History of Meskwaki people presented at Rotary

Tom McCoy, Bonnie Lowry, Sue Martin, Bob Moore and Zach Tomesch all had guests for the Feb. 25 version of the Marshalltown Rotary luncheon.

Marshalltown Police Department officer Andy Cole was on hand to give a recap of the “Shop with a Cop” program and thanked the Rotary Club for its support.

Todd Steinkamp gave a news report before Jerry Stephens introduced Johnathan Buffalo, historical preservation director for Meskwaki. Buffalo was born and raised on the settlement and is a 1981 graduate of the University of Iowa. Buffalo recapped the migration of the Meskwaki people over thousands of years noting that “tribal memory goes back to the last ice age, but our history goes back even further.”

The Meskwaki met the French in what is now Wisconsin in the 1660s. After a 40-year war, they were displaced to Iowa. When their land holdings became too small, most Meskwaki then went to Kansas. Returning to Iowa in the 1840s and 50s, the Meskwaki purchased their first 80 acres in Tama County. Buffalo’s narrative of the neighbors to the east was captivating and generated a round of good questions.

The Marshalltown Rotary Club, established in 1915, doesn’t quite have the history of the Meskwaki. The club does have a tradition of service to the community and is proud to be the 185th club chartered of more than 35,000 clubs in existence today.


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