Storied tribal history gets updated

MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT – The long and storied history of the Meskwaki tribe is looking better every day, thanks to the work of museum leaders at the settlement.

The museum recently added mannequins to better display native regalia and panels detailing the history of the tribe.

Outside help and a continued effort of the tribe has upped the professionalism and feel of the museum in the past few years.

“Before it was just my copier and a glue stick,” said Johnathan Buffalo, historical preservation director of the museum and the Sac & Fox tribe. “It’s gone beyond what I could do myself.”

The museum will host a special, free public open house to highlight its new additions from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

It coincides with the tribe’s celebration of its Proclamation Day, which is the day, in 1857, it purchased the first 80 acres that became the basis of its settlement west of Tama. Buffalo said the museum has progressed in recent years and has a lot to offer the public.

“I’m very proud,” he said. “I feel honored that the museum can show this to the public and to the tribal members.”

Mary Young Bear, conservator of the museum, is also proud of the work done at the museum.

“It is a source of pride, and it’s a place where people can touch base with the past,” Young Bear said. “They can get a glimpse of our culture.”

Buffalo said there remains a long-term plan to relocate the museum to the proposed travel center along Highway 30 by the casino to expose it to more visitors.

“Everything in the room is built to be moved,” Buffalo said.

Typical hours of operation at the museum are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Friday. It is located at 349 Meskwaki Road at the settlement, a few minutes southeast of the casino.

For more information call the museum at 641-484-3185.