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1718 Guillaume Delisle map, showing locations of the Ioway (Aiouez au Pauotez), the Omaha (Maha), the Otoe (Octotata), the Kaw (Cansez) and the main voyageur trail (Chemin des voyageurs).

Indians of Iowa include numerous Native American tribes which have lived in the state of Iowa historically and prehistorically:[1][2][3]


Chewerean-Siouan speaking tribes from the prehistoric period

Ioway, 1861

The Chewerean tribes area probably descendant from the prehistoric Oneota, and appear to have been interconnected. At the time of contact with European explorers, their range covered most of Iowa. The Ho-Chunk ranged primarily east of the Mississippi in southern Wisconsin, the Ioway/Baxoje ranged in northern Iowa, the Otoe in central and southern Iowa, and the Missouria in far southern Iowa.[4][5][6]

Dakotan-Siouan speakers from the prehistoric period

The Dakota pushed southward into much of Iowa in the 18th and 19th century, and were commonly seen by settlers.[3]

Dhegihan-Siouan speaking tribes which arrived in the late prehistoric period

Moni Chaki, Ponca, 1898

The Dhegiha lived near the Missouri in the very Late Prehistoric and historic periods; they appear to have migrated to the region from the south or southeast, their origin location is debated.[7][8]

Other Siouan-language-speaking tibes of the late prehistoric period

These may be descendants of Late Prehistoric Mill Creek cultures whose range extended into northwest Iowa.[2]

Caddoan-speaking tribes of the late prehistoric period

Iowa, 1798, showing several tribes, including Pawnee (Panis/Panibousa), Ioway (Aiaouez/Aioureoua and Paoute/Paoutaoua), Dakota (Sioux), and Omaha (Maha); approximate state highlighted.
Mandan and Arikara delegation.

These may be descendants of Late Prehistoric Central Plains Tradition cultures that lived in southwest Iowa, especially around the Glenwood area. The Pawnee (Panis) are shown in southwest Iowa in a 1798 map, although they ranged primarily to the west.[2]

Algonquian speakers from the early historical period

Sauk family, 1899

The encroachment of Europeans and long-term conflict among Algonquian and Iroquian tribes in the east pushed many eastern tribes into the Midwest. The Meskwaki have maintained a presence in Iowa, even after offical removal in 1846, ultimately establishing a recognized Settlement.[1][3]

Iroquoian speakers from the early historical period

Again, the encroachment of Europeans and long-term conflict between Algonquian and Iroquian tribes in the east pushed these tribes into the Midwest.[1][3]

Moved into Iowa in the historical period

Pierre-Jean De Smet's map of the Council Bluffs, Iowa area, 1839. The area labeled 'Caldwell's Camp' was a Potawatomi village led by Sauganash, this was the precursor of Council Bluffs.[9]

Forced relocation of tribes in the 19th century led to eastern tribes living in and near Iowa.[1] Potawatomi Chief Sauganash founded the village that eventually grew into Council Bluffs.[9]


Federally recognized Indian settlements in Iowa

Notable Indians who lived in Iowa

Taimah (Chief Tama)


  1. ^ a b c d e Foster, Lance M. (2009). The Indians of Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. ISBN 1-58729-817-1.  
  2. ^ a b c Alex, Lynn M. (2000). Iowa's Archaeological Past. Iowa City: Unviersity of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-0-87745-681-0.  
  3. ^ a b c d Peterson, Cynthia L. (2009). "Historical Tribes and Early Forts". in W.E. Whittaker. Frontier Forts of Iowa: Indians, Traders, and Soldiers, 1682–1862. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. pp. 12-29. ISBN 1-58729-882-1.  
  4. ^ Mildred Mott (1938) The Relation of Historic Indian Tribes to Archaeological Manifestations in Iowa. Iowa Journal of History and Politics 36:227-314.
  5. ^ Late Prehistoric Oneota Population Movement into the Central Plains, by Lauren W. Ritterbush and Brad Logan. Plains Anthropologist Vol. 45, No. 173, pp. 257-272, 2000.
  6. ^ The Milford Site (13DK1): A Postcontact Oneota Village in Northwest Iowa, by Joseph A. Tiffany and Duane Anderson. Plains Anthropologist Vol. 38, No. 145, pp. 283-306, 1993.
  7. ^ Dhegiha Origins and Plains Archaeology, by Susan C. Vehik. Plains Anthropologist Vol. 38, No. 146, pp. 231-252, 1993.
  8. ^ Kansa Origins: An Alternative, by Alfred E. Johnson. Plains Anthropologist Vol. 36, No. 133, pp. 57-65, 1991.
  9. ^ a b Whittaker (2008): Pierre-Jean De Smet’s Remarkable Map of the Missouri River Valley, 1839: What Did He See in Iowa? Journal of the Iowa Archeological Society 55:1-13.


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