbances” Racine Advocate. July 26, 1948.

In 1848, a U.S. geological party was robbed by Sioux Indians in Northern Iowa along the Des Moines River. The bewildered party met a camp of Meskwaki who helped them with provisions and send them on their way.

1848- July 26- “Mr. A. Randall of the U.S. Geological Corps, accompanied by his assistant Maj. M. Dagger…encountered a large party of the Sissiton Sioux Indians, who robbed him of his horses, clothing, provisions and every thing except his papers…His sufferings would have been insupportable had he not met, on the evening of the second day, with a camp of Fox Indians-which belong on the Osage river west of the Missouri- from whom he obtained a miserable pony capable of packing the little left by the Indians…It is the opinion of Mr. Randall that our Government will have trouble in keeping the Fox Indians at their new home, as they are much dissatisfied with it.”

Prairie Du Chien Newspaper.

“Perilous Expedition,” The Patriot. July 26, 1848.

1849- “Great excitement prevailed amongst the citizens of Iowa, Tama and Benton counties, owning to a large body of Sac and Fox Indians, seven or eight hundred in number, under the lead of the chiefs Powseheik, Shanonie and Peta-co-tah, having returned from lands allotted to them west of the Missouri River, and taken possession of the country lying north of Marengo on the Iowa Rive, their chief village being at what is since called Indian Town. Three companies of troops –as follows: Company E and Company C, 6th U.S. Infantry and Company B, 2d U.S. Dragoons were ordered from Fort Snelling to remove these Indians and deliver them to the commanding officer at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.”

– William Williams, Army Sutler.

The Annals of Iowa. Vol. 7, 1869.

1850, May- Dispatched from Fort Snelling, Minnesota, Brevet Major Samuel Wood and Company E, 6th U. S. Infantry disembarked the steamboat Highland Mary at Muscatine, Iowa. Traveling overland to the Des Moines River and arrived near the mouth of Lizard Creek in mid summer. Under the direction of Brevet Major Lewis A. Armistead began construction of a new fort. Their duties included protecting settlers in northern Iowa from the Sioux and assist in removal the Meskwaki who had come back or remained in Iowa.

1850, May, 30- “Two companies of U.S. Infantry and one of Dragoons with all their equipments, arrived at Galena on the 13th from above. The Jeffersonian states that they are to proceed to the southwestern part of Iowa to capture the fugitive Sac, Fox and Winnebago Indians, who have wandered back to their old hunting grounds. Lieut Cotter commands the expedition.”

-News Paper

Kenosha Democrat. May 30, 1850.

1850, July 18- “There is an encampment of three or four hundred Sacs and Foxes near town. On the preceding Tuesday about 70 warriors made a grand entrée on horseback and painted and after marching through the principal streets, shouting and singing as they proceeded to the public square, and in the presence of two or three hundred citizens, displayed the light fantastic toe for about an hour on the greensward.”

-Iowa Newspaper.

The Iowa Indians, A Brief History. Thomas Peter Christensen. 1954.

1850, Spring- “Great excitement prevailed amongst the frontier setters in Johnson, Iowa and Tama Counties owing to the return of a large body of Sac & Fox Indians who under the lead of their Chiefs Pow-a-sheik, Sham-o-nie, Pete-co-tah and Kin-e-saw, who had returned from Kansas and taken possession of the country lying North of Morango on the Iowa river, their chief village being at what has since been known as Indian town on the Iowa river…Pow-a-sheik and his followers were stubborn and believing they were sufficiently strong to hold the country which they claimed, threatened resistance. For the purpose of removing them three Companies of U.S troops were ordered from Fort Snelling Minnesota, with orders to remove them peaceably if possible and forcibly if necessary.”

– William Williams, Army Sutler.

Memories of William Williams, 1861c.

1850, June & July- “When attending to the removal of the Sac & Fox Indians located at Indian Town on the Iowa River, after the troops arrived, time was given the Indians to get ready to march to Kansas. The officers of our detachment talked frequently with their leading men amongst the number in their camp or village.”

– William Williams, Army Sutler.

Memories of William Williams, 1861c.

1851, March 3 – “Parties of Sac and Fox Indians are again returning upon the settlements of Iowa has been submitted to the general commanding the Department. It is his order that you immediately dispatch Maj. Armstead with a detachment of about forty men from your command to expel the Indians that have already returned and prevent any further input…adopt energetic measures to accomplish the desired object.”

-Assistant Adjutant General.

“Dispatch from St. Louis.”

By 1852 petitions on behalf of the Tribe began circulate in Iowa.

1852, Feb 5- “At a meeting of the citizens of Marion held on the 5th day of February, A.D. 1852, We the undersigned would recommend to the Citizens Generally, that these Indians be permitted to Remain in the Country unmolested until such time as they can Petition the Governor for Relief or that Some action be taken on their behalf.”

-Marion Resolution.

“Marion Resolution.” Iowa State Historical Society.

1852- “To the Honorable The Congress of the United States of America the Undersigned, Your Petitioners, respectfully represent that they are citizens of the State of Iowa and residence on the lands formerly held and owned by that tribe of Indians called Musquaque, composed of the Sacs and Fox Tribes. That, many of the Indians since they were removed by the government have returned to their old hunting grounds among us, that they are fast wasting away, that their children die off rapidly, that they have not sufficient force to sustain themselves against their more powerful neighbors by which they are surrounded, and they represent also that they are disposed to turn their attention to agriculture, and are particularly anxious to be allowed a grant of land sufficient for that purpose some where on the waters of the Red Cedar inespectfully ask that they may be gratified in this behalf, and that the government extend to them all the favor which their necessity demand, and particularly they be allowed to gave on some terms a residence within the limits of the State of Iowa, on the unsold lands of the U.S. and that the favorable consideration of their necessities may be held at an early day, while the same will be yet be of avail to them; as in duty bound they will ever pray.”

– Marion Petition to U.S. Congress.

“Petition to Congress, 1852” ISHS.

1852, June 23- “We take pleasure in saying to the Public that these Indians have been in this County for some time and we can recommend them as Good Civil Indians, and the majority of the citizens of this County have no objection to their remaining in this country and are willing to assist them all they can.”

-James M. Berry.

ISHS.

1852- “This Indian Kenesaw is desiras of becoming acquainted with you he was well acquainted with Judge Berry and he thinks he wants a recommend to you We think him to be a honest Indian and means to do what is right he tells me that St. Clair of Davenport tells him that he Kenesaw is the right Indian and the only one that should be chief over these few Indians that is in this sections of the country and people that becomes acquainted with him as a general thing takes him to be chief but there is one by the name Wakamo who claim to be their chief but the whites that is acquainted with said Kenesaw prefers him on account of his honest & we the undersigned think him to be a very upright honest Indian.”

-Petition.

“To the County Judge of Linn County, Iowa.” ISHS.

1852- “Whereas, Maumewaleka & Waukemo Indians are desirous to come to this Country and so far as I am able to judge from the expression of the citizens generally there seems to be no objection, so long as they remain quiet and peaceable—I have been acquainted with them for some years and can recommend them as honest and good disposed Indians. I speak for them permission with their band to pass through the country unmolested so long as they disturb no one—and also hope that the citizens generally will help them on the way by giving them provisions and all assistance possible to assist them on their way.”

-James M. Berry.

ISHS

During this time there were many bands of Winnebago, Sioux, Potawatomies, Omahas and other tribes in the northern and western parts of the state. The Meskwaki, on the other hand, embarked on a public relations blitz to create a positive image of the tribe in the state. In time all the other tribes were removed and never came back to live within the state. Only the Meskwaki remained to eventually become the only Indian Tribe in the State of Iowa.

1855- “They were a constant annoyance to the citizens of those counties-destroying their stock-stealing their grain and provisions-threatening their lives and in some instances committing robbery and murder. The Governor of this State was besought to call out the militia and expel them by force. This I declined to do, but appealed to the general government for protection.”

– James W. Grimes, Governor of Iowa referring to other tribes.

“Unpublished Letter by Gov. James W. Grimes. 1855” Annals of Iowa.

1855 –“Pa-ta-ko-to came from Kansas. He bought the lands in Tama County. He brought One Hundred and Eight-eight (188) Indians after him.”

“Notes on Me-Skwa-ki History.” From Young Bear’s Notes, Aug. 1905. ISHS.

After winning over the general citizens with the publicity blitz, the State passed a law allowing the Tribe to remain in the State of Iowa.

1856, July 15- “Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa. That the consent of the State is hereby given that the Indians now residing in Tama County known as a portion of the Sacs and Foxes, be permitted to remain and reside in said State, and that the Governor be requested to inform the Secretary of war thereof, and urge on said department, the propriety of paying said Indians their portion of the annuities due or to become due to said Tribe of Sacs and Fox Indians.”

-State of Iowa.

“An Act permitting certain Indians to reside within the State.” Chapter 30 Laws of Iowa, 1857

After the passage of the Act, the Meskwaki were free to buy some land. By February in 1857 a group of Meskwaki met with the Governor of Iowa at Iowa City.

1857, Feb. 5- “A dozen chiefs and notables of the Sacs and Foxes tribe of Indians were in this city on Saturday, bedizened with paint, and arrayed in grandiest style. They had a pow-wow with the Governor, and gave an exhibition at the Senate Chamber in the evening, charging members for a sight. Indians are up to pretty sharp practice sometimes. The tribes alluded to have sent a delegate to the Governor to sue for the privilege of coming back to the state, and to get the Governor’s aid in locating lands for that purpose. They prefer their old hunting grounds to their present location in Kansas.

“Indians About.” Daily Hawk-Eye and Telegraph. Feb. 5, 1857.

1857, Feb. 18- “The Braves of the Sacs and Foxes have had an interesting interview with the Governor of Iowa, at the Capitol. They grieve for the loss of their hunting grounds…They claim that their chief reserved a portion of their lands and that the chiefs of the Sacs were not authorized to act for them. Their object is to get possession of their old lands again. The legislature, by law, now permits them to hold title to lands within certain limits.”

Newspaper.

“The Plaint of the Savage,” New York Times. Feb. 18. 1857.

Meskwaki oral history says that Governor Grimes told them during their Feb. meeting that as governor he could not force any Iowa citizen to sell them land, but if they could find such citizen willing to sell them land, then the governor would support and accept it as a legal transaction. By the spring of 1857, the Butler family made an agreement with the Meskwaki to purchase 80 acres of land.

 

1857- “This was a temporary village of lodgment of the Musquakies in the NE ¼ of Sec. 17 of what is now Indian Village township. The region is since known as Butlerville, because of its being the location of the several Butler Families from whom these Indians first bought land. The Musquakies had lodged here before the Butlers came in 185-. At the time, the Butlers settled here the Musquakies had gone. In the spring of 1857, an Indian came on horseback and talked with Isaac Butler about the purchase of some land. He went away and came again, in all about three times. Finally, a bargain was made for 80 acres in township—of Sec. 30-89,15. Isaac Butler and his sons Philip and David went to Toledo and made out the deed on July 13, 1857. The consideration paid was $1,000 in cash. The money was taken to Iowa City by the Indians and paid to Gov. Jas. W. Grimes. It was brought back to the Butlers by Ebenezer Coffin, a farmer in Tama Co. The money was in the form of gold and Mr. Coffin carried it in a rough sack in his lumber wagon. There were no ponies in the payment, as has been so often reported.”

-David Butler.

“David Butler. August 18, 1905.” ISHS.

On July 13 the Butlers filed and recorded the deed at the Tama County Courthouse at Toledo, Iowa. Another copy was sent to and received July 16, 1857 by Iowa Governor James Grimes as trustee and one copy was given to the Meskwaki.

 

1857, July 13- “This Deed or Bargain and Sale made and executed the thirteenth day of July A.D. 1857 by and between Philip Butler, David Butler, and Isaac Butler, Guardian for William Butler and Ozias Butler, all of Tama County and State of Iowa, parties of the first part and James W. Grimes Governor of the State of Iowa and his successors in office in trust for the following named persons Indians and their heirs forever viz Math a Nuh, Wau ka no, Chalk kal a Mah, Mat au a quah. Pat a ca to of the Second part. Witnesseth that the said of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of One Thousand Dollars to them paid by the said party of the Second part the receipt which is hereby acknowledged has granted and sold and do by these presents Grant Bargain Sell Convey and Confirm unto the said Party of the Second part and to his Successors in office in trust for the said Indians their heirs forever the certain tract or parcel of Real Estate Situated in the County of Tama and State of Iowa, to wit. The West half of the South East fourth of Section number thirty (30) Township number Eighty-three (83) North of Range fifteen (15) West of the 5th P.M. containing Eighty Acres according to Government Survey, and the said tract or Parcel of land by virtue and authority of an order of County Court of Tama County, aforesaid made granted and decreed and adjudged to him as a guardian of the property of Said Infants upon an application to said Court made by said Isaac Butler as Guardian aforesaid. Notice of the copy of the petition of such sale having first been legally served on all the parties interested, and the said Isaac Butler having given a Bond as required by law conditioned for the faithful performance of his duty and the just and true application of, and accounting for all monies by him received, which said order was made by the County Court at the May term thereof, held on the first Monday in May, 1857 and duly recorded in the Book of Records of Said Court. To have and to hold the premises above described with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging unto him the said party of the Second part and to his successors in office forever. The said Philip Butler and Isaac Butler as guardian for said minors hereby covenanting for themselves, their heirs, executors and administrator, that the above described premises are free from all encumbrances that they have full right power and authority to sell the same and they will warrant and defend the title unto the said party of the second part their Successors, Heirs and Assigns against the claims of all persons whomsoever lawfully claiming the same. In witness whereof the said parties of the first part have thereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written…The County Court of Tama County hereby approves of the sale of the above land by Isaac Butler as guardian for infants William and Ozias Butler.”

Recorded Deed Tama County.

Land Deeds. Tama County Recorders Office, Tama County Court House.

With this Deed, the Meskwaki became landowners. A very rare event considering that American Indians were not considered human beings by anyone else therefore white citizens could not sell land to Indians just as they could not sell land to a cow, since a cow couldn’t legally own land either. Even though the U.S. had purchased land from Indians, it saw no contradiction in this policy. The American Indian “people” had a legal status the same as animals. At the same time Black People had the status of being three-fifths (3/5) human.

1859-1886

Chronology and Perspectives

After winning the right to buy land in Tama County, Iowa, the Meskwaki had to fight off attempts to remove them to Indian Territory, what would become the State of Oklahoma. During the Indian Wars out west the threat of violence was always constant as other tribes were being forced back to their reservations. Also the Meskwaki went without state or federal help for many years after the land purchase. It was up to the Meskwaki to fail or succeed on their new home. Duren J.H. Ward writes:

“They had no specially interested friends. There was no supervision by United States Agents or otherwise. In a sphere limited on every hand, they were left entirely to their own devices…For nearly a dozen years this condition continued and increased”

Duren J.H. Ward. “The Meskwaki People of To-day,” Iowa Journal of History and Politics, 1906

1859, Oct. 1– “The Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi parties to this agreement, are anxious that all the members of their tribe shall participate in the advantages herein provided for respecting their improvement and civilization and that end to induce all that are now separated to rejoin and reunite with them. It is therefore agreed that as soon as practicable, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall cause the necessary proceedings to be adopted to have them notified of this agreement and its advantages and to induce them to come in and unite with their brethren and to enable them to do so, and to sustain themselves for a reasonable time thereafter such assistance shall be provided for them at the expense of the tribe as may be actually necessary for that purpose: Provided, however, That those who do not rejoin and permanently re-unite themselves with the tribe within one year from the date of the ratification of this treaty shall not be entitled to the benefit of any of its stipulations.”

– Treaty, Article 7.

“Treaty with the Sauk and Foxes, Oct. 1, 1859 (15 Stat. 495)” Charles J. Kappler. Indian Affairs, Laws and Treaties. Vol. II. 1904.

1860, Sept. 11- “We have been visited during the past week with several of the dark sons of the forest, who come among us occasionally to review the scenes of their former glory and witness the progress which the pale faces are making in the arts of civilization”

-Iowa Newspaper.

Iowa Indians a Brief History. Thomas Peter Christensen. 1954.

1861, Sept. 10- “The Bears, Don-nah, Au-shu-tan, Tep-pes-su-pen-a-hut, and Kee she–que are representatives of a portion of a tribe of Indians know as Mesquakies or Sac and Foxes living in Tama County, Iowa, by permission of State authority as provided in the above act of the legislature. These Indians are peaceable and friendly to the Government of the United States. They are now on a visit to a portion of their tribe now in Kansas and desire to pass unmolested. They represent that Nan-mee-wau-na-ke, Nan-a-wau-pit, and Nan-nah-ke-ah are heads of families or chiefs now in Kansas that formerly lived in Tama County, Iowa, and are entitled to the benefit of the foregoing act of the General Assembly of State of Iowa and that they with their, and none others, may be entitled to quietly and peaceably return to their home and friends in Tama County. They fear that there may be hostile demonstrations upon the part of some of the western tribes of Indians and that their friends, owning to their close proximity to other western tribes, may be implicated. They therefore appeal to the Union friends of the country to aid them in placing their friends in a position that their true character may be understood. State of Iowa ss. I hereby certify that I am well acquainted with the first four Indians named in the foregoing instrument of writing and am well satisfied that they are a portion of the Indians entitled to the benefits of the law hereunto attached, that they and their tribe are on terms of the best friendship with our government.”

-Elijah Sells, Sec’y of State.

Mesquakie Indian Centennial Annual Pow-Wow. Aug. 8-11, 1957.

In 1861 the American Civil War begins. Prior to the Civil War, States exercise considerable autonomy and power. State Senators, Congressman and governors have great authority, most times surpassing the President. In Kansas there is confusion as Indian Territory becomes a Confederate state and Kansas remains in the Union. As Union Indians flee into Kansas they overrun the reservations.

In 1862 a Sioux delegation visited the Meskwaki Settlement with a request for aid from the Tribe. Respecting diplomatic protocol the Sioux delegates were given safe passage to the village. The Minnesota Sioux presented an invitation and a pipe to join in a war against white settlers. The Meskwaki considered the invitation but accepted pipe as diplomatic courtesy between the two tribal groups. The Sioux were told that the Tribe would think about the issue. The Sioux left and fought their war. The Meskwaki in turn after thinking about it offered their services to instead fight the Sioux, which was declined by the U.S.

1862, Feb. 19- “The Musquaka Indians, living in Tama County number about 125. They receive no government annuities. They own 240 acres of land in Tama county.”

-News Paper.

Iowa State Register. Feb. 19, 1862.

1862 – “Ma-me-ma-wa-na-ka came and brought 76 Indians after him”

“Notes on Me-Skwa-ki History.” From Young Bear’s Notes, Aug. 1905. Iowa State Historical Society.

 

1863 – “Wa-pa-nu-ka came and brought 36 Indians after him.”

“Notes on Me-Skwa-ki History.” From Young Bear’s Notes, Aug. 1905. ISHS

 

1864 – “Pa-que-she-ka came and brought 13 Indians after him.”

“Notes on Me-Skwa-ki History.” From Young Bear’s Notes, Aug. 1905. ISHS

 

By 1865 the American Civil War ends with the victory of the Union. Federal Government becomes more centralized, Presidency becomes more authoritative.

 

1865 – “Me-ka-ka came and brought 10 Indians after him.”

“Notes on Me-Skwa-ki History.” From Young Bear’s Notes, Aug. 1905. ISHS.

 

1865, Nov. 2-“A delegation of Sac and Fox Indians arrived here to-day and soon to have an interview with the President on affairs connected with the welfare of their respective tribes.”

“From Washington.” Burlington Daily Hawk Eye. Nov. 8, 1865.

1865, Nov. 8- “They are a disofficiated portion of the Fox Tribe of Indians and should be compelled to return to their people in Kansas.”

-Perry Fuller, Kansas Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1865, Nov. 8- “Six Chiefs of the Fox tribe had an interview with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, this morning, in relation to their material interest. The Sacs and Foxes already with us a reservation in Kansas and an annuity of $51,000 but the Foxes will not live with the Sacs and have located in Iowa and now want the Government to change the arrangements to suit their circumstances. They were asked among other things, how they would like to go into Indian Territory, where it was proposed to establish a government embracing many of the Indian tribes, but they said they wanted to think all matters over. They had always been good friends to our government and people, when, however, they came to talk with their “white father”, there was also some harsh words; this was wrong. They could get along better with smooth and easy words, they wanted to see their white father the first. The commissioner replied that if the Foxes run away from the reservation and disregarded the treaty, all advantages would inure to the Sacs or state some good reason why they will not return. The chief replied that it was impossible for them to live with the Sacs. They are to have another talk with the Commissioner and were promised a sight of their “white father” before they left Washington.”

-Newspaper.

“From Washington.” Burlington Daily Hawk Eye, Nov. 8, 1865.

1865, Nov. 9- “This morning a delegation of Fox Indians visited the President, in company with Judge Cooley, Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Superintendent Sells. The Indians were severally introduced to the President, when one of the chiefs said that they had heard of their Great Father, and had very much desired to see him. The president replied that he was glad to meet and receive them. His object would be to cultivate peace and friendship and he hoped the government would be met in a corresponding spirit on their part. If the amicable relations which should exist between the government and those here represented be cultivated, they should be made to result to the interests of all concerned. He would spare no pains to see that their interests are promoted and themselves secured and protected in the enjoyment of all their rights. Provision would be made for them while here and they would be entertained in a manner suitable and fitting to their condition and he hoped that when they left here, they would take with them the best wishes and feelings of the president towards them. Commissioner Cooley explained to the president that the Sacs and Foxes were settled in Kansas, and by the treaty of 1842 were granted an annuity of $51,800. The Sacs were largely in the majority and numbered 218. The confederated tribes of Indians here represented complain that they have not had their rights, many of them have never left their homes in Iowa, while others have returned thither from Kansas. These chiefs ask that there be a division of the annuity and land. The president said he would again see them and after hearing all the facts, he would be prepared to do what is right. He hoped some arrangement would be made which would prove satisfactory to them.

-Newspaper

“From Washington.” Burlington Daily Hawk Eye. Nov. 9, 1865.

1866 – “Pa-to-ka came back and brought 21 Indians after him.”

“Notes on Me-Skwa-ki History.” From Young Bear’s Notes, Aug. 1905. ISHS.

In 1866 the Meskwaki in Iowa are given a Special Indian Agent to pay them their annuities with the idea that they would be persuaded to remove to the Kansas reservation. The idea of forced removal was out since the Tribe owned the land, with the notion that if the Government could remove Indian “land owners” from their land, then they could remove any land owner, including recent white immigrants, from their lands as well. This made white land owners uneasy and some of their support came from concern for their lands.

1866, Feb. 2- “I have to state that I think it probable that an order will be made directing the payment of annuities to the Indians in Iowa, to whom you refer, in proportion to their numbers. Not a large sum will be due them for the present year, but hereafter they will be paid sufficient to relieve their pressing wants. It will therefore be necessary during the year to appoint an agent. Mr. Sells has mentioned you to me as a suitable person for that position.”

-James Harlan, Secretary of the Interior.

Letter to Leander Clark. Feb. 2, 1866. Leander Clark Papers. ISHS.

1866, March 6 – “It is not probable that the Iowa members of this tribe will hereafter draw their annuities in Iowa. Che-ko-skuk, head chief of the Kansas Foxes, is now in Washington and will sign no treaty which does not contain one or the following provisions, viz., All annuities of the tribe must be paid here, or the annuities equally divided between them, that is one half to the Foxes and the balance to the Sacs, in which case Che-ko-skuk would probably join the Iowa Foxes in Iowa or in some locality agreed upon by mutual consent.”

-E.B. Fenn, Acting Agent Kansas Sac & Fox.

“Letter to Leander Clark. March 6, 1866.” Leander Clark Papers. ISHS.

1866, May 23- “I desire to submit for your consideration the following statement in relation to a faction of the Sac and Fox Indians headed by Maw-mew-wah-ne-kah, and now living in Iowa…The Sacs and Foxes are now and ever have been willing that he and his followers shall reside with them at their reservation and enjoy a full and complete participation in all the benefits resulting from their tribal organization and treaty relations with the United States. They are not, however, willing that these benefits shall be extended to them while they refuse to reside with them and persist in living apart from them, for the simple and sole reason that as a people they are willing to observe their treaty stipulations with the government and conform to the policy adopted by the United States and believed to be conducive to their best interests. They believe that any recognition on the part of government of this lawless and disaffected faction or any division of their funds for their relief, or as a contribution to their support while they continue apart form the tribe and refuse obedience to lawful authority as enjoined by treaties with the United States, is only calculated to promote and foster a spirit of disobedience, disaffection, and insubordination among their people, weaken the authority of their agent, encourage the disintegration of the tribes, and is primitive of no good end whatever, either to the people remaining upon the reservation or to those who are thus, in utter disregard of their treaty stipulations, separated from them, and, as they believe, leading a life of vagabondage among the whites, making themselves a nuisance in the neighborhood where they reside, and, so far as in them lies, bringing disrepute and disgust upon the whole Indian race. Whenever as has frequently been the case, any of the stragglers have returned to the reservation at the tie of the enrollment which is made preliminary to an annuity payment, they have invariably been enrolled without the slightest objections so far as I know on the part of the tribe, and have received their full share of the annuities, and there is not to-day, nor there ever been, any obstacle or objection in any quarter to their return to the tribe, and to their full free, and complete participation in all respects in every benefit and advantage to be derived under their treaty or in any of the laws, customs or usages of the tribes.”

-H.W. Martin, Kansas Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

Message of the Prest. of the U. S. 2rd Sess.of the 38th Congress. 1866.

1866, Oct. 23- “The recognized authorities of the tribe have more than once invited them to return. They have never objected to their receiving their annuities in the regular and proper way… Let the Indians all over the county understand that they can receive their annuities wherever they may choose to live and a process of disintegration of tribes will commence, which will soon render treaties inoperative and reservations useless. In this tribe at the present moment, there is a band which would leave the reservation without delay could they be certain that they would not thereby lose their annuities and which will go as soon as they see the Iowa band continues to receive their payments. And not in this tribe alone but in all other tribes within my acquaintance or knowledge. The fact that their annuities are payable on their reservations and no where else is the adhesive power that keeps them in a body where they can be properly cared for and managed and without which they would become scattered throughout the country a nuisance to the whites and a burden to themselves. If this Iowa faction can receive their annuities in Iowa and this faction can do the same in Texas and another in New Mexico and there will be no end of confusion and trouble.”

-Kansas Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1866, Nov. 17– “You will also direct him to inform these Indians that upon their removal to Kansas to join their tribe in good faith to remain there, they will be paid like other members of the tribe, but not until then, while they persist in remaining in Iowa they must expect nothing from the Government or their tribal funds and assure them that their friends in Kansas are willing and anxious for them to join them in that state and share their annuities and other benefits and privileges of membership with the tribe; but not until then; while they persist in remaining in Iowa they must expect nothing from the Government or their tribal funds.”

– O.H. Browning, Secretary of the Interior.

“Letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Nov. 17, 1866.” Leander Clark Papers. ISHS.

1866, Nov. 27 – “The Secretary decides against making any payment to the Indians in Iowa and directs me to instruct you to refund to the Treasury the money heretofore remitted to you for that object and to close up your business as a special agent. He also directs that you inform the Indians that upon their removal to Kansas to join their tribe, in good faith to remain there, they will be paid like the other members of the tribe, but not until then.”

– Lewis V. Bogy, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

“Letter to Leander Clark, Special Indian Agent. Nov. 27, 1866.” Leander Clark Papers. ISHS.

1866, Nov. 27- “On the 15th instant, a protest of the Sac and Fox Indians residing in Kansas against the payment of their tribal funds to any of their nation who reside in Iowa was referred by this office to the Honorable Secretary of the Interior for the direction as to whether such payment should be made. By letter of the 17th, a copy of which I enclose, the Secretary decides against making any payments to the Indians in Iowa, and directs me to instruct you to refund to the Treasury the money heretofore remitted to you for that object, and to close up your business as a special agent by a certain day. He also directs that you inform the Indians that upon their removal to Kansas to join their tribe, in good faith to remain there, they will be paid like the other members of the tribe, but not until then, and assure them that their friends in Kansas are willing and anxious for them to join them in that state and share their annuities and other benefits and privileges of membership with the tribe.”

-Lewis V. Bogy, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

‘Letter to Special U.S. Agent Leander Clark .” Nov. 27, 1866. Leander Clark Papers. ISHS.

1866, Dec. 31– “You will instruct Special Agent Clark to pay the members of the Sac and Fox Indian tribe now in Tama County, Iowa…It is, however to be distinctly understood no annuities will be paid to any of the Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi except on their reservation in Kansas or at such other place as may thereafter be selected as home for their tribe.”

-O.H. Browning, Secretary of the Interior.

“Letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Dec. 31,1866.” Leander Clark Papers. ISHS.

1867, Jan. 7 –“to authorize me to instruct you to pay to the Sac and Fox Indians in Tama County, Iowa that portion of the tribal fund which was placed in your hands…With the distinct understanding that no further annuities will hereafter be paid to them except on their reservation in Kansas or at such other place as may be hereafter selected as a home for the tribe.”

-Lewis V. Bogy, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

“Letter to Leander Clark, Special Indian Agent. Jan. 7, 1867, 1866.” Leander Clark Papers. ISHS.

1867, Jan. 31- “I have now to inform you that the Honorable, the Secretary of the Interior, by letter of the 31st ultimo, a copy of which herewith enclosed, in consideration of the destitute condition of the Indians under your charge as represented in your letter of the 15th ultimo, and at the request of the Honorable J.B. Grinnell, has so far modified his decision of the 17th of November last as to authorize me to instruct you to pay to the Sac and Fox Indians in Tama County, Iowa that portion of the tribal fund which was placed in your hands for such purpose by my predecessor, amounting to $5,587.33, but with the distinct understanding that no further annuities will hereafter be paid to them, except on their reservation in Kansas, or at such other place as may be hereafter selected as a home for the tribe. The instructions contained in my letter of the 27th of November 1866, directing you to close up all the business of you Special Agency on or before the 31st ultimo, are hereby revoked, and the tenure of your office will be extended for a sufficient time to enable you to comply with the above instructions.”

-Lewis V. Bogy, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

“Letter to Leander Clark from Lewis Bogy. Jan. 31, 1867.” ISHS.

1867, February 5- “I move on page 42, after line one thousand and eight to insert the following: Provided, that the band of Sacs and Foxes now in Tama County, Iowa, shall be paid pro rata their portion of annuity so long as they are peaceful and have the assent of the governor of Iowa to reside in that State. Mr. Chairman, this proviso I desire to explain, and trust it will appear so manifestly just as to meet with no opposition. The Indians to whom this will apply are a band called Nussquokas, of the Sacs and Foxes, numbering some two hundred, with their lodges near the Iona River, and about twenty miles from my own residence. On their removal near twenty years ago, to the reservation west of the Missouri river, a powerful band made war on them, and coming back to their old hunts declared that they would all be killed if they remained. Some ten years since, on their petition and that of their white neighbors to the State Legislature, they being in the senatorial district, which I happened to represent, I took up their case, and without objection a law was passed permitting them to own land and reside in the State. Their just portion of annuity of the Sacs and Foxes was denied them until last year, when it was granted by Secretary Harlan, and is only given now as a temporary allowance by the present Commissioner of Indian Affairs. I see no good reason why it should not be permanent. I know of no other band, which has not been decimated in numbers and suffered by the vices of the whites. Where they are without money, they are objects of our charities. To compel them to go Kansas is to settle them where they are not wanted or to provoke the murderous spirit of the warriors from whom they once fled. As to their character, of which I am asked, I have never heard that they were thievish or quarrelsome. They may no Logan among their “braves” but, with their pro rata of the annuity which I ask schools may be established, more comfort brought to wigwams, and it is to be hoped such a Christian civilization as will not require the romance of a Jefferson or Seba Smith to find heroes worthy to adorn the sad history of our Indian tribes, which, without a change of policy, will be soon be as far beyond our reach as they now seem below our consideration”

-Congressman Josiah Grinnell.

The Congressional Globe: Containing the Debates and proceedings of the Second Session of the Thirty-Ninth Congress. 1867.

1867, Feb. 18 – “The Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi, parties to this agreement, being anxious that all the members of their tribe shall participate in the advantages to be derived from the investment of their national funds, sales of land and so forth, it is therefore agreed that, as soon as practicable, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall cause the necessary proceedings to be adopted, to have such members of the tribe as may be absent notified of this agreement and its advantages and to induce them to come in and permanently unite with their brethren and that no part of the funds arising from or due to any bands or parts of bands who do not permanently reside on the reservation set apart to them by the Government in the Indian Territory, as provided in this treaty, except those residing in the State of Iowa, and it is further agreed that all money accruing from this or former tribes, now due or to become due said nation shall be paid them on their reservation in Kansas and after their removal, as provided on their reservation in this treaty, payment shall be made at their agency, on their lands as then located.”

– Treaty, Article 21.

“Treaty with the Sauk and Foxes, Feb. 18, 1867. (15 Stat. 495)” Charles J. Kappler. Indian Affairs, Laws and Treaties. Vol. II. 1904.

1867, Feb. 19- “To the Indian appropriation bill Mr. Grinnell succeeded in introducing an amendment providing for the payment to that branch of the Sacs and Foxes residing on the Iowa river, in our State, of their proper proportion as members of the tribe. This right of participation in the regular annuities has never been accorded to them before, I believe in the appropriation bill, though it has been temporarily allowed to them by the Department during the last year.”

-Newspaper.

“Washington Correspondence” Burlington Daily Hawk Eye. Feb. 19, 1867.

The amendment was agreed to and the appropriations bill passed Congress with the amendment added on. With the Act of March 2, 1867, 14 Stat. 492, the Meskwaki where allowed to be paid their annuities in Iowa. The Sac & Fox of Iowa Agency was made permanent but no more people are allowed to be enrolled in Iowa from Kansas. The following is part of the appropriations bill:

1867, March 2- “An Act making Appropriations for the current and contingent Expenses of the Indian Department and for fulfilling Treaty Stipulations with various Indian Tribes for the Year ending June thirty, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the following sums be, and They are hereby, appropriated out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the purpose of paying the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department, and fulfilling treaty stipulations with The various Indian tribes: For the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department, namely.——– Sacs and Foxes of Mississippi- For permanent annuity in goods or otherwise, per third article treaty third November, eighteen hundred and four, one thousand dollars. For interest on two hundred thousand dollars, at five per centum per second article treaty eleventh October, eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, ten thousand dollars. For interest on eight hundred thousand dollars, at five per centum per second, per second article treaty eleventh October, eighteen hundred and forty-two, forty thousand dollars: Provided, That the bands of Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi now in Tamar county, Iowa, shall be paid pro rata, according to their numbers, of the annuities, so long as they are peaceful and have the assent of the government of Iowa to reside in that State.”

-United States Congress.

March 2, 1867 Chap. CLXXII.-Thirty-ninth Congress. Sess. II Ch. 173. 1867.

1867, Aug. 24- “That part of the Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi who reside in the State of Iowa have existed here for a long time- probably twelve or fifteen years-without help or aid from the general government, making their home during the summer season in Tama County on eighty acres piece of timber land purchased by them in the year 1857…The census of the Sac and Fox Indians residing in Iowa, taken with a view to their per capita payment of annuities show the whole number of Indians at that time to have been 264.”

-Sac & Fox Agent Leander Clark

“Sacs and Foxes in Iowa” Report of Indian Affairs by the Acting Commissioner for the Year 1867. 1868.

On Nov. 1869, the Sac and Fox in Kansas began their removal from Kansas to the Indian Territory. When they arrived they settled in two different areas. One group under the leadership of Chekoskuk made up by those Meskwaki who chose to go south located at Keokuk Falls near the North Canadian River. The other group made up of the Sac settled on Euchee Creek. With the Meskwaki (Sac & Fox of Iowa) in Iowa and the Sac & Fox group led by Mokohoko in Kansas refusing to go to the Indian Territory, the U.S. Government felt that the “Sac and Fox Nation” was scattered and set in motion attempts to force all Sac and Fox groups to Indian Territory.

1870, Aug. 12 –“The Sacs and Foxes have a good location in the Indian Country [Oklahoma] and they wish their detached friends in Nebraska and Iowa to join them…The separate agency especially in Iowa would be unnecessary having been requested by the Chiefs of the[Okla. Sac & Fox] tribe to visit these two remnants of their people in reference to joining them.”

-Supt to E.S. Parker.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency, 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1871– “They unwillingly listen to any proposition for removal to any other home, but unless some advantages for their improvement here are to be provided, it would be far better that they be removed to the new home of the Sac and Fox Indians in the Indian Territory, where they have a beautiful reservation.”

– Leander Clark, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Agency of the Sac and Fox Indians in Iowa.” Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1871.

1873, Aug. 18– “It has been the opinion of the office that the Sac and Fox Indians in Iowa would be largely benefited by joining their relatives in Indian Territory…Their residence in Iowa is by mere sufferance of the State which is of doubtful continuance…A division of the invested fund of the tribe, looking to an enlargement of expenditure to the band in Iowa will embarrass this removal south and be detrimental to the citizens inhabiting Tama and adjoining the counties of the state. Although I will soon be able to report the census. I desire to be informed if that will supersede the required council alluded to herein to visit the branch of the tribe in Iowa, pursuant to their removal.”

-Enoch Hoag, Supt.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency, 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1873, Sept. 1- “They are unanimously and utterly adverse to the removal. They say they were once in Kansas and some of them in the Indian Territory and they abhor the idea of returning. I think most of them would suffer death rather than go…With such obstacles in the way I do not see how they can be removed just now. My opinion is they should be carefully educated in that direction and by and by when some of the old ones die and the younger ones with more comprehension views take their place they may be willing to go.”

– Rev. A.R. Howbert, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1873, Sept. 16- “Hon. Hoag visited this agency and together we again brought the matter of removal of these Indians to the Indian Territory before them. But they persist in their purpose to remain here. I give it as my opinion that it will require years of training before they will be willing to make the change in from five to ten years many of the old ones will die off and by instructing the young ones they may become willing to go to the Indian Territory…the very best thing to be done is to proceed with our educational and religious work .”

– Rev. A.R. Howbert, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1873, Sept. 22- “We were favored with a visit from Hon. Hoag and agent Pickering on the 13th inst their object was to get the consent of the Indians here to go to Indian Territory which was all right.”

– Rev. A.R. Howbert, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1873, Oct. 1- “A portion of the tribe numbering six or eight lodges became exiled from the tribe several years ago and are now located in Tama County, Iowa…The Government long ago established a wise provision that fragments of Indian tribes should forfeit their shares of annuities while absent from their proper reservations. An unfortunate exception was inserted in the Indian appropriation bill of 1868, by which these Iowa Sacs and Foxes are allowed to receive their proportion of annuities so long as they remain peaceable and have the consent of the State of Iowa to remain within its limits…I recommend the suspension by Congress of their annuities while off the reservation and that they be removed with another remnant of the tribe in Kansas to their proper home in the Indian Territory.”

– Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1873.

1873, Nov. 7 – “I deem it proper further to urge the importance that no increase of their common funds be made to the detached number residing in Iowa…The money thus disbursed has tended so far to settle them there and a continuance to pay them or any addition thereto will not only strengthen their desire to remain but will also afford an excuse to many of their connections and friends south to join them. While it is a purpose of the government that all Indians shall be on permanent homes it is evident that no inducement should be furnished to these Indians to remain in Iowa when they have no Reserve or any prospect of one and…at the same time are provided with an ample Reserve south with superior advantages…Believing that the interest of all the Sac and Foxes would be best promoted on their ample Reservation South. I recommend that no inducement be extended to those in Iowa to retard their removal.”

-Enoch Hoag, Supt.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency, 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1873, Dec. 1 – “The Indians under my care have been in a state of uneasy and sometimes alarm during the last month. On account of rumors constantly kept in circulation by designing white men that they are to be removed to the Indian Territory by the military. I have endeavored to persuade them that it would be to their interest to go, but I can make no favorable impression on their minds. They say they will not fight but they will die rather than go. I feel sorry that they must be so harassed…They desire to send a delegation of four of their number to Washington to consult with Great Father about their removal. They wish to tell him why they cannot go to Indian Territory. If possible might be an advantage to allow them to come at their own expense”

– Rev. A.R. Howbert, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1873, Dec. 16- “By Mr. Wilson of Iowa…Also, the petition of A. Jackson and others, citizens of Tama County, Iowa, praying for the removal of the Sac and Fox Indians to their reservation in the Indian Territory.”

-Petitions Presented

Congressional Record, Containing the Proceedings and Debates of the Forty-Third Congress, First Session. Vol. 2, 1874.

1873, Dec. 18- “They had better make up their minds to go to Indian Territory unless they would agree to these things to work on their lands, each family to build their wiwam on the lot of land assigned…to agree that a school house and residence may be built on or near their own land… to agree to remain on their own land and not go out over the county.”

– Rev. A.R. Howbert, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1874, Feb. 9- “By Mr. Malin: A petition from L. Carmichael and others, relative to the removal of the Sac and Fox Indians to the reservation.

-House Meeting

Journal of the House of Representatives of the 15th General Assembly of the State of Iowa. 1874.

1874, Feb. 10- “Mr. Malin offered the following resolution, which was referred to Committee on Federal Relations: ‘Be it resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa, That our senators and representatives in Congress be and are hereby instructed to use their influence to secure the removal of certain Indians belonging to the tribe of Sacs and Foxes, now resident in Tama county, Iowa, to the reservation provided for them by the general government of the United States and the Secretary of State is hereby instructed to furnish said senators and representative with a copy of this resolution.”

-Resolution

Journal of the House of Representatives of the 15th General Assembly of the State of Iowa. 1874.

1874, Feb. 21- “Mr. Dorr, from the Committee on Federal Relations, submitted the following report: Mr. Speaker- ‘Your Committee on Federal Relations, to whom was referred a joint resolution relative to the removal of the Sac and Fox Indians, beg to report that they have had the same under consideration and have instructed me to report the same back to the House, with a substitute and recommend the passage of the substitute.”

-M. Dorr, Chairman.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the 15th General Assembly of the State of Iowa. 1874.

1874, Feb. 24- “By leave, Senator Chambers, presented a petition from Lawrie Tatem, in relation to the Sac and Fox Indians located in Tama County.”

-Introduction of Bills

Journal of the Senate of the 15th General Assembly of the State of Iowa. 1874.

1874, Mar. 3- “Senator Conaway, from the Special Committee on petition in relation to the Sac and Fox Indians, submitted the following report: ‘Mr. President-Your Special Committee to whom was referred, petition asking for a special act to treat as vagrants the Sac and Fox Indians of Tama County, beg leave to report that they have had the same under consideration and have instructed me to report the same back to the Senate, saying they are not justifiable in recommending the passage of an act of that character.”

-Senator Conaway.

Journal of the Senate of the 15th General Assembly of the State of Iowa. 1874.

1874, Mar. 11- “Joint resolution relative to the removal of the Sac and Fox Indians, was taken up, read first and second time. On motion of Senator Taylor the joint resolution was indefinitely postponed.”

-Senate vote

Journal of the Senate of the 15th General Assembly of the State of Iowa. 1874.

1874, March 12- “The legislature has asked Congress to remove the Indians from Tama County.”

-Newspaper

Waterloo Courier. March 12, 1874.

1874, March 12- “The Senate has indefinitely postponed House join resolution relative to the removal of the Sacs and Fox Indians.”

-Message from the Senate

Journal of the House of Representatives of the 15th General Assembly of the State of Iowa. 1874.

1874, March 19- “The joint resolution for removing Indians from Tama.”

-Newspaper

“The State Legislative.” Jackson Sentinal. March 19, 1874.

1874, June 15- “I think there might be a delegation procured to visit the Sac and Fox Agency in Indian Territory next fall, if they had the assurance that the Government would take them there and back. They would then decide whether they would move there or not. They would certainly be much better off in the winter and I think it advisable to send a delegation there to see the country and condition of the Indians at the Sac and Fox Agency.”

– Iowa Resident

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1874, July 20 – “Let me say to you that it is my opinion that their close proximity to the white people is the most formidable obstacle in the way of civilization and christianzation…I am more and more convinced that it would be the very best thing for these Indians if they would consent to go to the Indian Territory. By requesting them to go to the Indian Territory for their annuity might induce them to go there to live”

– Rev. A.R. Howbert, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1875, Sept. 23 – “They should in every way become permanent and made to feel that they do is for themselves and the good of their families and all doubts brushed from their minds that the Government is going to remove them from their present home, which has been told them so often that it has become a saying of truth and renders them suspicious of any advancement.”

-Thomas S. Free, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Agency of the Sac and Fox Indians in Iowa. Sept. 23, 1875 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior 1876.

1876, Aug. 24 – “This tribe manifests a very friendly disposition toward the whites and adhere closely to their tribal relations and oppose any infringement upon their traditional customs…These Indians have a strong local attachment for their present home and dread the idea of removal. If permitted to remain permanently, they must be placed in a position to best enjoy their privileges.”

-Thomas S. Free, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Agency of the Sac and Fox Indians in Iowa. Aug. 24, 1876. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior 1876,

Between 1876 to 1883 the “Indian Wars” are being fought out in the West where other “absent” Indians are being rounded up and placed back on their reservations. Custer’s Last Stand in 1876. Chief Joseph makes his unsuccessful run for the Canadian Border in 1877.

1878, Apr. 18- “We would respectfully invite your attention to the following statement, as an argument against the division of the funds of the Sac and Fox Indians and the payment of a considerable portion thereof to the Indians now wandering about the State of Iowa. We assume that the intent of the Government is to place these and other Indians upon proper reservations…We believe that the aim and interest of all treaties made with these Indians and all laws concerning them were to the end that they be induced to come together upon one common reservation…Representing the best interests of Kansas, we ask that these Indians be paid upon their reservation and no place else, and that these straggling and vagabondizing Indians be gathered as speedily as possible upon one common reservation.”

-D.C. Haskell, H.R. and Others to House of Rep.

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1878, Apr. 19 – “The straggling bands of Indians in Iowa, it seems to me would be better off on their reservation in the Indian Territory than they can possibly be roaming over the state of Iowa, and any further encouragement to them would in my judgment be detrimental to the best interest of the Indians, the state and the service.”

– Jas. C. Stones, House of Rep. 1st Dist Iowa to Commissioner of Indian affairs.

“Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1878, April 30 –“In reply, I will say that nine-tenths of the entire community, I believe, are in favor of the removal of these Indians out of the State. I have yesterday and today conversed with thirty or forty representative men on the subject and not one in or two opposes their removal… I was told that a resolution passed both houses for their removal and through the influence of the Agent here or some other person it was reconsidered in the Senate and failed to become law… there is no person in favor of their remaining here except a few who are profiting by their expenditures.”

– T.A. Graham, Office of Sen. Allison Sub- Committee.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1878, May 11- “A letter was addressed several weeks ago to one F.A. Graham of this county from a Mr. Beade, who resides so I am informed in Indian Territory and who has personal acquaintance with Mr. Graham enquiring if the people of Tama County desired the removal of the Indians located here, to which letter Mr. Graham replied in the affirmative, and his reply was forwarded to Mr. John D. Raukin of Washington City who also addressed Mr. Graham and desired to know the prevailing opinion of the people also stating that he could have the tribe removed if it was earnestly desired and asking how it would suit to have an influx of 200 more Indians added to this agency…I also informed him that I did not desire to have the Indians know that any measure of this kind was contemplated or debated…I also informed Mr. Graham that whatever the department desired to do, I would be in complete harmony with it but, the seemingly clandestine manner, and unofficial effort made by him and others. I could only oppose and report the facts. Of course, he could find a majority who desired their removal if he industriously circulate a petition at the same time he will find a respectable minority who will not object to their remaining. The Indian has always been in the minority…. Their singular presence seems to worry Mr. Graham and he is the sole actor in this matter, and has exercised under zeal from what motives I am unable to state.”

– Thomas S. Free, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1878, May 14 – “The undersigned citizens of Tama County State of Iowa respectfully ask that the Sacs and Foxes Musquakie Indians living in this County may be removed from said county to some other locality for the reason that they are a great annoyance to the white population in their vicinity and that their ponies are constantly breaking into the fields of the surrounding farmers, and that in the opinion of your petitioners it would be vastly for the benefit of the Indians to remove them to their reservation. That in the case their true interests could be much better sub served. The presence of these Indians here has become almost intolerable to the white citizens.”

– Petition to the Secretary of War.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

 

Finding political conditions favorable, the United States proposed to consolidate the entire Sac and Fox groups to the Sac & Fox Reservation in Indian Territory. All Sac and Fox within Iowa and Kansas would be removed to Indian Territory to join the Sac & Fox already in the reservation.

 

1878, May 23- I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a bill providing for the removal and consolidation of certain Indians in the States of Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota and Territories of Washington and Dakota…..It is also proposed to remove the Sac and Fox Indians, of whom there are about 400 in Iowa under charge of an agent, on a section of land purchased by them and large number of the same tribe now roaming in Kansas to the reservation set aside for them in Indian Territory by the treaty of February 18, 1867 (15 Stats., p.459) and it is also proposed to remove to the same location the Sac and Fox Indians who are now occupying 24,014 acres of land in Nebraska….Until they have attained a far greater degree of civilization than they now possess, I can discover no plea upon which the government can avoid caring for and making appropriations, annually, in aid of their support and to further their Christianization and civilization. The most available means of which I can conceive to accomplish this result is by their consolidation as proposed.”

-E.A. Hayt, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

“Removal of Certain Tribes of Indians. Letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.” House of Representatives, 45th Congress, 2d Session, Mis. Doc. No. 57.

1878, May 30– “The undersigned Citizens of legal voters of Tama Co. Iowa would respectfully petition the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to have the Sac and Fox Indians residing in this county to be removed to their reservation in Indian Territory… We sincerely believe that it would be better for the Indians and for the citizens generally, that they should be removed.”

– Petition to Commissioner of Indian affairs.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1878- “We, the undersigned citizens of Tama Co. Iowa: Would respectfully remonstrate against the removal of the Sac and Fox Indians now residing in Tama Co.: As we believe that it would be an act of great injustice to them and a breach of faith on our part, to remove them without their consent, from their own lands which they have purchased from time to time, of citizens adjoining them paying the full value of the same, with their own money, paying as high as $31.25 per acre and having purchased in all six hundred and ninety two acres as shown by report from your office, and they are now paying taxes on the same and were permitted to locate here by an act of the Legislature of the State of Iowa in the of 1856. These Indians are a peaceful, quiet, honest and law abiding people and compare favorably in their obedience to the laws with the same location here which, we believe would be retarded by their removal to the Indian Territory…We would earnestly request that they be permitted as an act of justice and good faith to remain on their lands in tama County which we believe they hold by every right”

– Petition to Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1878, May, 18-“They are also disturbed by the agitation of the question of their removal.”

-Thomas Free, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1878, Aug. 15- “These Indians are not under the jurisdiction of the Federal government and are there without law…To provide for the payment of the Iowa faction by special act was unnecessary because the Sac and Fox nation never objected nor they now object to the payment of the amount due any member of the tribe…They respectfully ask that all absent members of the tribe residing in Iowa, Kansas and elsewhere be speedily ordered to the reservation in the Indian Territory and no further payments will be made to them while away from the said reservation. They further request that all annuities now due or become due be paid to them only at the reservation.”

Okla. Sac & Fox Petition.

“Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, Sac and Fox Agency 1824-1880.” National Archives.

1878, Aug. 17- “While they disclaim any desire to be stubborn or to show disrespect to the government by their recent refusal to sign the new rolls adopted by the bureau, yet they are suspicious that something is back which they cannot see and which they may not approve, and they entertain the idea that the question of their removal is one of these things connected with the new rolls.”

-Thomas S. Free, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Report Agency of the Sac and Fox Indians in Iowa. Aug. 17, 1878 “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1878.

1878, Aug. 24 – “There still remains a portion of this tribe in Iowa who have been so far recognized as a separate tribe by Congress and the Indian Bureau as to provide them with an agent and divide the Sac and Fox funds with them, which I believe to be of doubtful propriety, as they have encouraged in the act of refusing to comply with treaty stipulations by not uniting with the tribe to occupy lands set apart for them…the tribe desired a liberal policy extended to all the absentees, to induce them to return and unite with their people.”

-Levi Woodard, Okla. Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Report of Sac and Fox Agency, Indian Territory, Aug. 24, 1878.” Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1878.

In 1879 Standing Bear, a Ponca Indian, wins a decision by Judge Elmer Dundy of the U.S. District Court in Omaha, Neb. that changed the legal status of Indians from Animal to Human Being. Judge Dundy ruled that “The question cannot be open to serious doubt. Webster describes a person as ‘an individual of the human race.’ This is comprehensive enough, it would seem to include even an Indian.”

 

By 1883, the General of the Army ends the “Indian Wars” declaring that other than temporary alarms the Indian as a military threat was eliminated. For such spasmodic engagements a military force was assigned to a reservation. The U.S. force stationed at Omaha, Neb. was assigned to the Meskwaki. This is the military that would have been used if there would have been any forced removal to Indian Territory. They would have came up old Highway 30 which just happens to run past the Meskwaki village.

 

In 1886 Mokohoco’s band of Sac & Fox were forcefully removed from Kansas to Indian Territory by the U.S. Army stationed at Omaha, Neb. This left the Meskwaki in Iowa and the Sac & Fox in Nebraska as the only “Sac & Fox ” not in Indian Territory.

 

1886 – “It is the opinion of the writer that they should be removed to the reservation of the tribe in the Indian Territory, for after thirty years experience in their immediate neighborhood, it seems that they do not improve, but rather fall back and their present condition is a shame to our civilization, race, to our Government and State.”

– J. H. Hollen.

Charles W. Irish and J.H. Hollen. Musquakie Indians. Manuscript. 1886. ISHS.

In 1887 Congress passes the General Allotment Act, also known as the Dawes Act, dividing most American Indian reservation lands into individual parcels. The Indian Territory (Okla.) Sac & Fox Indian Reservation is allotted into individual parcels. For all technical purposes there is no longer any “reservation” to remove the Meskwaki to and the idea of removing them to Oklahoma finally ends. On the other hand the Meskwaki Settlement was never allotted because the Meskwaki owned the land and held it in common, paying taxes to the state just as other land owners.

1888, Jan. 21- “An effort will be made to have the Musquakies of Tama removed to the Indian Territory.

-Newspaper

“The News of the State.” Evening Gazette. Jan. 21, 1888.

1890 – “The time has come when the white people of the surrounding vicinity demand that either these Indians must progress or be removed from here…it is simply a question of authority”

-W.R. Lesser, Iowa Sac & Fox Indian Agent.

“Report of Agent in Iowa. Fifty-Ninth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 1890.

 

In 1890 a Sioux band are killed by U.S. Troops in the Wounded Knee Massacre.

 

In 1896 the State of Iowa cedes Meskwaki trust land (formerly held by the Governor’s Office) and jurisdiction of tribe to the Federal Government.

During the winter of 1902 a Smallpox epidemic rages throughout the Midwest. Federal Government burns down the Meskwaki village on the Settlement and warns that anyone caught leaving the Settlement will be shot, even if seeking food or medical attention and then prohibits the people from living in a village-type setting… assigning dispersed residents to places spread over the Settlement as a measure to prevent rapid spread of future epidemics.

1957, August 8-11- Meskwaki celebrate first 100 years during the 42nd Annual Pow-Wow and Meskwaki Indian Centennial.

1957- “Century old documents usually well hidden by Mesquakies will be displayed Aug. 8-11 at the tribes centennial celebration in conjunction with the 42nd annual Pow Wow. Many Iowans will find the documents interesting and there’s a good chance that some of them will be able to pick out the name of an ancestral settler on one of the petitions, containing 128 signatures. The old papers, a little ragged on the edges now and showing their age are among the most valued possessions of the tribe.”

-Iowa Newspaper

“Aged Papers Tell Story of Mesquakies.” Tama News Herald. July 11, 1957.

1992, May 27– After 147 years a Proclamation was signed by the Tribal Council proclaiming July 13, as a Meskwaki National Holiday. On July 13, 1992 the Meskwaki celebrated the first Meskwaki Proclamation Holiday.

2007, July 13, the Meskwaki celebrate 150 years.

With the turbulent years between the Removal and Reservation Periods most tribes were being forced into reservations. The Meskwaki are the first and one of the few tribes that returned home. The Meskwaki with their perseverance and faith in their traditional Meskwaki religious beliefs plus trust in themselves and their leaders that they would prevail in order to return, purchase land and remain in Iowa.

The information was compiled and prepared by Johnathan L. Buffalo,
Historical Preservation Dept.
Revised 2013

 

NOTE: Portions of the preceding information were copied from the collections of the State Historical Society of Iowa and has been reproduced with their permission.

 

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