A two-day symposium that begins today in central Iowa will shed some light on the history of some of the very first residents of the state. The Meskwaki Historical Preservation Department is conducting the symposium at the Meskwaki Casino Hotel in Tama.
Spokesperson Christiana Blackcloud-Garcia says this is something the tribe has wanted to do for a long time, and finally were able to move forward thanks to a federal grant. She says there are so many researchers who have studied the tribe, and this is a chance for them to explain what they’ve found in their research. Blackcloud-Garcia says they expect a good crowd.
They expect 400 to 500 people to attend, including researchers from several states. The event is open to the public and free. Blackcloud-Garcia says there’s lots of interest in the local community. "A lot of tribal members are really looking forward to this," she says. Blackcloud-Garcia says many of the elders remember the researchers coming and doing the research and are interested in what they found.
Blackcloud-Garcia says it’s gratifying to see so much interest in the history of the Meskwaki tribe. "To me it seems like Iowans are really reaching out to learn more about the people they live with," Blackcloud-Garcia says. She says the tribe acquired its first land in the state some 150 years ago.
Blackcloud-Garcia says many Iowans only know the Meskwakis are associated with the casino, and this symposium will teach so much more. She says they are reaching out to share "a part of our history we are so proud of." Blackcloud-Garcia says this will give "outsiders" a chance to see where the Meskwakis came from.
The symposium begins at 9:15 A.M. and runs through he afternoon today and tomorrow. For more information on the schedule, visit the Meskwaki website .