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Iowas of Oklahoma (U.S.)

Native American

Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: iowas of oklahoma | native american |
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[Iowas of Oklahoma flag] image by Donald Healy, 8 January 2008



See also:


The Band

[Iowas of Oklahoma map]
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy

Iowas of Oklahoma

The Iowas, pronounced "I-O-Ways", get their name from the Sioux ayuhwa, meaning "sleepy ones". According to legend and tribal history, the Iowas once lived in the lower Great Lakes region and were one Nation with the Otoes, Missourias, and Winnebagos. The Winnebagos stayed behind when the other three Tribes followed the buffalo herds to the mouth of the Iowa River. Later, the Otoes and Missourias split off from the Iowas and headed west, while the Iowa remained in the area where the Iowa River meets the Mississippi (ENAT, 102-103).

Even before the white man appeared, the Iowas were forced to move north because of pressure from other tribes. By 1700, the Iowas lived in southwestern Minnesota near the site of Pipestone National Monument - a major source of catlinite, the soft, carvable red stone used for pipe tips for calumets. Trade in this precious material extended from the quarry region to both coasts even as early as the Iowa's arrival. With the influx of whites, the Iowas moved south to what is now Kansas and Nebraska. Some Iowas remain in those two states today. In 1883, the bulk of the Iowa Nation was moved to Oklahoma.

Donald Healy 2008


The Flag

The flag of the Iowas that reside in Oklahoma is red and bears the tribal seal in the center (Annin & Co.). On top of the seal in black is "IOWAS OF OKLAHOMA". Within the white seal are two symbols common to many Native American peoples: the headdress, which appears in light blue, red, white, and black, and the peace pipe, in black with a yellow streamer. Below these two images is an old plow in black, recalling the agricultural basis of tribal life in Oklahoma. The circular seal represents an Indian shield; from it hang four white-and-black eagle feathers which allude to the four cardinal directions. Behind the shield and extending slightly from either side is a ceremonial lance decorated with yellow streamers.

The flag uses the four primary colors in Native American art: black, yellow, red, and white. These colors are said to represent the four races of man and the four directions of the compass [see Miccosukee].

Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 8 January 2008