Meskwaki Anthology

The following was written by Johnathan L. Buffalo as a student paper for Professor Malcolm Rohrbough at the University of Iowa in December 1979. This chronicle of powwows from 1890s to 1973 is based on oral tradition, newspapers, articles, books, personal papers, photographs, and other sources. Click here to learn more about the powwow or follow links in the text to find a poster or photograph relating to a particular powwow. Copyright © 1979 All Rights Reserved. Cannot be used without written permission.

Green Corn Dance to Annual Powwow: A History of the Annual Meskwaki Pow Wow

The Meskwaki Powwow comes from the traditional religious and social beliefs of the tribe. It is not a religious event in itself but has a lit­tle content. This side of the powwow is kept away from the main event. And what religious is part of the main event, only those who believe and un­derstand know of it. No one is forced to take it as a religion. It depends on each Meskwaki on how he sees the powwow.

Most of the powwow comes from the social side of the Meskwaki; a time when the tribe gets together and enjoys each others company; a time we are told to play together, because we do not know who will miss the next pow ­wow; a time to put away our arguments and become a tribe. Even if we are a small tribe, we are never in one place until the powwow.

The main background of the powwow comes from the Green Corn Dance. Other parts come from other social events that were added to the powwow. The Green Corn Dance was a time when the tribe harvested the crops, danced, played games and sports. Some of the dances of today came from this event. Some people who came to the settlement in the late 1890’s saw this event. Here are what a few people said of the Green Corn dance.

Mary A. Owen, who studied the tribe in 1897, said this about the event, “This is to a Musquakie what Thanksgiving Day is to a Yankee or the Feast of the First Fruits to a Semite. It generally takes place in August, though it is occasionally in July or September, if the maize matures early or very late…. The dancing and feasting is interrupted now and then with horse racing, gambling and ball playing. It goes on for one or two weeks, but it is a playtime for men alone. After the first kettlefuls, the women do the cooking. Besides what they cook for the feast, they boil and then dry in the sun a great quantity of this favorite food, which they afterwards pack in sacks made of bark and bury in deep pits lined with mats made of tules or rushes. This is provision for winter, but some is always saved until the time of the dance comes around again. When the men are not dancing the women sometimes take some steps.”

Allie B. Busby, an Indian School Teacher in 1882, said this about the Green Corn Dance or Mule Dance as she calls it,  “Another dance, called Mam-ma-kuk-shaw or the Mule Dance is very popular, and is the only one in which the women take part with the men, which is the only occasion in which they wait upon the women and show them any attention or respect. After the dancing is ended they have a banquet and feast until morning. We should not imagine the Mam-na-kaw-shaw or Green Corn Dance, as it is often called, to be an elevating or moral spectacle.”  It is clear she didn’t understand the event as Mary A. Owen did. Miss Busby was there to teach the tribe a new way and not there to learn the culture.

H. Rebok, the Indian Agent, in his reports of 1894-1897 said that “one of the greatest barriers to their progress and industry is the love of dance, the (Green) Corn Dance, the Clan feast and many religious services occur most frequently during the summer.”

A. D. Bicknell, who visited the Meskwaki in 1897, said this about the event, “Lack of space forbids extended comment on the manner...(of)... their two kinds of dances, one exclusively religious and sacred to the faithful alone, the other with an open door to the whiteman as well as the red (other tribes?) and which is devoted to all available excesses, their annual  thanksgiving, the ‘Great Green Corn Dance Festival.’”

Orville J. Green, Indian Agent in the late 1900’s, said, “this wisdom it is the duty of the fathers to pass on to the children in their songs, dances, games, and sacred services, these ceremonies making up their schools and social and religious life.”

The next few writers do not talk about a dance but what the tribe was like. It would be safe to say that the Green Corn dance and culture was old.

Samuel B. Evans who visited the tribe in 1895 said, “the Musquakie is a survival of all that barbarism which dominated the continent 400 years ago, and his proudest boast is that he is an Indian still.”

Horace M. Rebok, Indian Agent in 1898, said “in customs, habits, tradi­tions and religion, the Musquakies of today are perfect representatives of their ancestors of centuries ago.”

Even way into the Annual years Huron H. Smith, who studied the tribe in 1923, said, “although they appear to be highly civilized to the casual visi­tor, there are many who speak no English and who cling to the old ways and customs.”

The Green Corn Dance was one of the times when the tribe came together. It was easy for them to do it because all the people lived in one village and harvested their corn in one big field, with each family planting and harvesting their own part. But one thing happened to change this. In 1902 a smallpox epidemic came to the tribe, killing about 45 people. So the government made the tribe live apart. By doing this people lived about 2 to 6 miles apart and the common cornfield became family gardens. People planted and harvested their own time.

1913 was the year of the first powwow. There are 9 years between 1902 and 1913 to account for. When the tribe were made to live apart, the common Harvest was least important. Place and time became a factor when the tribe met. Since the tribe couldn’t be all in one place, they made a spot to dance and since the people had their homes away from the dancing ground, the dan­cing could not last as long.

The years 1902 to 1913 were when the Field Days was held. It lasted about a week, with games, dancing, and contests. It was a general social gath­ering. In 1905 white visitors were charged 10 cents each. I know little of this event. One reason why they started to charge was because it was money and why not charge them? The other was, so many people started coming, it was one way to control them.

There are a few versions of how the powwow was formed. It might be one or more that made the powwow. The first version was told to me when I was doing the Oral History paper in Iowa History Class in April 1977: There were 3 friends, John Buffalo, Fred Brown and Isaac Wanatee. They decided to organize a powwow. So being that John Buffalo’s father was Chief Pushetonequa, he was elected to ask him for his permission. So he went to his father and told him their idea. And he said what they thought was good and to go ahead with their idea. And with the Chief’s permission they went on ahead. There must have been other men working with them, be­cause 3 men couldn’t handle a big thing as a powwow. Isaac Wanatee was the secretary and he kept a record in Meskwaki of what they did. But I do not know of any record or if there is one, where it is. It might be before 1912 when it was called Field Days.

The second version is from Sol Tax’s Documentary History of the Fox Project; 1944-1959 (1960): “In 1913, under the guidance of local whites, the Indians instituted a formally organized body intended specifically to administer the Powwow; committee was modeled almost exactly after that of the traditional tribal council. Like the council, it was composed of 15 men who were selected by the Chief, and who represented all the important family groups in the tribe. It is highly significant that the first Powwow committee was set up at the time when the Government Agent first began to exert a strong and persistent pressure on the chief’s council, attempting both to influence its policy making, and to dictate the selection of its members so as to include only those men sympathetic to the progressive policies of the Government. This pressure tended to make impossible two of the most important traditional requirements of the council, first that its membership include representatives from all parts of the tribe, and not only from one faction; and second, that it be able to ar­rive at its decisions in its own way by gradual deliberation, and free from external pressures. By instituting the Powwow committee at this time, the Fox in a sense transferred from the council to the Powwow committee the characteristics felt to be essential to a governing organ, when ‘government pres­sures prevented the council from operating.’”

The third version is that when local whites began to attend the harvest dances, Chief Pushetonequa was quick to see the potential of the festival as a cash income for the tribe and established a policy of charging whites a small admission fee. And in 1912, he appointed 15 men to plan for 1913. These men were Youngbear, James Poweshiek, William Wanatee, Charley Keosutuck, Sam Lincoln, Alfred Keahna, John Morgan, George Kapayou, Sam Slick, Charles Davenport, William Davenport, C.H. Chuck, Frank Shuwata, Jim Peters, and John Buffalo.

Harlan also says a few things about the powwow. But he says that wasn’t dancing. Harlan wrote in 1921, “A few years ago they revived a custom they say they have from prehistoric times, and when they say resembles our annual Thanksgiving, wherein they express in their way their joy and thanks, their friendship, and their elation. Whitemen have faultily characterized these exercises as Indian dancing, and the occasion, which resembles in their years round our county fairs, has again faultily been by the white man dubbed with the Indian name “Powwow.”

How it was named “Powwow” also has a few versions. According to any dictionary, “Powwow” is an Algonquian word “powwaw” meaning: 1) Medicine man, 2) Indian ceremony, 3) Indian conference or meeting. The Meskwaki being Algonquin speakers, know of no word “powwow” in the language. It has always thought that the white man made it up.

We can say that since the Meskwaki are Algonquin speakers, that the Powwow is rightfully named; but there are three versions of how it was called Powwow: The first version is that whenever some Meskwaki would pass a town, white children would run by their horses and yell, “Powwow, Powwow.” So when they needed a name for the Powwow, they said why not name it “Powwow” because it’s what the white man understands. So this is why it’s called Powwow (as told to me by my uncle, H. B.).

The second version is that when the Meskwaki said fair, they pronounced it “Pe-we.” In time it changed to “Paw waw” and finally to “Powwow.” The last is when Chief Pushetonequa told the 15 men to form, he told them to change the name from Field Pays to Powwow.

We saw how the Green Corn Dance was held and when, then in 1902, the Tribe had to move apart and the Field Days came into being. Then now the Council was losing its traditional form of government. So the Powwow was formed to keep it. And now the Field Days was beginning to be a commercial enterprise and some organization and planning was needed. Next came the years when all this became what we know as the Annual Meskwaki Powwow.

In the early years of the powwow, few newspapers covered it. After 1919 when the powwow was well known, the papers began to write about it year after year.

The first Powwow was given on 1913. Most of the information comes from the Tama newspaper article, “Charles Davenport Recalls Early Days of the Pow­wow,” Aug. 1932. It was held on the south side of the Iowa River, by old Highway 30. Four to five wickiups were arranged in a circle to enclose the dance ground. Some dances were the Meskwaki, Bean, Buffalo Head, Snake, Swan, and Shawnee dances, and just plain dancing. The men danced in the circle and the women danced in the outer circle. John Buffalo was the Head Singer, a twelve piece Indian band played under the direction of Al Morgan, and a white man, S.W. Kline, helped them organize.

Three tribes were the visiting Indians. These were Winnebagos from Nebraska, Kickapoos from Kansas, and Sauks from Oklahoma. Everyone received a share of 50 cents.

The powwow in 1914 was the 1st Annual Powwow but the papers did not record it.

The 2nd Annual Powwow was held in Sept, 5-6, 1915. Harvest dances were held with LaCrosse and baseball games. The Indian Band played under the direction of J. W. Kime. Papers reported about 500 cars lined up along the camp.

The 3rd Annual Powwow was held in 1916 and made a gate receipt of $1,700.00 according to a lawsuit of 1920.

August 8-12, 1917, the 4th Annual Powwow was held. In a poster it was called a “Grand Indian Powwow.” In the same lawsuit in 1920, $2,000.00 was declared in gate receipts.

In 1917, the Meskwaki met E. R. Harlan from Des Moines and he became friends with the tribe that would last, also he helped the powwow become well known.

An unknown author wrote about the powwow of 1917 in the Iowa Magazine, 1918. The author with some friends were driving along the Lincoln Highway, when they came upon a sign, “Heap Big Powwow and War Council.” They drove to the gate and paid $1.00. They saw Indians walking everywhere. The dance arena was three sides of a square covered over with a roof of boughs, bound together with reeds. Along the square were Indian women, children and old men, watching the men dance. The dancers were mostly men between the ages of 18 to 30. Every now and then the old men would dance and the little boys would dance now and then. “The honor and glory of the tribe would be defended in years to come by these little warriors of the next generation.” In the center sat the singers with a skin drum.

An Indian delivered an oration in Meskwaki, then one man went to the drum and began a slow song. One after another joined him till there were seven singing slowly. Then Youngbear came out and gave a short command in Meskwaki and the people began to dance. The movements being slow, then faster, till the dance stopped. After some dances, the author went to walk around. He saw little Indian boys selling cold drinks and young Indian girls in red blankets selling beadwork.

Visitors were not allowed to take any pictures. When they tried, the old men standing near by would stop them. So the author went to E. L. Beard, Ed Goodbell, and D.A. Murdaugh from Tama, who were in the audience. He was told they could not speak English, so he went to see Youngbear. Youngbear told him pictures were not allowed. So he told Youngbear if pictures were taken and printed in the Iowa Magazine maybe other people would come next year. So they were allowed to take pictures.

The author saw automobiles driven by Indians from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

I will end my report of the 1917 Powwow with what Youngbear said when the author asked him about taking pictures, “Sure I can speak a little English, but hurry up with what you have to say because I’m busy. This is our big day.”

The 5th Annual Powwow was held on Aug. 22-26, 1918. The committee was Pete Oldbear, George Kapayou, John Bear, Sr., Charles Davenport, John Watoase, Isaac Wanatee, and Sam Slick. There were 14 concessions run by white men and 10 concessions run by Indians. One non-Indian concession was a merry-go-round with doll racks and gambling. The same lawsuit of 1920 claims $3,000 in gate receipts.

The 6th Annual Powwow was well known event because of the help of [Edgar R.] Harlan and [Joseph] Svacina. They helped by printing posters, contacting newspapers and dealing with the white people. Harlan also announced in English, this helped the visitors know what was going on (before everything was announced in Meskwaki).

The dancing was done under a “bark roof from early afternoon up to late at night. The same dances were done just like before. The Scalp Dance, or Victory in modern times was added. This was because of the four Meskwaki coming back from World War I. The men lead the dance in their uniforms.

Guy Woods filmed the powwow for the Historical Department from Des Moines. Some filming had been done the year before and would go on till the early 1930’s, but these films have been lost for some time now. A baseball game was won by the Meskwaki team with the score of Indians, 8, Marion, 0. A tug of war with five Indians and five white was also done. Bow and Arrow contest and LaCrosse games were other events. A pony race with six Meskwaki boys was done. Grant Mitchell and George Soldier were thrown off their ponies. The winning pony was ridden by William Johnson. Ruth Johnson was the winner of the 100 yard dash, as part of the footraces.

In 1919 light plant units might have been used but I am not sure.

Harlan in a letter of Sept. 1923 to the Indian Agent told the Agent, “I witnessed the 1919 settlement of accounts with amazement. I did not know how they kept books or counted or computed. But I saw in one hour the payment of obligations to outsiders and the separation into allotments to those sharing. It was a spectacle that would have done credit to any county fair association.”

The Grinnell Herald, Aug.12, 1919, said, “By this time these powwows are beginning to have a commercial value to the Indians, but when they start their sur-nuff swaying and kiying, they forget all except the fact that they are dancing and that they are Meskwaki Indians.”

By 1920, and into the decade of the “Roaring 20’s” the powwow kind of grew up to be as it is now. There were a few changes in the 20’s. In these years the tribe was made into factions, but the tribe and the powwow survived.

The 7th Annual Powwow was held in Aug. 5-8, 1920. The committee was composed of Youngbear, Chas. Davenport, Sam Slick, Isaac Wanatee, John Morgan, John Bear, Sr., Wm. Wanatee, E. R. Harlan and Joe Svacina. One of the things done was that a Daily Indian Council with a stenographic record was made by the Historical Department; the other was a demonstration of the packing of horses with the women singing the moving songs. A Des Moines Register photographer named Yates took some good pictures. In the early 20’s his photos were used on full pages on the Register.

The powwow committee was sued by a faction of the tribe. The claim was misuse of funds from the powwows of 1916-1920. Little is known of this lawsuit at this time. Harlan felt that the fault and bad discipline had been found among those now dissatisfied with the powwow committee. He said most of them were users of peyote. Harlan was at fault for thinking this way; peyote had nothing to do with the lawsuit. Of all the factions, religion has not been the cause, but most of the committee belonged to the old religion.

The 8th Annual Powwow was held in Aug. 18-21, 1921. The attendance was not as large as before. The gate receipts were about $6,000. Sport events were a wrestling match between two white men, Clarence Casey from Chelsea and Miles Hannefy from Toledo, (Casey won the match); a boxing bout between William Matesian from Clutier and Jack Fitzgerald from Eagle Grove; and on Friday the Meskwaki baseball team won a game played with a Tama Legion team. The Meskwaki played LaCrosse, and had horse races and bow and arrow contests. Of the nine concessions, three were operated by white men and six by Indians. The doll racks and merry-go-round were absent. The merry-go-round came back a few years later. A new feature was the best agriculture exhibit prizes, which were paid for by Tama businessmen who wanted to try to get the Meskwaki into church.

The Church disapproved of the powwow, because they did not want dancing on Sundays and it kept the Meskwaki in their “pagan beliefs,” but they were powerless to do anything. After 250 years the Church should have known they could not make Christian Indians out of the Meskwaki. Harlan wrote to the Church explaining about the powwow, but it did little good. The Church at that time thought they had a duty to teach the “word” to the Indians. Up to now, few Meskwaki are Christian Indians, some have met Christianity halfway, but most Meskwaki still follow the old ways.

Harlan and Svacina were there at the 8th Annual Powwow to help in any way they were needed, with Harlan announcing in English. The dances were Friendship, Meskwaki, Buffalo Head, Shawnee, Swan, Snake and Bean dances. The Scalp dance was done by Billy Jones, a Meskwaki who had fought at France. Jim Poweshiek played the love flute. The girls and boys dances were done; few little or even older Meskwaki girls know how to dance this today. A dancing contest was held but the papers did not report who won. The Tama Indian Band played each day. Friday was the American Legion Day.

The 9th Annual Powwow was held on Aug. 16-21, 1922. The committee was Youngbear, Sam Slick, James Poweshiek, Chas. Davenport, Wm. Davenport, Wm. Wanatee, George Blackcloud, Isaac Wanatee, Frank Shawata, John Bear, Sr., John Benson, and Chas. Keostouck.

Attendance was large on Sunday with 7,000 to 8,000 people in the Pavilion. Automobiles were crowded and lined up along the road. The grounds were moved to what is called the Old Battle Ground, but it was not yet where it was since 1937. Delco lights were maintained by L.T. Fisher from Tama. Harvey Ingham who had been adopted into the tribe attended.

Farm produce exhibits were shown. Prizes went to Wm. Wanatee, Chas. Keo­stouck, George Mitchell, George Pete, John Mitchell, Sam Slick, Rose Johnson, Percy Bear, White Breast, Black Dog, Que-wa-ha and George Green. Best women’s work went to Mrs. Kustouck and Maggie Mitchell. Best Wi-ki-up went to Chas. Kustouck. Gate receipts were $4;403, with $500 expenses and 154 Meskwaki took part.

In 1923 the 10th Annual Powwow was held on Aug. 23-26. The committee was Jim Poweshiek, Pres.; Youngbear, Vice Pres.; Chas. Davenport, Sec’t.; Jonas Poweshiek, Treas.; with Albert Davenport, Chas. Keosotuk, John Benson, Wm. Wanatee, Wm. Davenport, George Blackcloud, and Svacina and Harlan.

Gate receipts were $3,200 (or $2,561 after expenses), with each dancer, singer, etc. receiving a share of $12.00.

The dancing was done in a large bower or pavilion, with the singers inside and dancers seated around the outside. Games were LaCrosse, Bow-Arrow contest, women’s and boys foot races, and tug-of-war. The ferris wheel came back and lasted a few more years. Electric lights were furnished by L.T. Fisher, and each evening the lights were turned on and the Meskwaki had supper.

Huron H. Smith in 1923 wrote, “Only on special occasions do they put on their finery for some dance. Every year from 21st to the 25th of Aug., they hold their annual corn dance, and bring in their tallest corn for the festivities. Often this corn is three times as tall as the dancer. White people come for miles to see this ceremony, which occurs only a stone’s throw from the Lincoln Highway, 3 miles west from Tama. At this time, they dress up in the most fantastic manner possible, chiefly to attract the attention of the whites. They wear feathered war bonnets and many articles of apparel, which they buy from other Indians all over the country. This serves the purpose of making an impression on the white man, (although the ethnologist knows that there is not a single Indian dressed in true Meskwaki costume). The children are adept at learning the Indian dances and songs. These dance steps and songs are not borrowed for the occasion, but are their genuine heritage.”

There were a few changes on the costumes of the tribe, but most of it was Meskwaki. The best way to do it is to look at photos from Ward in 1905 on up, and you could see the change. This would have to be another study.

To return to the powwow, the committee had in paying out shares, cut the gate receipts in half. One half was kept for next year’s expenses and the rest paid out to shares, a common practice today, but never done before 1923. Some people thought that all the money should have went to shares. Some didn’t dance in 1924 because of this.

In 1924, the 11th Annual Powwow was held, Aug. 29-31. The committee was Pres. Youngbear, Vice Pres. Chas. Davenport, Sec’t. Jonas Poweshiek, Treas. Edward Davenport, with 12 other committeemen. Youngbear, Jim Poweshiek and Harlan made broadcasts of the powwow on radio.

Dancing was done in a bower, the Pipe dance was reported as being one of the dances. I do not know if this means this was the first time danced or first time it was reported in the papers. The Potawatami introduced the Stump Dance. LaCrosse, Bow-Arrow contest and baseball games were played. A tug-of-war with 5 Indians and 5 white men was held.

On this powwow, the first Baby Health Contest was held. Frank Youngbear, Jr. won first place, 2nd place went to A-ya-wa-che (Edna Youngbear).

Six carloads of Otos, five cars of Winnebagos, three Sioux and two Alaska Indians were the visiting Indians.

Also in 1924, the Indians were made citizens of the United States and given the right to vote. The first politician to come to the powwow was Congressman Cyrenus Cole. Harvey Ingham, J. W. Jarragin also attended. They all made speeches. Police had one white woman and two white men jailed for liquor violation.

Another powwow was held the same year by a group calling themselves Night Hawks. It was held because of 1923 and of the factional strife, but it was a financial failure.

In late 1924, the Meskwaki Powwow Association was formed and a Constitution adopted. One of the reasons might have been because the Indian was made citizens. The committee might have needed some white people to deal with white people, because they were thought incapable of handling business (the Meskwaki). But now the white people thought the Indian was ready to cope with the business, so the Powwow Association was formed at the right time.

Elections were held and a new committee was formed: Pres. Jonas Poweshiek, Vice Pres. Win. Davenport, Sec’t. Edward Davenport, Ass’t. Sec’t. GeorgeYoungbear, Treas. Albert Davenport, Ass’t. Treas. Floyd Keahna, Committeemen: Frank Pushtonequa, Sr., Wm. Wanatee, George Ward, John Jones, Percy Bear, Oliver Lincoln, George Pete, Charles Keostouck, John Youngbear, John Papkee, Arthur Bear, and John Roberts.

The 12th Annual Powwow was held on Sept. 4-7. A week before the powwow, the Editor of the Toledo Chronicle wrote to the governor asking him not to attend the powwow. The Governor then called Harlan asking him for advice on the matter. Youngbear and Edward Davenport happened to be at Harlan’s office at the time. They went back to the Settlement to see what was going on. With Harlan’s help they re-invited the Governor to attend the powwow.

What the editor said was that the Meskwaki were being used by white men. He wrote of a few times that a group of Meskwaki went to dance in towns making money for white men. This he said was exploitation of the Indians. He also thought that the Meskwaki should be left alone to take care of his crops. And if the Meskwaki were let to dance, they would only think of the past and not the future.

John Hynek, editor for the Tama paper, wrote his own editorial. He said that the powwow helped the Meskwaki know how to deal better with the white man and helped him to learn how to do a business. He added that the Indians had made good progress in the last few years. Hynek added that Harlan and Svacina were helping the Meskwaki a great deal.

In the end the Governor did not come because the Indian Agent had also objected. The Governor said that he would not come until the agent withdrew his objection. When Agent Bried did withdraw his objection it was too late.

The powwow went on anyway. There were guests like Harvey Ingham; Pres. George H. Woodson from the American Negro Bar Association; a representative from the Iowa State Labor Union; Mark Thornburg, State Secretary of Agriculture; John Wallace, Editor of Wallace’s Farmer; Sen. Harry E. White; Vernon Seeburger, County Attorney; Howard J. Clark of the Iowa Bar Association.

George Yates, photographer of the Des Moines Register took some good pictures. Later some were used on full pages on the Register. Best corn was won by George Pete, first place; William Wanatee, second place; and Chas. Kafatac, third place.

Gate receipts only amounted $650.50. The cause of the low receipts was because groups of Meskwaki went out of town to dance and people thought why come; to them one dance was just like the other.

When the committee formed some people demanded the pay from 1923 but that money had been used to pay some expenses for the 1924 powwow. The committee was confused in the matter and asked for Harlan’s help. At the same time a Government inspector told the committee they would have to pay. A meeting was held with Harlan where the committee told that part of the people did not understand. When the opposing group had received some emergency money when death was in the family, it was decided that Harlan would arrange for two small powwows to raise the money needed. These were at Dexfield [near Dexter and Redfield, Iowa] and Boone. The other towns are unknown (if that was the case). The opposing people were paid. What Harlan said in that meeting did not come true, “Then it looks to me like the superintendent will be glad to receive the money if you can raise it, pay it over to those that claim it, and after that you would be one tribe again with no factions.” So this was part of the reason for the low turnout for the powwow. And the fact that the change of dates for the powwow. It was held in September and not in August as in past years.

The 13th Annual Powwow was held in Aug. 13-22, 1926. This was supposed to have been the last powwow to be held. An ad in the Tama paper read, “The coming Powwow…..”

This was the second term for the 1925 committee and this year, Harlan and Svacina were not there to help. This might be because of the accusations of the last year. The Meskwaki went on because except for the business, the powwow was Meskwaki and needed no help from anybody. Frank Youngbear (the newspaper might have meant George) was the announcer, (it had been done by Harlan). And they had to deal with the non-Indians themselves. Business wise they were on their own.

C.H. Chuck was the policeman. Jonas Poweshiek was at the ticket office where Svacina came in great help. He was the one that saw that the powwow was not cheated. The Meskwaki were not as naive as it sounds, but it was safer when they were around. This was the time when most non-Indians thought the Indians were dumb.

To get back to the powwow, Amos Youngbear (?) won the dance contest, second place went to John Painter (Winnebago), and third place went to Louis Jones. The gate receipts were $991.

The 14th Annual Powwow was held Aug. 18-21, 1927. A late decision was made to have a powwow again. The committee was: Pres. James Poweshiek, Sec’t. Edward Davenport, Treas. Jonas Poweshiek, Committeemen: Frank Pushetonequa, Youngbear, John Bear, Charles Davenport, Wm. Davenport, Henry Morgan, Bill Leaf, and George Ward. Parking was done by C. H. Chuck.

Harlan and Svancina were special guests. Because of the late decision to have a powwow, the only visiting Indians were a family of Winnebagos, who at the time were visiting. Three baseball games were played, the Meskwaki winning over Belle Plaine, 9-6; Marshalltown, 1-0; and Chelsea, 3-2.

In 1928 the 15th Annual Powwow was held Aug. 2-5. It was the 2nd term for the 1927 committee. The dance contest was won by John Bear, Jr., second place went to Valentine Davenport, Sr. and third place went to Mike Wanatee.

A LaCrosse game was played between the John Buffalo team against the Arthur Bear team. The Arthur Bear team lost. This is the only time when it is said who played LaCrosse in the powwow reports.

Baseball games were also played and a band concert was given by the Tama Indian Band each day. The gate receipts were $1,200.

The last powwow of the 1920’s was the 16th Annual Powwow held Aug. 15-18, 1929. The new elected committee were: Pres. James Poweshiek, Sec’t. Frank Wanatee, Ass’t. Sec’t. Chas. Davenport, Chief of Police, James Ward. George Youngbear was the announcer. Guests were John Hynek, E. R. Harlan, J. Svacina. 1929 was the first time the “Squaw” game was shown to the public. Concerts were played by the Tama Indian Band.

The Meskwaki baseball team won two games of baseball: Twin City team, 10-9; Paper Mill team, 10-8. The American Legion Junior team played the younger Meskwaki, with the American Legion winning by 6-4. Meskwaki sports played were LaCrosse and footraces.

Kenneth Kapayou won the dance contest, Jesse Hale (tribe unknown) placed second, and John Bear, Jr. placed third. Gloria Poweshiek won the Baby Health Contest, Eugene Harris from Oklahoma placed second. Other babies were: Milo Buffalo, Elaine Davenport, Kathlyn Poweshiek, Grace Mitchell, Clyde Wanatee, Marcella Brown. Gate receipts were $3,000.

On October 29, 1929, the Stock Market crash began the great depression and the decade of the 30’s was a time of hard times and depression. As a tribe, the Meskwaki were affected little by the depression because of their way of life – family canning and gardening.

Finally the powwow made about $1,000 to $1,500 each year. I don’t know how much buying power the dollar had at this time but the powwow came out of the depression in good shape.

The 1930’s were also the age of pageants. If this was used as a money­maker, I don’t know, but if it was, it worked. There was no known factional strife in the 30’s. Maybe everyone was too busy trying to make it, to be arguing about anything.

The 17th Annual Powwow, Aug. 14-17, 1930, was under the committee of 1931. No mention is made of the 1930 committee, but going by election of new officers and members every two years, 1930 was an election year.

The dance contest was won by Archie Bear, Sr., with Harry Snowball (Winnebago) second, and Valentine Davenport Sr. in third place. The small boys dance contest was won by Milo Buffalo with John Snowball (Winnebago) in second. Meskwaki Indian Band played with Grace Decorah (Winnebago) singing vocal solos.

The other events were: James Poweshiek playing his flute, some Indian girls singing songs, a dance where they exchange gifts with visiting Indians plus the visiting Indians were given a feast, Bow and Arrow contests, footraces, LaCrosse, and the “Squaw game.” Exhibits were also set up. The baseball game was played on Sunday with Marshall town, 4, Meskwaki, 5. The guests were John Hynek and E. R. Harlan.

Some of the dances were Friendship, Buffalo Head, Shawnee, Swan, Pipe, Soldier, Bean, and Meskwaki dance. Part of the Powwow had to be called off because of rain on Saturday.

Aug. 13-16 were the dates for the 18th Powwow Annual of 1931. The Powwow committee was made up of these people: Pres. James Poweshiek, Vice Pres. Wm. Davenport, Sec’t. Frank Wanatee, Ass’t. Sec’t. Chas. Davenport, Treas. Horace Poweshiek, with committeemen: Youngbear, Sam Slick, Arthur Bear, John Youngbear, John Papakee, Fred Brown, and Interpreter, George Youngbear.

The gate receipts were $3,421.05. Seventy-five dancers and singers with thirty-seven people as T-Cops, etc. shared $20 each. Children received half share of $10. Seventy-five visiting Indians were paid on a sliding scale. Some were from the Winnebago, Sioux, Sac and Potawatami tribes.

The dances were danced with James Powshiek playing his flute. Rose Youngbear daughter of Robert Youngbear, did her acrobatic act. Each day the Tama Indian Band played concerts. The men’s dancing contest went to Valentine Davenport, Sr.; Isaac Yellowband, a Winnebago Indian, won second place; and Henry W. Scott, a Sac Indian, won third place in the dance contest. Exhibits showed farm products, handiwork and old pictures.

In sports events, LaCrosse, Squaw, footraces and baseball were played. Three straight days baseball was played.

If non-Indians have ever said that Indians cannot act, the first pageant of 1931 proved them wrong. This was the beginning of many acting careers.

In 1932, the 19th Annual Powwow was held Aug. 18-21. A new committee was composed of these people: Pres, James Poweshiek, Vice Pres. Wm. Davenport, Sec’t. Chas. Davenport, Treas., (unknown), with committeemen: Youngbear, John Bear, Arthur Dear, John Jones, Sam Slick, John Youngbear, Fred Brown, George Sanache, Bill Leaf, John Papakee,George Ward, Jim Ward (chief of police).

Along with the regular dances, there were a few special dances. Billy Jones did the Hunter’s dance, James Poweshiek did Antics of a grisly bear pantomime, and John Papakee and Billy Jones did the Eagle dance. The dance contest was won by John Bear, Jr., second place went to Mike Wanatee, and third went to James Papakee. Little boys contest was held each afternoon with Elmer Roberts winning for three days and Harlan Snowball (Winnebago) winning on Sunday.

Exhibits of arts and crafts were shown. The Tama Indian Band played their concerts. LeRoy Duncan, a Meskwaki who had traveled with rodeos, entertained with some fancy trick roping.

The “Squaw” game was played on Saturday and Sunday. In the baseball games, the Meskwaki team lost to a Haven team, 7-4, and a second game the Meskwaki losing to Pershing team, 9-7. On Sunday the Meskwaki team won over Marshall-town, 5-3.

About 40 visiting Indians composed of Winnebagos, Sioux, Iroquois, Seneca, Shawnee, and Potawatami.

A cast of forty Meskwaki did a Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Black Hawk War, a pageant still remembered among some Meskwaki.

There were small crowds for the first three days of the powwow that year, but the crowd was large on Sunday. The gate receipts showed $1,700, but this time the depression came to Iowa and economic conditions were turning bad.

The 20th Annual Powwow was held in August 1933. The new committeemen were: Pres. James Poweshiek, Vice Pres. Wm. Davenport, Treas. Louis Jones, Sec’t. Edward Davenport, with committeemen: Youngbear, George Buffalo, George Ward, Chas. Davenport, Percy Bear, George Mitchell, Arthur Bear, Amos Morgan, Harry Lincoln, C. H. Chuck, Albert Davenport, with the help of Joe Svacina and O. C. Culver, Indian Farming Agent. George Youngbear was the announcer.

Billy Jones did the Hunters’ dance. Rosie Youngbear did her acrobatic stunts and LeRoy Duncan did an exhibition of rope spinning.

First place in the dance contest went to Moses Slick and second place went to a Winnebago, David Lincoln. Jerry Wells, a Sioux, got third place. The baby show first went to Wilford Youngbear, second Leona Youngbear and third to Roland Wabaunsee. Leonard Johnson was the best boy dancer.

Winners in the Horse Show were: Draft horses, 1) Jim Old Bear; 2) Archie Bear; Mares, 1) Frank Wanatee; 2) George Buffalo Sr.; Geldings, 1) Jim Old Bear; 2) John Bear, Jr.; 3) Jim Old Bear; Mares, 1) Louise Jones, 2) Frank Wanatee; Stallions, 1) Louise Jones; Team of Any Kind, 1) Jim Old Bear; 2) Archie Bear; 3) Frank Wanatee; Mules of team, 1) Thomas Scott; 2) Willie Johnson; Saddle Horses, 1) White Breast; 2) Joe Peters; Ind; Pony, 1) Curtis Youngbear; 2); Oliver Lincoln; 3) Horace White Breast.

A three-act pageant, "Shabbona," with a cast of 50 Meskwaki was given. Vegetables, home canned products were also shown.

Part of the visiting Indians were Winnebago, Potawatami, Sac, Sioux, and Chippewas. Among non-Indian visiters were Harry S. Linn, John Hynek, Congressman A.C. Willford and on Sunday Governor Clyde L. Herring. The Governor was welcomed by Youngbear and James Poweshiek. He was given a feathered headdress and named Big Bear.

Rain threatened the powwow on Sunday but the gate receipts were $1,174.

In 1934, the dates for the 21st Annual Powwow were Aug. 16-19. This was the second term for the 1933 committee. George Youngbear was Master of Ceremonies as 140 singers and dancers did the dances. The Tama Indian Band gave a concert each day for four days. The flute solo was done by James Poweshiek. The dance contest was won by John Bear, Jr., Moses Slick came in second and a Winnebago, David Little Bear came in third. In the little boys contest, Leonard Youngbear won first, Edland Walker won second, and Leonard Johnson won third. The baby show was won by David Wanatee.

Along with the dances, games were played like Squaw, LaCrosse, footraces, Bow and Arrow, Kitten and baseball. On Friday the Meskwaki beat Marshalltown Coca-Cola team with a score of 9 to 0. They won again with a score of 6 to 5 against an Amana Society team, but lost on Sunday to a Haysville team, 0 to 10. In kitten ball, Meskwaki girls played the Tama girls.

A Boy Scout troop from Clinton under Scout Master Edward Dailey camped at the powwow, helping to set up bleachers and handle crowds.

O.C. Culver, Government Farm Agent, with Chas. Davenport and Willie Johnson, was in charge of Agricultural displays. The garden exhibits were good even with a season of drought. Winners in exhibits were Field Corn: Chas. Davenport, Frank Mitchell, Harry Waseskuk; Indian Corn: Chas. Davenport; Potatoes: Jack Oldhear, Tom Jefferson, Mrs. Joe peters; Tomatoes: John Youngbear, George Ward, Tom Jefferson; Onions and Beets: Harvey Lasley; Squash: Tom Jefferson, Bill Leaf; Cucumbers: Frank Mitchell, Percy Bear; Grapes: Albert Davenport, Tom Scott; Apples: Albert Davenport, Wm. Davenport; Alfalfa: Percy Bear, Oliver Lincoln; Clover: Oliver Lincoln, Percy Bear, Willie Johnson; Watermelon: Harry Lincoln, John Bear Sr., Mrs. Joe Peters; Lima Beans: Mrs. Amos Morgan, . Willie Johnson; Indian Beans: Harvey Lasley, Frank Mitchell; String Beans: Albert Davenport, Tom Jefferson.

Judges for horse show were L.D. Keeney, St. Juvenile Home, B.F. Clark, County Superintendent of Schools. The winners from first to third were: Heavy Draft Horse: Him Old Bear, John Bear, Harry Wasaka; Single Heavy Draft Horse: John Bear, Jim Old Bear; Light Draft Horse: Horace Whitebreast, John Papakee, John Youngbear; Single Light Draft Horse: Horace Whitebreast, Jim Oldbear, orace Whitebreast; Ponies; Horse Whitebreast, Burpy Whitebreast, Curtis Youngbear.

Congressman A.C. Wilford was the speaker on Sunday. The pageant for 1934 was Grand Reception of the Chiefs.

The 22nd Annual Powwow was held Aug. 15-18, 1935. It was reported that over 35,000 people came to the powwow. On Sunday about 150 Meskwaki participated as dancers and singers. Also 16 cars of visiting Indians came from other states. Floyd Keahna and George Smith (Winnebago) were the announcers. The men’s dance Championship was won by Kenneth Kapayou, second place went to LeRoy Duncan, and third went to Paul Decorah (Winnebago). Edward Davenport I led the Tama Indian Band, which gave concerts every day. Ben Waseskuk, Meskwaki troubador, entertained each day with the help of Charles Pushetonequa and Frace Decorah (Winnebago). Lucille Old Bear played the Indian flute. There were agricultural exhibits and relics displays.

In sports, the Meskwaki won over Fort Dodge Yankees 4 to 1. On Sunday, two teams tied in a game non-Indians named the. Squaw game.

Two troops of Scouts came to help in the powwow. Art Milnes from Waterloo brought his troop of 20 boys and Edward Dailey from Clinton, brought his troop of 23. V.F.W. Junior Drum and Bugle Corps from Waterloo gave exhibition drills on Saturday and Sunday.

Governor Clyde Herring who was to come was unable to appear. Harvey Ingham was the principal speaker.

The 23rd Annual Powwow of 1936 was held Aug. 20-23. The newspaper reported very little on the powwow. The dances were Friendship, Wars, Buffalo, Snake, Soldier, Swan, Bean, Pipe, Green Corn and others. The announcer was Floyd Keahna. Ben Waseskuk and George Sanache Jr. sang country songs. It was noted that Sam Peters led the Snake dance.

The two speakers were Guy M. Gillette from Cherokee, candidate, for the U.S. Senate, and A.C. Willford from Waterloo, former Democratic Congressman.

January 12, 1937, James Poweshiek gave up his family garden plot for the use of the powwow. Before the powwow grounds were moved on the east side of the Iowa River. The grounds were made up of small family gardens, James Poweshiek was the last person to give up his use of the land. An agreement was signed January 12, 1937, between James Poweshiek, Ira D. Nelson, Superintendent; George Youngbear as interpreter; James Poweshiek, Sam Slick, Chas. Davenport, Youngbear as councilman, Amos Morgan, Columbus Keahna signed for the Powwow Committee. The agreement provided for nine points. The dancing grounds that had been nearby was moved on the garden plot and as years went by more land was cleared till it is the size it is now. The powwow grounds is about 35-37 acres.

I was told that James said that whenever the people fought over the land, his family would take it back and use it as garden again.

The 24th Annual Powwow was held August 19-22, 1937. A new committee was elected: Pres. William Davenport, Vice. Pres. John Papakee, Treas.-Sec’t. George Young-bear, Committeemen: George Mitchell, Arthur Bear, Percy Bear, John Benson, James Poweshiek, Chas. Davenport, John Youngbear, Fred Brown, Sam Slick, George Ward, John Roberts.

Unlike in years before there were no carnival-type concessions, and there were few concessions run by non-Indians.

Seventy-five Indians came to the powwow, twenty-eight were Chippewas from Lac Du Flambeau, Wisconsin. A group of Sioux who were coming back from Washington, D.C., on business stopped over. The rest were Kickapoos, Potawatami, Winnebagos and Sacs.

Displays of agricultural products, canned goods, and handicraft were on hand to be viewed. About 90 people who placed in the 20 entries (far too many to list here).

John Bear Jr. won the dance contest, William Hale (Pott.) placed second, and Amos Morgan placed third. In the little boys’ contest Milton Brown won first. Alma Youngbear won the Baby Health Contest.with Jimmie Ward, second, and Archie Bear Jr., third.

Floyd Keahna was the announcer of this year’s powwow, The pageant “Hiawatha” was shown and from what I hear the people enjoyed it and still remember it. “Hiawatha” was the last pageant and end of many an acting career, “Hiawatha" was directed by a non-Indian named Humble Rolfs. If she was paid or did it for free is not known. LeRoy Duncan played the part of Hiawatha, Milo Buffalo played Hiawatha as a child, Jim Poweshiek played the part of Arrow Maker, Clarence Jefferson was the bird impersonator, George Kapayou played the part of Corn. Corn and Hiawatha fought and were defeated. When the lights went out George ran out. When the lights came back on, a corn stalk was there. The dancers were Harvey Lasley, Amos Morgan, Loren Duncan and John Bear. Ben Waseskuk read the vocal parts. Ben Jones (Ag.) was Marquette. About 40 parts were played in the pageant.

Short Meskwaki marriage episodes were also shown. Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Poweshiek were the bride and groom. Others who took part were Mr. and Mrs. George Blackcloud, Bertha Blackcloud, Mr. and Mrs. Amos Morgan, Jimmie Morgan and Ella Davenport. What they did was show the courtship of the tribe.

A portable dance floor was brought in for modern dancing on Thursday and Friday nights after the Indian dancing. The Vuvra Orchestra was paid $38.00 for one night and the Slade Orchestra was paid $57.18 for the other.

The Meskwaki baseball team lost to the Kellogg Athletic Club with a score of 7 to 10.

Some of the tribes were Winnebagos, Sioux, Sauks, Omahas, and Pottawattamies. John Bear Jr. won the dance contest, Edward Cloud placed second (he was Winnebago), and Jesup Lasley placed third. In the little boys’ contest Kenneth Blackbird (Winnebago) won first place, Leanard Johnson placed second and Vernon McKee (Winnebago) placed third.

With rain almost all Sunday, the gate receipts from the powwow were $1,086.63. Most of it going to the two orchestras. With 190 dancers and about 3,300 people attended the powwow. The gate receipts were $1,555 with shares at $4.90.

The 25th Annual Powwow was called “Silver Jubilee Powwow.”  It was held Aug. 18-21, 1938.   It had the same committee as last year with the addition of Edward Davenport as Treasurer and George Sanache as committeeman.

The Toledo Club furnished a car and the powwow put in sound equipment. Some Meskwaki rode around most of Iowa, with John Morgan announcing for the upcoming powwow.

Speakers were William J. Petersen and Benjamin F. Shambaugh. John Hynek and Tama Mayor E.G. Carral were also present. George Youngbear was the announcer. The Meskwaki Women’s Club and Girls’ 4-H had displays, there were also exhibits of agricultural products, canned goods and handicrafts. The winners are so many that time did not allow to write them down. The Tama Indian Band played all four days before each dance, a pageant “Early Modes of Travel” was shown. It was directed by John Youngbear with the assistance of Fred Brown, John Buffalo, and Arthur Bear. Mary B. Davenport was the winner of the sweepstakes.

John Bear Jr. won the dance contest, Edward Cloud (Winnebago) placed second, and David Blackbird (Omaha) placed third. Sandra Jones won the Baby Health contest, Elizabeth Wanatee placed second, Cynthia Scott placed third and Rolland Youngbear placed fourth. There was good weather in all four days, but the gate receipts were not reported. It must have been around $1,500.

The 26th Annual Powwow of Aug.17-20, 1939, was the last one of the 1930’s.  The Depression was coming to a close and it looked like the powwow had made it. As a tribe the people made it; the hard times kind of unified the people.

A new committee was elected:  Pres. Amos Morgan, Vice Pres. William Davenport, Sec’t. William Poweshiek, with committeemen: Harry Lincoln, Frank Mitchell Harrison Kapayou, Ionian Kapayou, Fred Brown, George Blackcloud, and George Sanache.

The gate receipts from the powwow, were $1,622.51 with expenses at $1,036.63. Most of the profit went to the two orchestras while 190 dancers and an unknown number of others got a share of $2.64.

Not all the people who wanted to attend the first powwow were able to see it, so the powwow committee decided to have a second powwow with the “Hiawatha" pageant Sept. 3-4. The gate receipts were $300. The government tried to collect tax but if they ever did it is now known, and I do not know if tax ever was collected on the powwow.

The 1940’s was a time of war. Most of the young men were away at war and many people went to the cities where the jobs were. After the war, the people came back and like in most tribes, with new ideas.

The 27th Annual Powwow was held Aug. 15-18, 1940. This was the second term for the 1939 committee. They decided on no more “white man’s” dance band, pageants, or drum and bugle corps. The carnival went out in 1937, so from then on the powwow was just that, a powwow.

One of two prominent speakers were Mayor Edgar of Albert Lea, Minnesota. He was adopted into the tribe. Some of the events of the 27th Annual Powwow were: two baseball games, Tama Indian Band Concert, and Chief White Wing (tribe unknown) entertained. A seven round boxing match between “Chief LeRoy Duncan” against Iron Man Dudley, ended with Duncan winning by a technical knock out in the seventh round. Jim Poweshiek sang some Indian songs.

Jesup Lasley won the dance contest, John Bear Jr. placed second, and Frank Eagle placed third. The Baby Health contest was won by LaVern Youngbear, Emmaline Thomas (Winnebago) placed second. The gate Receipts were $1,200.

Because of the war overseas, the swastika, an Indian symbol long before Hitler was born, was replaced by a Thunder Bird on the powwow ads.

The 28th Annual Powwow of 1941 was held August 14-17. A new committee was elected: Pres. Peter Morgan, Vice Pres. Harvey Lasley, Sec’t. Chrtis Youngbear, Ass’t. Sec’t. Charles Pushetonequa, Committee: Arthur Bear, Joe Peters, John Blackcloud, Frank Pushetonequa Sr., Willie Johnson, George Sanache, Billy Jones, Moses Slick, Harry Lincoln, Sam Slick, Frank Mitchell, and John Youngbear.

Before the powwow, non-Indians were paid to paint a powwow sign and without knowing it painted two swastikas on each side of the sign. This made an uproar in the Tama-Toledo area and possibly other places.  There was talk in Tama about the Indians joining Hitler or about Hitler joining the Indians, so the sign was changed and everything quieted down.

In the agricultural exhibits, a large number won with having the best corn to the best beans. Time and space did not allow me to write all of the names of the winners down. A six round boxing exhibit also was done by LeRoy Duncan and Vernon McKee(Winnebago). Jesup Lasley won the dance contest, John Bear Jr. placed second and Duard Scott (Oklahoma) placed third.  Hilda Youngbear won the Baby Health contest, Douglas Duncan placed second and Loretta Morgan placed third.

Even with rain on Sunday, the gate receipts were about $5,000. Shares of $3.70 for adults and $1.85 for children were distributed.  Forty-eight men and boys danced and 105 girls and women danced with seventeen visiting Indians dancing  (each with half a share).  Forty-five worked on a job with $2.77 each, committeemen with $3.70 each. Ticket sellers were George Sanache and Horace Poweshiek.

On December 7 the Japanese attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor. The Nation was at war with Japan and Germany. The 29th Annual Powwow held Aug. 20-22, 1942 was a small powwow. By this time some men were done with more to leave and most of the rest of the tribe went to the city for the jobs. The attendance at the powwow was small with about 2,000 on Sunday.

This was the second term for the 1941 committee. George Youngbear was the announcer. The Meskwaki baseball team lost to a Garwin team 3 to 7. Jesup Lasley won the dance contest, Moses Slick placed second and LeRoy Duncan placed third.

Because of the war, there were no powwows held in 1943 and 1944. For one thing, there wouldn’t have been enough people to dance and not many people would have attended.  Plus the fact the people might not have been in a dancing mood.” This was the first time in more than a 100 years that so many Meskwaki men went off to fight a war. About forty-five men were gone, a large number for such a small  tribe to give to the Nation. Germany was defeated on May 7, 1945, and Japan was defeated Aug.14, 1945.

For the 30th Annual Powwow, a temporary committee was formed by John Tataposh, George Kapayou, John Morgan, Joe Peters, Sam Slick, George Henry, Harry Mauskemo and Frank Pushetonequa Sr.  John Morgan was the announcer. The Powwow was held Sept. 13-16 and was called a “Victory Jubilee Powwow.”

I believe that the powwow was more true to its meaning of being a Thanksgiving and Homecoming in more ways than one. Not everybody was home from the war, but it was the Meskwaki way of celebrating the end of the war, and a victory at that. The Victory dance was truly a victory dance and the Pipe dance was truly a warriors’ dance. It was a thanksgiving shown in every song and dance. The songs that went, “It is because of warriors, why we dance,” and “I made the Germans cry” (World War I song) were sung with feeling and pride.

Perhaps I have put more into the reporting of the 1945 powwow then there actually was reported, because I have never talked to anybody as to what they felt’in the 1945 powwow. What I report about the emotion of the powwow is what I think the feeling must have been.

The powwow was a small event compared to the previous powwows. A few things that happened were James Poweshiek who was 92 years old, sang a solo. Amos Morgan, the oldest dancer of 64 did a fast Pipe dance. Mrs. Lucille Kapayou did her flute solo, and this was the first time since Jim Poweshiek’s grandmother danced, that women did the Pipe dance. The women and girls were: Marcella Brown, Dorothy Wolf, Irene Johnson, Eleanor Waseskuk, Charlotte and Barbara Sue Keahna, Ellen White Eagle (Winnebago).

Walter J. Willett and Zelic Sime arranged for the Governor to attend, on Sunday.

The Meskwaki baseball team beat a team from State Center, 11 to 1, on Saturday, but lost to a Green Mountain team, 4 to 0.

About 1,200 people attended the powwow. This year there was no extra charge for bleacher seats. The gate receipts were $738.50, expenses ran up to $225,00 {part of which, $24.00 went to the Green Mountain team and $10.00 for the State Center team) and $118.16 went to Fed admissions tax). Of the 122 dancers, adults and children received equal shares of %3.25. An unknown number of others participating in the powwow received the same shares.

The men’s contest was won by Jesup Lasley. Of the visiting Indians, some came from the Winnebago, Sauk, and Kickapoo tribes.

The 31st Annual Powwow held Aug.15-18, 1946, was organized by a new committee of these people:  Pres. John Bear Jr., Vice Pres. Amos Morgan, Sec’t. Frank Wanatee, Ass’t Sec’t.  Kenneth Youngbear, Treas. John Morgan; Publicity person, Curtis Youngbear, Committeemen: George Blackcloud, Grant Mitchell, Sam Slick, George Sanache, John Papkee, Loman Kapayou, John Buffalo, Harry Lasley, Harvey Davenport, Willie Johnson, And Bill Leaf.

The committee decided that no more non-Indian speakers would take part in the powwow.

Most of the young men were home from the war now, and those tribes people who had moved to the city for the jobs had returned home, too. Some of the features of the powwow was dancing by Ernest Roberts (a WW II Vet) and Billy Jones (WW I Vet). Billy Jones did a dance depicting his experiences in the war. Charles Pushetonequa (WW II Vet) did the Eagle dance and led the Buffalo Head dance. Jesup Lasley won the dance contest.

Gate receipts were $3,300 after expenses.

The 32rd Annual Powwow was held Aug. 14-17, 1947. For the 1946 committee, this was their second term, but there were a few changes. Names on the committee for ‘47 were: Frank Pushetonequa, Frank Eagle, Elmer Roberts, Wilson Roberts, Carl Jefferson. Those who were on the committee but not in ‘47 were: Grant Mitchell, Sam Slick Harey Lasley, Bill Leaf. The officers were the same except Curtis Youngbear was made Ass’t. Treasurer.

Some new dances were the Grizzly Bear Claw, Feast, and Hoop Dances. These were Meskwaki dances never shown before. The Eagle dance was done by Frank Pushetonequa Jr. and Charles Pushetonequa. The Hoop dance was done by Homer Bear Sr.

A Meskwaki team won a LaCrosse game against a Kickapoo (Kan.) team, 2-0. In baseball, the Meskwaki team lost two games. On Saturday, they lost to a Montour team,1-18, and on Sunday they lost to a Waterloo V.F.W. team, 2-8.

Russell DeCora (Winnebago) won the dance contest, Jesup Lasley placed second, and Jack Tiger (Sac) placed third.

Gate receipts were $2,850 with $561 in expenses. Shares came to $10.40 to adults and $5.20 to children. The baseball teams were also paid. There were 170 dancers, 14 singers, 24 traffic attendants, and an unknown number of people doing other work.

The 33rd Annual Powwow was held Aug. 19-22, 1948. A new committee was elected: Pres. Robert Waseskuk, Vice Pres. Amos Morgan, Sec’t. Columbus Keahna, Treas. Curtis Youngbear, Committeemen: Arthur Bear, Harry Lincbln, Gaston Keahna, George Kapayou, Frank Pushetonequa Sr., Frank Eagle, Truman Glackcloud, Carl Jefferson, Raymond Slick Sr., Dewey Roberts Sr., Elmer Roberts Sr., and John Papakee.

With more than $40.00 in the Fund, the committee held box socials to raise money.

For the first time the Promotional Club of Tama purchased $100 worth of radio time for the advertisement of the powwow. Three 36-word ad spots were read over WHO radio. They also had eight other radio stations, but this was free.

The Grizzly Bear Claw dance was danced again. How long after this was danced at powwows is unknown. Frank Pushetonequa Sr. and Bill Waseskuk did the Eagle Dance. Jesup Lesley won the dance contest, Victor Lasley placed second and Frank Logan (Winnebago) placed third.

Gate Receipts were $5,317, expenses were $600 and shares were $20.65 adults, $10.30 children. There were 180 dancers and 70 people with other jobs. Each visiting Indian who danced received half-share. $1,000 was set aside for improvements.

The 34th Annual Powwow of 1949 (date unknown) was the last powwow of the 1940s. For the ‘48 committee, this was their last term. The new improvements came in the form of an electric power line. The Iowa Electric Light and Power Company ran a regular power line to the grounds where a powerhouse was built. This meant electric lights for the first time. Each camper could use electric lights in their wickiups. As time went on, the grounds were more lighted at nights. Before electricity, kerosene lamps were used in the wickiup and two portable power plants were used. I’m often told about the putt-putt of the power plants. Once in a while the lights would start to dim, so the person whose job it was to keep the lights running, would run to the power plants, fill them, and the lights would brighten up again.

The newspapers report on “rehearsals” weeks before the powwow. I don’t know if the people did rehearse before the new lights, but that’s the way it was after 1949. I’m sure they did rehearse before 1949, if not at the grounds, some place else. My mother and others remember dances were held long before the powwow. A group of Meskwaki appeared on the “Voice of Iowa” program in Cedar Rapids.

The Tama Chamber of Commerce paid for $100 worth of advertising in WHO.

Each night under new lights, John Morgan announced each dance. Jesup Lasley won the dance contest, Clifford Lasley placed second and Emory Foster (Sac) placed third. The Baby Health contest was won by Dewey Roberts, Jr. Marilyn Blackcloud placed second and Ruth Ann Pusch placed third in the Baby Health contest. On Sunday night after the performance, the dancing went on for a good part of the night.

The gate receipts were ‘$7,400, shares were $22.80 for adults, $11.40 to children. On Monday night the grounds were lighted for payments of shares. There was also dancing.

The 1950’s were good years. In the Nation everything was kind of quiet, except for McCarthyism and the Korean War which was fought between June 1950, and July 1953. Some Meskwaki went off to fight in the Korean War, but not as many as fought in WorldWar II. There was not a mass movement to the cities for jobs. To the American Indian the 1950’s meant Termination and Relocation, another government try at assimilation.

The Meskwaki were never terminated but some families were relocated. Some came back after a year, others have been coming back in the past 25 years, and some will never come back.

The 35th Annual Powwow of 1950 was held Aug. 17-20. Elections were held at the Day School. The outgoing committee served refreshments. The newly elected committee was made up of these individuals: Pres. John Papkee, Vice Pres. Frank Wanatee, Sec’t. Colombus Keahna, Treas. Curtis Youngbear, Committeemen: John Bear, Arthur Bear, John Roberts, George Sanache, Wilson Roberts, Moses Slick, Harvey Lasley, Gaston Keahna, Loman Kapayou, Sam Peters, Frank Pushetonequa Sr., and Carl OeHerson.

The Tama Chamber of Commerce bought $100 worth of radio advertising. The powwow spent $160 in advertising.  The powwow had good crowds. On Thursday, 535 people came in, Friday, 800, Saturday, 1,059, and on Sunday there were big crowds, but many came in as free guests.  The baseball game on Sunday had to be called off because of the crowds.

John Morgan announced the dances for the four days.  The men’s contest was won by Clifford Lasley, George Green (Winnebago) came in second, Chester Davenport came in third.  The Baby Health contest was won by Ida Mae Davenport, second place went to Robert Mitchell and third to Donis Morales. Sammy Peters entertained everybody with Perry Como songs.

The gate receipts were $9,681, selling of concession rights came to $83, expenses came to $935.03, $209.95 was paid for the public address system, $1,200 was placed in the General Fund, (Emergency Fund unknown). Shares came to $25.00 for adults, $12.50 for children. Thirty-five visiting Indians who danced, received a half-share.

Part of the police force on hand were Highway Patrolman, Herbert Good, and Special  Indian Agent from St. Paul, H.P. Davis.

In 1951, the dates for the 36th Annual Powwow were Aug. 16-19. This was the second term for the 1950 committee. The number of people who came in was larger than the previous year. On Thursday, 648 came in, Friday, 824, Saturday 1,206 and on Sunday 10,000 came in. 250 came in as free guests.

Sammy Peters entertained with imitations of Perry Como again. The dance contest was won by Chester Davenport, Edward Cloud (Winnebago) placed second, and Jesup Lasley placed third.

Gate Receipts came to $8,662.35 and after expenses, $7,712.35 was cleared. The sale of concession rights came to $150, General  Fund was set at $1,500 (Emergency Fund unknown).  250 Meskwaki danced, sang or did other jobs and received shares of $25.00 for adults and $12.50 for children.  Of the 300 visiting Indians, 83 danced and received half-shares. These were from the Sac, Winnebago, Pawnee, Ponca, Potawatami, Sioux, Chippewa, Pima and Hopi tribes.

Superintendent Cavil from Ashland,Wisconsin, came with two other government men to talk about the powwow. They favored the relocation of the powwow grounds uphill. The government was willing to help and give aid. Among some tribes they had done the same thing. The year before the government engineers were willing to come to lay out blueprints, but they never did. The four reasons given to aid the powwow were: 1) grounds would be away from flood plains; 2) grounds would be away from the noise of passing trains; 3) away from the flood plains, a water system could be put in; 4) and the grounds would be near the proposed new highway 30. I suppose the powwow would help in tourism thus making an income for the tribe. No action was taken on the part of the tribe so the matter was dropped. This maybe happened because of the independent feeling of the tribe—the feeling that they could do things themselves and receive less help from the Government.

The 37th Annual Powwow of 1952 was held Aug. 14-17. A new powwow committee was elected: Pres. Charles Davenport, Vice Pres. Jonas Poweshiek, Treas. Robert Waseskuk, Sec’t. Edward Davenport, Committeemen: Frank Pushetonequa Sr., Harry Lincoln, Loman Kapayou, Tom Scott, Willie Johnson, Carl Jefferson, Columbus Keahna, George Blackcloud.

As years before dances were held over the summer before the powwow. The bleachers were extended towards the center of the arena. New hand pumps were made. When the big day came George Youngbear and John Morgan were announcers. Thoughout the powwow, Mrs. Loman Kapayou played her flute. A Meskwaki Clown, George Henry, was announced as a “neighboring hermit.” He would run out from the camp ground dressed in his funny dancing cloths, do a fast war dance. He was a clown for many years before and after 1952, but the dates are unknown at this time. Mrs. Loman Kapayou did a flute solo.  After each powwow at night, the dancing would go on for the good part of the night.  This has always been done before.

The dance contest winners were Chester Davenport, first, Jesup Lasley, second, and Leonard Johnson, third. The Baby Health winners were: Diane Lynn Roberts, first, Addie L. Jefferson, second, and Raymond Slick Jr., third. Seven other babies received a dollar each.

Saturday KRNT-Radio announcer Don Bell was adopted into the tribe.

Gate receipts were $9,223. $1,982.14 was put in the General Fund. Also $90 in donations were received: $50 from the Quapaw Tribe in Oklahoma, $35 from Central Fibre Products (Tama), and $5 from Marchall’s Cafe,  {they also had a concession stand). Concession rights had to be paid. The $2,000 in expenses was paid from last year’s receipts.  $5,259.80 went to shares of’ $20 for adults, and $10.12 for children. 292 Meskwaki took part and received a share.  Of the 43 visiting Indians who took part only three members of each family received shares.

The 38th Annual Powwow was held Aug. 13-16, 1953.  For the fifty-two committeemen this was their second term. Two groups of Boy Scouts, one group from Chicago (they stayed for a week), and another group from Huntington, Indiana, came from the furthest distance with smaller troops coining from Iowa.

To show support, a caravan was made by the Tama Chamber of Commerce and then rode to the grounds. Thirty-five Tama Businessmen attended the first day. Two performances were given on Sunday afternoon.

Gate receipts were $9,901.30. 320 who participated as dancers, singers, and handled other jobs received shares of $22.50 adults and $11.25 for children. Twenty-seven visiting Indians who danced received half-shares.

The 39th Annual Powwow of 1954 was held Aug. 19-22.  A new committee was elected: Pres.  Peter Morgan, Vice Pres. John Papakee, Sec’t. Tom Scott, Treas. Dave Eagle, Committeemen:  Hoses Slick, Kenneth Kapayou, Harvey Lasley, George Haney, John Roberts, George Blackcloud, John Younbbear, Gaston Keahna, Colum­bus Keahna, Frank   shetonequa St., and George E. Kapayou.

Bleachers were extended.  Lumber for the bleachers cost $245, part of the cost was $170 for the rental of planks from Spahn and Rose Lumber Co. of Tama.  Planks had to be rented from them for the past 25 years. With the extended grand stand another improvement was the installation of floodlights for the arena.

Frank Pushetonequa Sr. was the Chief Singer, Gaston Keahna was the Men’s Chief Dancer, and Grace Papakee was the Women’s Chief dancer. George Yourigbear was the announcer.

On the first day President Pete Morgan Speaking in Meskwaki said, “We must realize today belongs to him  who created all of us. Through his will we have gathered together here and we hope good will, will prevail.”  His message was translated so the non-Indians would know what was said.

The weather was warm all four days of the powwow.  Gate receipts were $9,44:3.15.   Expenses came to $700, the promotional expenses of $2,500 was paid from last year’;s fund, which was $2,845.65.  The Committee expected about $2,200 in the General Fund, and the Emergency Fund would be back at $300, (it was now at $180).

A non-Indian operating a concession was charged $25.  All concessions were charged $1.50 per day for electrical power.

Shares came to $23.22 for adults and $11.61 for children. 222 Meskwaki were dancers and singers, 70 people were ticket sellers and takers, traffic, gate, police and arena ushers. Seventeen Indians who danced were paid $10 each.  Full shares went to twenty people who were old, sick, and unable to work. Persons who did special dances were paid $10 more, Chas and Frank (Jr.) Pushetonequa for the Eagle Dance, Mrs. George Youngbear sang a lullaby for her grandson, both received $5. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Davenport and Mrs. Elsie Davenport received $15 for taking care of the exhibits.

The 40th Annual Powwow was held Aug. 18-21, 1955. This was the second term for the committee of fifty-four.

Carrol Chitty with Boy Scout troops came from Des Plaines, Illinois, and they helped around were it was needed. The Women’s Chief Dancer for the fourth year was Grace Papakee. Mary Davenport was in charge of the Baby Health Contest; Dr. Havlik and Dr. Pace were the judges. Winners in the Baby Health contest were Frank Sanache, Jr., first, Mary Jo Blackcloud, second, and Vincent Lasley, third. The dance contest was won by Jesup Lasley, Leonard Youngbear, second, and Frank Pushetonequa Jr., third.

Governor Leo Hoegh attended on Sunday and danced with the Meskwaki. The pictures show that he didn’t just dance shyly as others, but danced Indian.

This was the first year the visiting Indians were not paid a share, but they were fed two days.

Gate receipts were low at $7,127.32. One of the causes might have been the weather, with extreme heat and a drought for some time, with rain on Sunday. Another complication that might have added to the drop in gate receipts was the fact that Highway 30 was relocated and now ran by the northern tip of the Settlement, something the powwow had to financially recover from for a few years, and has never completely recovered from to this day. Shares came to $13.96 to adults and $6.98 to children. 286 people danced or sang and an unknown number did other jobs.

The 41st Annual Powwow was held Aug. 16-19, 1956. A new committee was elected: Pres. Harry Mauskemo, Vice Pres. Horace Poweshiek, Sec’t. George Youngbear, and Treas. David Eagle. Announcers were John Morgan and George Youngbear. Head Men’s Dancer was Clifford Lasley, Head Women’s Dancer was Frances Wanatee, and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Davenport were in charge of exhibits of arts, crafts, and agricultural products.

Visiting Indians were provided food, nineteen Indians were from Chicago.

Robert Lounsberry from McCallsburg, Commander of the Iowa Department,of the American Legion gave a short address. Lounsberry who was adopted into the tribe ten years before, wore the war bonnet given to him then.

Joe B. Dick, head of Indian Lore, from Cincinnati and leader of the Svaquan Indian Dancers said that the Meskwaki dancers were one of the best he’s ever seen. Charles and Frank (Jr.) Pushetonequa did the Eagle dance. Mrs. George Youngbear sung a lullaby. The Dance contest was won by Jesup Lasley, Leonard Youngbear placed second and Victor Lasley placed third.

The weather was damp and rainy for the first three days, but Sunday turned bright and cool. Because of rain the attendance was low for three days, but 6,500 people come on Sunday, so that two performances had to be given. Gate receipts were $4,414.43. Shares were $8.00 to adults and $4.00 to children.

The 42nd Annual Powwow was held Aug. 8-11, 1957. A Centennial for the Settlement was supposed to have been held July 13-14, but floods made it be cancelled. The Centennial was changed for powwow. The 42nd Annual was called “Annual Powwow and Centennial.”

This was the second term for the 1956 committeemen, plus the Centennial committee helped with the powwow. A real good Powwow Centennial souvenir booklet was printed up—the best souvenir booklet yet.

Frank Pushetonequa Sr. was the Head Singer. Two Boy Scout troops from Des Plaines, Illinois, and Danville, Indiana, camped at the grounds. The Scouts did jobs here and there, helping erect bleacher planks, etc. The Men’s Dance contest was won by Jesup Lasley. Gate receipts came to $7,956, but I don’t know how the two committees handled each of their expenses.

On the 43rd Annual Powwow, which was held Aug. 14-17, 1958, some big changes came about. October 5th elections were held at the Stone House to fill in the committee vacancies. The past committee made a financial report and all interested parties were asked to attend.

The big change was steel bleachers were made on the east side of the arena. The Iowa Manufacturing Company in Cedar Rapids donated about $12,000 worth of steel for $130. They had their presses and cutters for one day cut the steel into required lengths, then pressed then into correct forms. The work was done by the Meskwaki, but who the individuals were is unknown. The two other bleachers were still the wooden ones and planks and they had to be put on the wooden forms to made seats.

Tama had their Frontier Days to show support for the powwow. A new thing that came from the 1957 powwow was selling of fried bread. Mrs. Harvey Lasley who had demonstrated the making of fried bread, began to sell it. As years came by more people had stands where they sold fried bread.

Two contests were held in 1953. The first was on Saturday when Dennis Keahna won first place, a Winnebago who was not named placed second and Leonard Youngbear placed third. The Main Contest was held on Sunday. It was won by Leonard Youngbear, Victor Lasley placed second and Pete LaMere (Winnebago) placed third. Gate receipts came to $9,000.

The last powwow of the 1950s was the 44th Annual Powwow which was held Aug. 13-16, 1959. Because the papers never printed the names of the men who were in the committee, they are not known, but this would have been a second term for them.

Sometime before August, people were asked to come and clean up their campsites and concession sites. A chicken supper was held, and after the supper dances were held. The committee also met at that time.

On August 3rd, Mrs. Adeline Wanatee and Mrs. Grace Papakee were in a WOC-TV program. Tama held their Frontier Days on August 15th.

John Morgan was the announcer. The dance contest was wan by Leonard Youngbear, Grant Waheneka (Warm Springs) placed second and Victor Lasley placed third. In the little boys’ dance contest, Gordon Lasley placed first, Gene Morgan placed second and Randy Papakee placed third.

Part of the visiting Indians were thirty Sioux from Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

One evening performance was cancelled because of rain and Sunday was under cloudy skies. The gate receipts came to $8,744.50 with shares of $13.40 adults and $6.40 children.

The decade of the 1960s were a troubled years. Over the 60’s the involvement in Vietnam were to follow a war. The Civil Rights Movement would see blacks fighting for their rights. Demonstration after demonstration against the war would rock the Nation. The Tribe would live on as before. Three Meskwaki men would die over the decade. During the war the powwow made more than $10,000 each year; economically the war was good for the powwow.

The 45th Annual Powwow was held on August 18-21, 1960. A new committee was elected: Pres. Horace Poweshiek, Vice Pres. George Youngbear, Sec’t. Kenneth Youngbear, Treas. John Bear, Committeemen: Curtis Youngbear, Harvey Davenport, Homer Bear, Charles pushetonequa, Frank Pushetonequa Sr., Jesup Lasley, John Papakee, Hoses Slick, Roger Morgan, Willie John Johnson, Gaston Keashna.

The Men’s contest was won by Victor Lasley, second place by Edward Cloud (Mis.) and third place went to Leonard Johnson. Governor Herschel Loveless was a guest on Sunday.

As part of the police force Sheriff Sam Schaffer, Deputy Milo Quigley, and Indian Deputy Gene Little were on hand. The committee paid $1,000 for five men to patrol the grounds. Two men patrolled the Settlement each night. They were paid by the Tribal Council.

Total receipts of $8,744.50 included admission, reserved seats, passes, delivery truck permits, charge for concessions and camping fees. After expenses, $2,450 went to the General Fund, $300 went to the Emergency Fund, and the rest went to shares of $25.02 for adults and $12.50 for children.

In 1961, the 46th Annual Powwow was in Aug., the 17-20. This was the second term for the 1960 committee.

Part of the work done to repair the grounds were the wiring of the grounds for lighting done by Conklin Morgan. Hillie Johnson and Edwin Kapayou were part of the group to repaint the bleachers. New lighting fixtures were added for nighttime dancing.

Frontier Days were held in Tama, with Tama businessmen wearing head bands. The dance contest was won by Victor Lasley, second place went to Leonard Youngbear, third place went to Leonard Johnson. Johnny Cloud from Wisconsin won the Boys’ Dance contest, Luther Lone Tree (Wis.) placed second, and Bradford Funmaker from Chicago place third.   

Through the efforts of the County Nurses’ Office, South Tama Marshall County Red Cross Chapters, and Sac and Fox officials, A First Aid Station was setup. Part of it was staffed by registered nurses from Tama-Toledo. Two men were also there from the Fire Department.

Robin Crichton from Edinburgh, Scotland, made a film for the BBC. He stayed at the Settlement for a few weeks filming before the powwow.

Gate receipts amounted to $7,423.25, expenses came to $2,136 of which part of it went for new lighting and paint. $1,500 went to the General Fund and $300 went to the Emergency Fund. Of the 142 adults and 104 children who danced, they received shares of $17.10 adults, and $8.75, children. An unknown number of other workers received the same amount.

Two performances were done on Sunday afternoon.

Mosquitos were many, and the City of Tama donated the use of spraying equipment and the manpower to operate it, $80 was paid by the powwow for spray.  The grounds were sprayed twice.

Tama businessmen also donated $100 for ads.

Announcers were John Morgan and George Youngbear.  On a hot sultry Sunday afternoon, the dance contest was won by Eugene Musquat from Kansas, second place went to Victor Lasley, and third place went to Marice LeDeaux (Sioux). A fourth place went to Dennis Keahna Sr.

The number of people who came is unknown but 1,500 people came on the first day—a surprisingly large number for the first afternoon. On Sunday only one performance was given. Of the visiting Indians 250 came from a few tribes.

August 3-11, 1963, the 48th Annual Powwow was held. This was the second term for the 1962 committee, John Morgan was announcer and Frank Pushetonequa Sr. was the Chief Singer. An exhibit tent was used to show displays of relics and art.  Ernest Naquayouma, a Hopi, came and did a Hopi dance.  Maybe a first time a non-Meskwaki did non-Meskwaki dances for the powwow.

Donations came from the Tama Chamber of Commerce of $100 and an ex-Tama businessman donated $25. 

On Sunday, Governor Harold Hughes was introduced to about 8,000 people. He received a blue Indian shirt and a beaded necklace as a gift. Also on that same afternoon a horde of powwow visitors came. When the dancing had begun, cars were still lined up for two miles. So a second dance was done. Tama was unprepared for this large amount of people.  It’s two main cafes were closed, but the smaller ones were open. They could not deal with all the people. One of the remarks were, “What a dead town.”  For the four days about 25,000 to 30,000 people came.

Gate receipts were $12,992. After expenses, $5,000 went into the General Fund, part of it to be used to expand seating.  $300 went to the Emergency Fund. Shares amounted to $21.79 and $11.33. About 200 visiting Indians came from other states.

The 49th Annual Powwow was held August 13-16, 1964. New bleachers were made on the north side of the arena. Some steel was donated by Iowa Manufacturing Co. from Cedar Rapids and some was purchased. The bleachers cost $2,200.

Some of the main work was done by Curtis Youngbear, Bob Waseskuk, Jesup Lasley, Clifford Lasley, John Papakee, and Harvey Davenport. Harvey worked at the Iowa Manufacturing Co. for the past 17 years up to 1964.

When announcer, John Morgan, opened up the 49th Powwow, the bleachers were almost full. Some of the singers were Dort Scott, Frank Pushetonequa Jr., Anthur Bear, Frank Pushetonequa Sr., Clifford Lasley, Columbus Keahna, Sam Waseskuk, John Papakee and Bernard Papakee.

Governor Harold Hughes came on Saturday and on Sunday Nathan Bird from Chicago won the men’s dance contest. Second place in the dance contest went to Leonard Johnson and third place went to Ken Funmaker from Chicago. The little boys’ contest was won by a Pueblo Indian, John Marcus, second place went to Vincent Lasley and third place went to Timmy Bell (unknown). John Hull was there to record with him home movie camera. Two performances were done on that Sunday afternoon.

Throughout the powwow, ticket sellers at the gate kept a close watch on $20 bills that came in. Counterfeit $20 bills were circulating around in Iowa. Serial numbers were posted on the ticket office wall.

The 1965 powwow was a slow one, taking in account that it was the 50th Annual Powwow. It was held August 12-15th. The weather was hot on all four days. The attendance was light on the first three days. On Sunday about 5,000 people came, but the dances had to be shortened because of 100 degree heat.

As George Youngbear being announcer, the powwow went on. The men’s contest was won by Victor Lasley, second place went to Sam Keahna and third place went to Kenneth Funmaker (Winnebago).

After each performance tape recordings of Indian songs were played over the public address system. Probably the Meskwaki with their more than 100 visiting Indians went to the nearest shade.

The 51st Annual Powwow of 1966 was held in August the 11-14. Elections were held on November at the Stonehouse and the elected committee held a conference at the Council Room Nov. 28th. The Committee elected were: Pres. John Papakee, Vice Pres. Harvey Davenport Sr., Sect. Robert Waseskuk, Treas. Donald W. Wanatee, Chief Singer Arthur Bear, Tickets Walter Waubanasee and Curtis Youngbear, Traffic William Johnson and Leo Keahna, Maintenance Frank Mitchell and Trum Blackcloud, Reception Homer Bear and Roy Kapayou Sr. and finally Commissar Gaston Keahna.

The arena was repaired and repainted. Newspapers, radio, and tv stations were well supplied with Powwow information. A fine little booklet was printed for the occasion.

John Morgan was the announcer and the powwow went off with a good start. The committee hired six special deputies, which Jim Sorensen, Orville Gibert, Roger Kasal and Tom Long, and 11 non-Indians were part of; plus two Indians were hired. Sheriff Milo Quigley, Deputy Joe McBride and Deputy Sam Shaffer were also on hand. The Settlement was patroled at nights to protect the homes. Nine persons were arrested for intoxication.

A Kickapoo who has become a well-known person at the powwow won the men’s contest, George Allen. Second place went to Sidney Keahna and third place went Leonard Youngbear.

In four days of the powwow, about 22,000 people came in. On Sunday two performances were given.

August 10-13th were the dates for the 52d Annual Powwow in 1967. This was the second term for the 1966 committee.

The Tama Chamber of Commerce attended the first evening of the powwow. They stopped and ate fried bread at Mrs. Harvey Lasley’s stand. This was a good show of support given by Tama.

The Head Women’s dancer was Bertha Wasaskuk, and she was attended by Lela Lasley.  About 300 visiting Indians were served In the Powwow.  The cooks who did the hard work were:  Nancy Davenport, Mabel Keahna, Annie Lasley, Laura Kapayou and Euna Leaf.

Dennis Keahna Sr. won the Men’s contest, Sidney Keahna placed second, and Raymond Slick won third place.  The gate receipts were $15,000 and on Tuesday the people were paid shares of $28.00 and $14.00 in the usual manner.

The 53rd Annual Powwow of 1968 was held August 8-11th. Last of the new bleacher sections were added on the south side at the cost of $1,600. As people sat on the new bleachers, announcer John Morgan said the welcome.

Congressman John Kyle spoke briefly on Sunday.

A non-Indian woman, named Mrs. Carl Kilinsky was accidently shot by an arrow, as she walked on the back of the bow-arrow stand run by Kenneth Funmaker (Winnebago). A stray arrow just nicked her, but after the excitement all was well. 

Visiting Indians came from fourteen states.

The dance contest was won by Victor Lasley, second place went to Herman Logan (Winnebago), and third place went to Don Marlin (Sauk).

The weather was cool and rainy all four days, but still 1,000 people attended the first day and 7,000 people attended on Sunday. A second dance had to be given.

$11,000 was the gate receipts. Shares were $24.00 for adults and $12.00 for children.

The decade ended with the 54th Annual Powwow held August 7-10th, 1969.  Rains before the powwow flooded the grounds so it was rescheduled for Sept. 3-7th.  This was the first time the powwow was flooded out and this was to be the pattern of the 1970s.  The committee decided at a meeting on July 27th to reschedule the dates.

A well drilling contractor provided a drilled and cased well for the powwow grounds. This made possible the use of running water. Hand pumps were still used among the people. The contractor was drilling wells at the Settlement and they drilled the well at no cost to the Powwow.

The powwow opened with the flag raising by Dewey Roberts and Alexander Walker, Sr. Five flags were raised, the flags were for two Meskwaki men killed in World War II and three killed in Vietnam.

Announcers for this powwow were Clyde Papakee Sr. and Walter Wabaunasee. Walter made announcements in Meskwaki. Donations came from Ellenberkers Service Station, Chief Burgers, Marshalltown AAA, Newinen Groves, and B.I.A.

Guests were Rep. John Kyle who spoke and who in the transition of Harlan and Svacina, helped with the powwow and the tribe. Another guest that came was actor Dick Van Dyke. He was adopted into the tribe and given the name White Bear, plus he was presented with a beaded necklace and given a dance in his honor. He seemed to enjoy dancing. By now he has probably forgotten the the Meskwaki. Ava Morgan from Markham, Illinois, made some films of the dances.

Sydney Keahna won the dance contest, second place went to Albert Dick Jr. (Omaha), and third place went to Matt Cleveland Sr. (Winnebago). 1969 was the first time a Women’s dance contest was held. The dance contest was done in traditional Women’s Meskwaki dancing.

In the decade of the 1970s, the powwow went down. The 1970s being called a “Me-decade” also came to the tribe. Many people who had been away five to ten years, started to come back, and this “me feeling” hurt the tribe and the powwow.

The 55th Annual Powwow was held September 3-7th, 1970, even though there was no flood that year. Congressman John Kyle asked the committee if they wanted dust control. If they wanted it, Federal money could be used. The committee said no, the roads were oiled for dust control. The cost of $120 for chemical and spreading was paid by Congressman Kyle. Arthur Mason had been trying for the past two years for some dust control. Mason had been after the board of supervisors to treat the road with calcium chloride, but got nowhere.

Governor Robert Ray came on a Sunday afternoon. Also there were Congressman John Kul, Senator Charles Balloon, Representative Fred Muhrfeld, and Mayor of Tama. That Saturday, the Tama Chamber of Commerce attended.

Raymond Slick Jr. won the dance contest, Vincent Lasley placed second, and Leonard Youngbear placed third. Mona Bearskin from Chicago won the wo­men’s dance contest, Chole Youngbear placed second, and Rosella Mallory (Winnebago) placed third. In the little boys’ contest, Gaylord Bear placed second, Vincent Lasley placed first, and Alvin Bear placed third. The little girls’ dance was won by Shelia Brown, Pat Roy placed second, and Deanne Merrick placed third.

A disappointment to some that came was no evening performance given on Labor Day. The gate receipts were $13,000.

The 56th Annual Powwow was held August 12-15th, 1971. The committee decided to have the first Indian princess. Rochelle Keahna was chosen that Memorial Day. Robin Youngbear and Stella Lasley were her attendants. The committee also had chicken suppers each Sunday before the powwow. John Morgan was the announcer. Gordon Lasley won the dance contest, Sidney Keahna placed second, and Don Marlund placed third.

Chole Youngbear won the women’s dance contest. Harlan Brown won the Jr. Boys’ dance contest, Clark Lasley placed second, and Mark Lasley placed third. Dennis Keahna won the Little Boys’ contest, Myron Wanatee Jr. placed second, and Henry Funmaker (Winnebago) placed third.

The Jr. Girls contest was won by Katie Livingston (unknown), Valerie Lasley placed second and Eloise Lasley placed third.

The policing or the grounds was done by five white men and six Indian men. The Governor did not attend but the State Treasurer, Maurice Barringer, came in his place.

The papers reported Miss Sarah and Pear Morgan from Oskaloosa attended the powwow. They had started coming to the powwow since the 2nd Annual. As like most people at that time, they came by train.

Richard McCaulley, a California businessman, reared in Tama donated funds for the powwow. Gate receipts were $19,000. Two performances were given on the Saturday afternoon and again that Sunday, with just fifteen minutes break.

The 57th Annual Powwow was held August10-13th, 1972. Roberta Roberts was chosen to be the Indian Princess with Sheila Brown and Stella Lasley and Kim Johnson as her attendants.

At the grounds everything was set, grass cut, the roads were oiled the week before. Most of the tribe was getting ready for the day. Then a week before the powwow, the grounds flooded because of heavy rains.

On August 9th, the powwow committee met with Bruce Bolen, Harlan Lowe, Arthur Mason, and H.J. Hill, Sect. of the Chamber of Commerce. Bruce Bolen agreed to have the powwow on his pasture and hay land adjoining the Bolen Arrowhead Campground. Harlan Lowe got the light company crew on the job of putting up light poles for the dancing arena. Bleachers for seating were obtained from Phil Juhl, Superintendent at the State Juvenile Home, They were dismantled by the employees and boys living at the homeland set up by them on the grounds. Other bleachers were loaned by the South Tama School and the City of Toledo parks.

The small building that was used as the ticket office was loaned by the Kiwanis Club. The building was brought by a flat bed truck, loaned by the Custer Implement and Hardward Store. A phone was installed and all was done.

The Governor also helped by an act, for release of snow fence. The Committee had asked to loan the fence but were told that State owned equipment could not be loaned. Governor Ray learned of the problem and called Ames that an emergency existed. The fence was released to Arthur Mason. Governor Ray also made arrangements for the loan of bleachers from Ames, and the Iowa National Guard brought than to the grounds.

Edward Hardon of Tama loaned the use of a tank and truck to haul drinking water. The water tank was refilled at the city hall pump station.

Tama Chamber of Commerce donated so watermelons for food for the visiting Indians. Jack Spooner loaned the watering tanks in which the melons were kept cold.

Congressman John Kul gave federal funds used to oil the road to the campground. County Supervisor Roy Wiese had the road mowed and graded. And the Chamber of Commerce sent powwow brochures to fourteen different radio and television stations. Daily newspapers were also provided with powwow publicity.

This was the last great show of support from anyone for some years to come.

The men’s contest was won by Myron Wanatee, second place went to Sidney Keahna, third place to Harlan Brown. Men’s tradition contest went to Leonard Youngbear, second place to Isaac Shuckahosee, third place to Dennis Keahna Sr. Women’s contest went to Ada Old Bear, second place to Margaret Green (Winnebago) and third place to Ruby Funmaker. Shawl Dance contest went to Gia Brown, second place to Pam Lasley, and third place to Rochelle Keahna.

Boys’ contest went to Myron Wanatee Jr., second place to Ferguson Funmaker, a Winnebago; and third place to Henry Funmaker, (Winnebago). The Girls’ contest went to Becky Youngbear, second place to Clydeen Wanatee, third place to Valerie Lasley.

The announcers were Richard Poweshiek and Assistant Lewis Jones Mitchell.

Visiting Indians were fed with a buffalo donated by Arlo Hinegardner of North Star Shooting Preserve.

It was a rainy powwow but about 1,000 people attended the first day, and about 8,000 on Sunday. About 10,000 attended on Sunday along with Governor Ray. Gate receipts came to $15,780.

A second powwow was held on Labor Day for the fun of it.

The 58th Annual Powwow was held August 9-12th, 1973. Fifteen girls completed for the Powwow Princess contest. Sheila Brown was chosen, with Stella Lasley, Gia Brown, Valerie Lasley as runner-ups. Bake sales and chili suppers were held to raise funds to feed the visiting Indians.

Gordon Lasley won the Dance contest, Mark Lasley placed second and Dennis Keahna placed third.

Special guests were Senator Emil Husak and Scott Newhart from the 81st District.

This was the beginning of bad feelings from the non-Indians from Tama. Because of a killing in Tama, the people of Tama thought that A. I. M. (American Indian Movement) was coming to take over the town. Some powwow signs were torn down along the along the highway.

Gate receipts were $9,500. $1,100 went to the General Fund, $500 went to Emergency Fund. Some of the expenses were $600 in prize money. Of the $4,000 for shares, each adult got $16.00 and each child received $8.00.


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