The Meskwaki People At The Turn Of The Century.

In an earlier post, we gave you a larger overview of the Sauk and Fox people. Over nearly a one-hundred year period (1735-1830), as the Meskwaki (Fox) people allied closely with the Sauk tribe, the Meskwaki/Fox settled, primarily, on the western sides of the Mississippi while their friends, the Sauk people, lived on the east. Both tribes traded freely with each other and with the French, and fought alongside the British, providing a lifestyle that was partially Native American, and partially European.

Read about the history of the Sauk & Fox people here.

Fast forward to the 1830’s – after the Black Hawk War of 1832 – and we find the United States government stepping in, for treaty-making purposes, and combining the two tribes into a single group known as the Sauk (Sac) & Fox Confederacy or The Meskwaki Tribe. It was during this time (1832-1833) when the Meskwaki people were forced from their villages on the Mississippi River, migrating westward into, what is today, east-central Iowa.

Read about Chief Poweshiek and the Meskwaki people of Johnson County.

Sadly, through a series of land concessions (1832-1842), under the name of “Sac & Fox,” the Meskwaki tribes were forced to move westward again and again, finally losing all of their lands in Iowa by 1845. It was at this point, the Meskwaki people were relocated to reservations in east-central Kansas.

In 1857, the Sauk & Fox Tribes – known today as the Meskwaki Nation – returned to a portion of their land here in Iowa. Originally purchasing 80 acres in Tama County, today the proud Meskwaki people own 7,054 acres of rich Iowa farm land, and are a beautiful and important part of the diverse culture we celebrate in the Hawkeye State. Which brings us now to…

As we discuss on another post – between 1900 and 1920 – the penny postcard was the primary way that Americans communicated with one another. Today, we have email, texts, instant messenger, and cell phones, but in 1905, if someone wanted to send a cheap & fast message to a friend, they bought a picture postcard at a local store, wrote a quick message on the backside, stuck a 1-cent postage stamp in the top right corner, and within a day or two, your message was delivered – pretty much to any mailbox in nearly any city across the United States!

Around 1905, in Tama, Iowa – home of the Meskwaki Tribe – a set of decorative penny postcards was produced to be used by members of the tribe, local residents, and of course, any visitors who might have been traveling through Tama County. In April 2023, on Ebay, a vendor was selling 26 of these beautiful penny postcards. While we were unable to buy all of the actual cards, we were able to secure copies of the very rare photos that were used on the postcards. So here, on this page, allow us to present to you…

FYI – We’ve added – below each photograph – the text that was used on each postcard. Notice that the spelling of Meskwaki has changed over the years, and of course, some of the text does not reflect language that would be used today…
(P-0389a) Musquakie Indians
(P-0389b) Squaw And Papoose
(P-0389c) Que-ta-chu-hah
Tama Indian Mother And Child
(P-0389d) Indian Squaw
Musquakie Maiden
Indian Belle
Ida Pow-e-shiek
Ka-Pa-Uow Waiting at the Wick-I-Up

(P-0389e & P-0389f) Chief Push-e-the-ne-qua

(P-0389g) Wa-ne-ta-wa-na
(P-0389h) Kwi-ya-ma
(P-0389i) Young Brave
Home of Wah-Wa-Tee
Musquakie Wickiup
Sac Fox Indians
Sac Fox Indians
Sac Fox Indians
Musquakie Bead Workers
The Musquakie Indians
Sac And Fox Indians
Musquakie Cemetery

These penny postcards are just one way we, here at Our Iowa Heritage are doing our part in keeping the memory of these early Native Iowans alive.

Click here to read about Remembrance Park – a new effort to recognize the importance of these earliest days in Johnson County history.

Click here to read our Indigenous Land Acknowledgement…

Click here to access our list of stories of those who have made a difference in this call for Unity Through Diversity…

Click here to access our Rich Stories of Diversity Timeline…

Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.

The Meskwaki Nation website

Meskwaki, Wikipedia

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