July 13th is Meskwaki Nation Day

Happy Meskwaki Nation Day – July 13th!

The Meskwaki Nation has always worked hard to preserve its culture and protect its people.

Our people are of Algonquian origin from the Eastern Woodland Culture areas and have been historically located in the St. Lawrence River Valley, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa.  We have always identified ourselves as “Meskwaki”, the Red Earth People, but we have been called different names by others:   Renards (French for Foxes), the Fox, Squawkies, Outagami, Musquakies, Tama Indians, etc.  After fighting the French and their allies during a 40-year period known as “The Fox Wars” and being relocated multiple times, the Tribe collectively purchased land in Tama County, Iowa, which produced a formal federal identity as the “Sac & Fox of the Mississippi in Iowa”. On July 13, 1857, when the deed of sale was executed by the Butler family in front of a Tama County Justice of the Peace, our ancestors officially and formally purchased their first 80 acres and began adding ground shortly thereafter.  Today, we continue to purchase land as opportunities arise and the Meskwaki Nation currently owns more than 8,100 acres in Tama, Marshall, and Palo Alto Counties in the State of Iowa.

On May 27, 1992 The Tribal Council passed a resolution proclaiming the date of July 13, 1857 shall be a Meskwaki National Holiday from that day forward.

What we celebrate today is one achievement among many, resulting from of hundreds of years of hard work by many people whose common goal was to have a home in order to grow crops, raise children and practice Meskwaki religion and tribal ways without interference.  We honor our grandfathers and grandmothers who fought to keep their families together and endured many deprivations that today seem far away, more than a century and a half from the original land purchase. The annual celebration on July 13th provides the Tribe and its many friends, co-workers, and Iowa’s people chance to reflect on our amazing shared history, and it gives us an opportunity to communicate our values, traditions, and our continuing hopes for a good future.

~ Johnathan Buffalo, Meskwaki Historic Preservation