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lowans might be more in sync with the Meskwaki tribe than they think

Iowans may have more in common with the Meskwaki Nation than they think. One thing Iowa has been very good at, is keeping and preserving the names given by the local Native Americans. There are a lot of things (mainly geographical) with Native names here in Iowa such as towns, lakes, parks, rivers, and counties. Some of these names are used in everyday use and most Iowans may not realize they’re using the Meskwaki language. For instance, we may hear any typical Iowa news cast weatherman say, “There is a storm coming to Ottumwa.” Names such as: Wapello,Tama, Peoria, Wapsipnicon, Maquoketa (bear location)

“Our words are still being spoken in the state, to most people they don’t know what it means, it’s just words to them. But the names have meaning. It keeps us alive” said Johnathon Buffalo (Meskwaki Tribe Historic Preservation Museum Director)

In conclusion, in some states most tribes were completely wiped out and erased from history. However, Iowa maintained most of the original names. Speaking and using these names keeps the people alive and prolongs their story. If you would like to listen to an honest and raw conversation about the Meskwaki Tribe and their story you can listen to the episode (The Amner Martinez podcast) or visit

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

L.M. Montgomery

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