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Meskwaki Settlement, Iowa facts for kids

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Meskwaki Settlement, Iowa
Water tower, Meskwaki Settlement
Water tower, Meskwaki Settlement
Country United States
State Iowa
County Tama
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s) 641
"Mesquakie Indians responsible for the establishment of the Mesquakie Settlement," 1857 photograph.
Total population
Enrolled members: 1300
Regions with significant populations
 United States Iowa
English, Meskwaki
Traditional religion (incl. syncretistic forms)
Related ethnic groups
Sac, Kickapoo

The Meskwaki Settlement is an unincorporated community in Tama County, Iowa, United States, west of Tama. This was part of the historic territory of the Meskwaki, an Algonquian people. (They were known to English colonists and Americans as the Fox.) Since 1857, when Meskwaki bought land here, it has been home to a sizable community of Meskwaki Indians. They are enrolled in the federally recognized Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, one of three Sac and Fox tribes in the United States. The others are located in Oklahoma and Kansas.


The Meskwaki traded with French colonists of the Illinois Country but were forced west by competition in the 18th-century fur trade and later United States development pressures. In the early decades of the 19th century, the Meskawki and Sac were being forced to cede land in Iowa and nearby areas to the United States and to move west of the Mississippi River. The Iowa state legislature passed a law to allow them to buy land, which they did in 1857. Over the following 150 years, the Meskwaki gradually expanded the settlement by purchasing nearby lands. As the settlement was never formally incorporated as a city it has no official name, and was commonly called "Indian Town" into the 20th century. The anthropologist Duren Ward suggested the settlement be named "Meskwakia," but this name never caught on. In the 21st century, there are three other federally recognized Sac and Fox tribes, who have independent reservations and governments in present-day states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

Notable Meskwaki

  • Ray Young Bear, writer


The community is within the South Tama County Community School District.

There is also the Sac and Fox Tribe-operated Meskwaki Settlement School (MSS), a PK-12 school. It was formed in 1938 as a merger of two Native American day schools. Typically settlement students attend the tribal school or South Tama County High School.

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