A new documentary is drawing big crowds across Iowa about the tribe for which the state was named. The film, " Lost Nation: The Ioway ," tells the story of some of the first human inhabitants of this land, long before it was called Iowa. Director Kelly Rundle says it’s little wonder few Iowans know about the Ioway, as the last members of the tribe were taken out of Iowa nearly two centuries ago.
Rundle says: "The state was, in fact, named for the Ioway people. Not a lot of people in Iowa know that. The film tells the story of the Ioway from their ancestors, the people the archaeologists call the Oneota up until the present day. The film does focus on a historical period of great change for the Ioway people that occurred around 1800."
The movie premiered at the State Historical Society of Iowa in October and has since been screened nearly 40 times in five states. Rundle says they just completed showings for both Ioway tribes in Kansas/Nebraska and Oklahoma. "The Ioway have been gone from Iowa since the 1830s. That’s when they were removed. All Native Americans were removed from the territory before statehood," Rundle says. "I think partly because the Ioway have been gone so long, Iowans have forgotten them, in the same way that the Ioway themselves have forgotten some of their history and heritage in the state of Iowa."
Rundle, who runs the Quad Cities-based Fourth Wall Films, says there’s great interest in the subject of the Ioway. Rundle says, "In Des Moines, we had nearly a thousand people that saw the film on our opening weekend and then we’ve had, in most locations, either near-capacity or capacity crowds." The film is showing this month in Cedar Rapids, Lost Nation and Mason City, with plans for a DVD this fall and Public TV broadcasts next year.