|Regions with significant populations|
|United States ( Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma)|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Iowa (also spelled Ioway), also known as the Báxoje, are a Native American Siouan people. Today they are enrolled in either of two federally recognized tribes, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma and the Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.
Together with the Missouria and the Otoe, the Ioway are part of the Chiwere-speaking peoples, claiming the Ho-Chunks as their "grandfathers." Their estimated population of 1,100 (in 1760) dropped to 800 (in 1804), a decrease caused mainly by smallpox, to which they had no natural immunity.
In 1824, the Iowa were moved from Iowa to reservations in Brown County, Kansas, and Richardson County, Nebraska. Bands of Iowa moved to Indian Territory in the late 19th century and settled south of Perkins, Oklahoma, becoming the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma.
Their name has been said to come from ayuhwa ("asleep"), but their autonym (their name for themselves) is Báxoje pronounced (alternate spellings: pahotcha, Bah-kho-je) ("dusted faces" or "grey snow"). The translation "dusted faces" is a likely folk etymology, since the Ioway words use different consonants. Early European explorers often adopted the names of tribes from the ethnonyms which other tribes gave them, not understanding that these differed from what the peoples called themselves. Thus, ayuhwa is not an Ioway word. The word Ioway comes from Dakotan ayuxbe via French aiouez. The Ioway called themselves Báxoje or a variant thereof.
In 1760 the Iowa tribe population was roughly 1,100, but their numbers were reduced to 500 by 1900. In 1960 there were 100 in Kansas and 100 in Oklahoma.
By 1980 their population had recovered to 1,000 (of which only 20 spoke Iowa). In 1990 there were 1,700 people. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in 1995 there were 533 individuals living in the Iowa reservations of Kansas and 44 in Nebraska (Horton Agency), while 857 people lived in the Oklahoma Iowa Tribe (Shawnee Agency), amounting to a total of 2,934 people. According to the 2000 census, 1,451 people identified as full-blood Iowa, 76 were of mixed-Indian descent, 688 of mixed-race descent, and 43 of mixed-race and tribe descent, amounting to 2,258 people.
The Iowa have had customs similar to those of the other Siouan-speaking tribes of the Great Plains, such as the Omaha, Ponca and Osage. They were a semi-nomadic people who had adopted horses for hunting, but they also had an agricultural lifestyle similar to the tribes inhabiting the Eastern woods. They planted maize, manufactured alum pipes and traded these along with furs with the French colonizers.
Their more permanent houses were oven shaped, covered with earth for protection from extremes of temperature and oriented to a cardinal direction. A smoke hole enabled ventilation from a central hearth. During the hunting season or in their bellic incursions, they used the portable teepee. Like the Osage or Kansa, they shaved their heads and decorated them with deer skin. Like the tribes of the Great Plains, they valued three feats during a battle.
In prehistoric times, the Iowa emigrated from the Great Lakes region to present-day Iowa. In the 16th century, they moved from the Mississippi River to the Great Plains, and possibly then separated from the Ho-Chunk tribe.
From the 15th to 18th centuries, they lived in the Red Pipestone Quarry region (Minnesota). In the early 19th century, the Iowa had reached the banks of the Platte River, where in 1804 Lewis and Clark visited their settlements. There they engaged in trading with the French and local tribes, thanks to their advantageous situation regarding the alum deposits.
Between 1820 and 1830, the Iowa ceded their Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri lands to the U.S. government. By 1836 most were relocated to a reservation along the Kansas-Nebraska border, led by their chief Chief Mahaska (Mew-hew-she-kaw, "White Cloud"; archaic Ioway Maxúshga pronounced ; contemporary Maxúhga). They finally surrendered the Little Platte territory in Missouri by 1824.
In 1836 they settled in a strip of land in Missouri, along with the Sauk and the Fox. Some 45 Iowa fought in the American Civil War in the Union Army, among them Chief James White Cloud, son of Mahaska
In 1883 a number of Iowa moved to Indian Territory preferring to live in the older community village way of life. The new reservation was located in Lincoln, Payne and Logan counties in the Indian Territory. However, despite their efforts to block allotment, their lands were divided anyway. Today the Iowa Reservation in Nebraska and Kansas is approximately 2,100 acres (8.5 km2) in size, and has more than 150 residents.
In 1988 Louis Deroin was chosen as chief of the Nebraska and Kansas Iowa. Janice Kurak is the current tribal chairperson of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma.
Notable Iowa people
- "Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska." Ioway Cultural Institute. (retrieved 23 Sept 2010)
- "Pocket Pictorial." Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission. 2010: 16. (retrieved 23 Sept 2010)
- Goodtracks, Jimm (16 August 2008), personal communication. Ioway Otoe-Missouria Language Website
- Koontz, John E. (2004) Contribution to Siouan listserv thread "(O)maha" (24 March)
- "Oklahoma's Tribal Nations." Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission. 2010 (retrieved 31 March 2011)
- Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, official website
- Ioway Cultural Institute
- Download recording of a courtship song from the Library of Congress' Omaha Indian Music Collection; performed by George Miller in 1897, collected by Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche
- "Lost Nation: The Ioway" – a historical documentary film about the Ioway Tribe
- "Maps, Material Culture, and Memory: On the Trail of the Ioway"
- Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture – Iowa (Indian tribe)