Meskwaki History

Meskwaki government in the 20th century

The Meskwaki are governed by an elected Tribal Council, first established in 1937 when a new constitution and bylaws were written. Prior to this time, the Meskwaki were self-governed by representatives of ten clan groups, with a chief serving as head of the council. Click here to read the Constitution and By-Laws of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa.

The Meskwaki Tribal Center, complete with gymnasium, was built in 1979, serving as the center for most governmental and social activities. Tribal programs include a health clinic and services, housing, child welfare, senior services, conservation and reclamation, historical preservation projects, environmental protection, and other key services.

The Meskwaki own 7,054 acres of land in central Iowa, and tribal enrollment is at 1,200.

The tribal-operated casino and hotel complex, opened in 1993, introduced an era of tremendous change while generating economic sustenance for the tribe. The tribe now employs over 1,400 people, and improvements in housing and education, as well as other initiatives, have benefited the Meskwaki and their neighbors in myriad ways.


In 2003, a dispute over tribal leadership led to a legal battle between factions of the tribe and forced the closure of casino until a new Tribal Council was elected. Plans are underway for a major expansion of the casino and entertainment complex.