For several years (1832-1837) the working relationship between the white settlers and the Meskwaki people was cordial, but in all honesty, everyone on both sides knew that this American hunger for more land would never end until all the indigenous tribes had been properly expelled. Chief Poweshiek, as the chosen spokesman for the Meskwaki/Fox tribes across Iowa, did his best to keep the peace with the white man while also fighting his own battles within. Once again, allow me to share from historian Thomas Burnell Colbert’s writings on Chief Poweshiek…
A history of Poweshiek County published in 1880 states that Poweshiek had “a disposition full of exactness and arrogance” and was “blunt and outspoken.” A 1910 Scott County history called him a “striking specimen of his race,” remarking that, “those who knew him called him a man of great energy, a wise counselor and the soul of honor” who “remembered kindness, and his word could be relied upon.”
Others said that he had a “passion for justice” and “his word was regarded as sacred.” Another commentator noted that (Poweshiek) was of “good character, truthful and just, and ruled his Indians with an iron hand.” And Col. S.C. Trowbridge, who “became an intimate friend” of Poweshiek’s, in 1837 described him as a man with “a strong sense of justice, and was brave, true to his word and faithful to a friend. His word was sacred … He was rather slow to be aroused, but when fairly aroused to action, showed a great deal of energy and force of character, combined with a fair degree of executive talent and judicial facility.”
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