All posts by Shannon Mitchell

Changes Considered to Title 8 School Board Elections

At its regular meeting convened on November 18, 2020 the Tribal Council considered changes to TITLE 8 (Elections) Sec. 8-2105 SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS together with additions of Sec. 8-401 through Sec. 8-406 of the Code of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa.  Further council approval is subject to consideration of comments that may be forthcoming during a thirty (30) day public comment period.

These changes will allow and provide for how school board members for the Meskwaki Settlement School will be elected.

Accordingly, a copy of the proposed changes to Title 8 is immediately available for public review and comment through December 18, 2020.  You may request a copy of the subject law for your review by contacting:

Office of the Attorney General

Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa

349 Meskwaki Road, Tama Iowa 52339

Telephone Number (641) 484-4678. 

DUE TO COVID-19:  Please do not appear in person – Request a copy of the proposed changes by phone and a copy will be emailed to you.

All comments should be submitted in writing to the Office of the Attorney General no later than 4: 30 p.m. December 18, 2020.

Meskwaki Organix Store Opens

This week, Meskwaki Inc., the economic development arm of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, will be opening the Meskwaki Organix Store, located inside the Meskwaki Travel Plaza. The store will be selling CBD products and will give the local community an opportunity to learn more about the potential positive impacts of cannabinoids. The store project has moved forward with the help and enthusiasm of Meskwaki Inc. staff, despite delays from the Covid-19 pandemic and derecho storm which hit the region in August.

The Meskwaki Organix Store is the first tribally-owned CBD dispensary located on tribal land in the state of Iowa. While the Meskwaki Nation has their sights set on developing a hemp economy that they would control from seed to shelf, the easiest point in the industry to break into is retail and wholesale. The Meskwaki Organix Store will also play a role in market research and product development to determine what CBD products are preferred by customers.

Products will also be marketed through the tribe’s wholesale division, Big River Trading Company. Product Specialist Vincent Lasley shared, “We have a unique opportunity here in Iowa to destigmatize hemp plant uses, and to hopefully assist our customers to know how to use the plant in its various forms. Our staff is excited to share their knowledge with patrons.”

Many people have turned to CBD products as an alternative to assist with pain management and other health issues. All of the products in the store are from industrial hemp, which contain less than .3% Delta-9 THC and have no psychoactive impacts on the body.  Industrial hemp was approved through the U.S. 2014 and 2018 farm bills. Many farmers and businesses across Iowa are excited to see how the CBD market will grow.

Meskwaki Organix Manager Darrell Hill stated that he is incredibly excited for the opportunity to be a part of this venture, adding “We can’t wait to be a part of the hemp journey and expand access and education to customers.”

The Meskwaki Organix Store will be opening on Friday, November 13th to the public, and will be open seven days a week from 11am-6pm.


Tribute to Thomas Jochum

It is with great sadness that the Tribe has been informed of the passing of Thomas Jochum. Tom had been the tribe’s lobbyist in Des Moines for 20 years. He was a friend to many tribal members and a fierce ally of the tribe.

Over the years he helped the tribe shepherd many important pieces of legislation through the Capitol which eventually become law. Some of the many state laws Tom worked on included legislation requiring state courts to honor tribal court orders, changes to the Indian Child Welfare Act and allowing state agencies and local municipalizes to legally enter into agreements with the tribe. One of his major accomplishments was securing the passage of a state law calling on Congress to repeal a federal statute which had granted the state criminal jurisdiction over various crimes committed on the Settlement. Through Tom’s hard work, devotion and outright dedication the tribe was able to restore another part of its sovereignty that had been taken away by the federal government. When the tribe ever had an issue with the State of Iowa, Tom was the man to go to. He knew everybody and everybody knew him.

Tom was originally from Dubuque and was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1975 where he served for 18 years. He went on to become the Executive Director of ARC and continued the fight in protecting the rights of Iowans with disabilities. Later he started his own consulting firm and became affiliated with the tribe.

Tom was a warrior. Tom fought hard for the tribe over the years but in the end he lost his battle with cancer on November 9, 2020 at the age of 68. Tom is survived by his wife Amy, four children and his “best friend” dog, Buster. He was proceeded in death by his beloved daughter Sarah.

Funeral Services will be held 10:30 on Friday, November 13 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in des Moines. Masks are requested and seating is limited due to distancing requirements. The service can be live streamed beginning at 10:15 from

In lieu of flowers Tom has requested that donations be made to Camp Sunnyside, Holy Trinity Church or the Democratic Party of Iowa.


Indigenous Peoples’ Day: News Release in Partnership with the University of Northern Iowa

Native and Indigenous communities all over the world embrace the Seventh Generation Principle, a guiding philosophy that in all decisions we must consider how descendants seven generations into the future will be affected. Stewardship—the care we take of the land and the people in our community—is at the heart of the Seventh Generation Principle.
To honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the principle of stewardship, the University of Northern Iowa and the Meskwaki Nation: the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa are joining together to honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the importance of stewardship.
The university is located on land formerly stewarded by members of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Meskwaki Nation and other Indigenous tribes. The university acknowledges our responsibility to continue the legacy of stewardship by caring for the land on which the university sets, delivering our mission for the people and communities of Iowa and beyond, and ensuring our actions today lay a strong foundation for generations to come. The Meskwaki join the university in collaboration to help guide faculty, staff, and students in growing the university’s commitment to stewardship and Indigenous peoples and cultures.
The university makes the following commitments to honor Indigenous peoples and cultures:

  • That the university will lift up our Indigenous faculty and staff by exploring and implementing programs and practices that support their personal journeys and affirm their value as members of the Panther Family.
  • That the university will nurture our Indigenous students by honoring their cultures and offering financial and support services that foster their recruitment, retention, and success.
  • That the university will build relationships with Indigenous tribes and organizations to inform our work as we sustain Indigenous cultures.
  • That the university will develop an explicit strategy for maintaining the knowledge learned in this process, and will create an internal framework specifically for the purpose of creating institutional memory not only to curate the knowledge but to also ensure it remains a living and evolving body of useful information accessible in the future to faculty, staff, students, and Indigenous tribes.
  • That the university will continuously evaluate our land stewardship practices in order to promote environmental sustainability.
To grow in this work, the university and the Meskwaki Tribe are proud to announce a series of collaborations that honor our mutual commitment to stewardship and care for Indigenous peoples.

  • Faculty, staff, students, and members of the Meskwaki Tribe, along with other Tribes having historical and present day connection to this land, will develop a Land Stewardship Statement. This statement will not only serve as an acknowledgement of the history of the land on which the university sets, but will also outline a set of principles for environmental and mission stewardship that honor the legacy of Native and Indigenous heritage and culture. A draft will be generated by the workgroup this fall, and will be reviewed by the campus’ shared governance groups before formal adoption.
  • Faculty and staff are working to establish a program for UNI faculty to support the professional development of language and culture teachers at the Meskwaki Settlement School.
  • UNI faculty and staff are working with the Meskwaki Settlement School to lay plans to reinstate a summer camp for Meskwaki youth to learn about the college experience and be empowered to pursue higher education. UNI’s Office of Student Success and Retention is also collaborating with the Meskwaki Settlement School’s Higher Education program to promote college readiness for students at the settlement school.
  • The UNI Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is developing scholarships for students who graduate from the Meskwaki Settlement School or South Tama High School to promote their access and success if they choose to enroll at UNI.
  • UNI’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice is working to establish a student organization focused on honoring Native and Indigenous cultures and to enhance campus engagement opportunities.
As UNI embarks on the 145th year since its Founding, the university is quickly approaching the seventh generation of those who have lived, worked, or studied here. We have important work ahead to continue stewarding this land and promoting the success of each individual who will call this place home for years and generations to come.
In Partnership,

Mark A. Nook

President – University of Northern Iowa

Judith Bender

Chair – Meskwaki Tribal Council

Mark A. Nook
Judith Bender
Chair, Meskwaki Tribal Council

Elder Veterans To Be Honored by Youth Department

From the Youth Department:  Due to COVID and the safety of our Elder Veterans this year we would like to do something different but special. We are still working on all the details and will have more to come, but right now we are asking that if you know someone that is a Veteran or a Meskwaki Community Veteran please have them fill out our form so we can include them in this upcoming Veterans Day.

Park Expansion Survey

Greetings Parents, Colleagues, & Community Members!

We are happy to announce that our program along with Executive, Health, MNR, Media, Facilities and community members S & J Buffalo, have been working on updating our community park and would love to get your feedback!  We are asking all Parents, Employees, and Jr High/High School Students in the Meskwaki Community to take a few minutes to fill out this survey.  This survey will greatly impact the current facilities that we have at Anagewa “Rainbow” park and will also help us decide our expansion efforts. A great incentive to complete the survey is your chance to win a raffle!

Here is the link to the survey:–trails.html

Here is the QR Code to the survey:

The survey will be available until Friday October 16, 2020 4:30PM, and we will announce the winner of the raffle via FB live on Monday October 19, 2020 at 12pm-noon.

Emergency Derecho Assistance




The Meskwaki Tribal Council has authorized the Executive Director to provide financial assistance to enrolled Meskwaki Tribal Members who live OFF the Meskwaki Settlement and within one of the Disaster Declared Counties of Iowa related to the August 10th  “Derecho Storm” event. Meskwaki Derecho Emergency Assistance is for losses to your household due to the Derecho Storm Event on August 10, 2020 only.  All losses outlined in this request must be related to the Derecho event.

Approved Counties include: Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama

Before submitting this request for Meskwaki Derecho Emergency Assistance, you must have applied to FEMA for Individual Assistance and have either:

1.)  Been denied assistance; or

2.)  Received inadequate assistance.

** Proof of FEMA application and denial is required. 

FEMA is providing Disaster Recover Center locations in the region to accept Individual Assistance applications to residents of the above counties for losses due to the Derecho Storm.  A Meskwaki Nation location will be provided in early October.

Please use one of these sites to apply for FEMA assistance; or you may apply online. (

Follow the steps below to apply for Meskwaki Derecho Emergency Assistance:

  1. Complete the attached form.
  2. Attach your FEMA response letter to the application.
  1. Attach documents to validate your losses and request for assistance.
  1. Mail or deliver to:

Meskwaki Nation

Attn:  Executive Director

349 Meskwaki Road

Tama, IA  52339