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The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is the center of a Sovereign Nation with inherent powers of self-government recognized as such by treaties and legislation located in Perkins, OK. In the Iowa language, we call ourselves Baxoje (Bah Kho-je), meaning “People of the Grey Snow”. The story of our name has been handed down from generation to generation. It was told that at one time the Iowa Tribe was ‘1100’ strong, meaning the warriors or men numbered that many. When men had to leave our village, upon their return, they looked down from a rise and they saw that our village had been burned. At this point, we had lost some of the translation to the story – it could have been another tribe or others that had burned it. But it appeared as though the village was covered with “Grey Snow, ” even though the winter season was not upon us. For you see, the ashes had settled over the village site and all that was visible to the warriors were the burned remnants of what used to be our homes. Other versions of this story have been printed, but this is the one that we have been told.
The Iowas lived for the majority of its recorded history in what is now the state of Iowa, therefore, the state of Iowa takes its name after the Ioway people. Also, our language is of the Chiwere dialect of the Sioux Nation. We began as a Woodland culture, but because of the migration to the south and west, we began to pick up elements of the Plains Culture. In the earliest historical period of 1600, the Ioways (descendants of the Oneota), were in the area of the Red Pipestone Quarry in southwestern Minnesota. In 1730 they were found living in villages in the Lake Okoboji and Spirit Lake Region of Northwest Iowa. They moved south to the vicinity of Council Bluffs, Iowa. In the middle of the 18th century, part of them moved up along the Des Moines River. The remainder established themselves on the Grand and Platte Rivers in Missouri. In treaties, they ceded their claims to lands in Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota. The Treaty of 1836 assigned part of them to a reservation along the Great Nemaha River in Nebraska and Kansas. Later, some of the Ioways were moved to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. The original Iowa Reservation in Oklahoma was established by Executive Order dated August 15, 1883. The Iowa Nation is now divided into two tribes: The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma located in Perkins, Oklahoma; and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska – their tribal headquarters are located in Whitecloud, Kansas.
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is complete with its own constitution and bylaws. There are many aspects of the Tribal Government, all necessary to ensure the best for our tribal community and members. As of today, we have over 800 members enrolled within the tribe and a jurisdictional area covering all or parts of Payne, Oklahoma, Lincoln, and Logan counties. We are also the largest employer in the area with over 160 employees in several different departments, including Administration, Accounting departments for the various Tribal Enterprises (including three casinos spread throughout our jurisdiction), and a tribally-operated Police and Fire Department.
Mission of the Iowa Nation: “To improve the economic and social quality of life, for our tribal members and the adjacent communities.”
Iowa Tribal Headquarters is located 3 miles South of Perkins, Oklahoma & one half mile West of US highway 177. For more information, call us at (405) 547-2402.
The Elders Meeting on Aug. 9th has been moved to the Courtroom.