Mesquakies Return to Iowa

Time Frame: 1856

Mesquakie Indians bought back some of their Iowa homeland in 1856 and vowed to live in peace with European settlers.
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“First People of the Prairies,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 1, Iowa Public Television, 1979.

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The Mesquakies were not happy with life on the reservation in Kansas, nor did they approve the way the Sauk—their long time allies—were trying to run their lives. In 1856 the Government declared the Sauks and the Mesquakies were to move again—this time to a reservation in Oklahoma. But the Mesquakies decided to try to return to Iowa, where they felt they belonged. A number of Mesquakies had never left the state. They convinced local white settlers that they wished to live in peace on their own land. The Mesquakie Tribal Chief, Mamenwaneke, came to Iowa with $735 he had raised from Mesquakie families and petitioned Governor James Grimes to allow the tribe to purchase their own land in Iowa. With the aid of Governor Grimes and other white men who sympathized with the Mesquakies, 80 acres of land were purchased in Tama County. Over the years they added more land to their holdings, ‘til today they claim of 3,000 acres.


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