News & Events
February 11, 2014 - Monthly board meeting at the GSHS museum at 6:00 PM
Museum closed Jan & Feb
January 01, 2014 - The museum is closed January and February and will open 3/3/2014
Greater Shenandoah Historical Society
Around 1700 traders encountered a village of Ioway and Oto along the Big Sioux River in Northwest Iowa, where they had settled near the Omaha and Sioux. By 1720 a band of Ioway had established a village near present day Council Bluffs. There they dealt with Spanish, French, and British traders. In 1765 the French convinced them to move to the Des Moines River near Iowaville, from where they traded with the French and several Indian Tribes to the west. All these tribes hunted in southwest Iowa. In 1807 Lt. Zebulon Pike noted a small village of Ioway along the Iowa River some 60 miles north of present day Des Moines. The arrival of the Sac and Fox in central Iowa pressured the Iowa to move to villages along the Nishnabotna and Boyer Rivers in southwest Iowa by 1830.
The Oto and Missouri tribes had villages in the western third
of modern-day Iowa from 1660 to 1717. After 1717 there are no
documented villages for these tribes in Iowa, but the Oto had
settled along the Platte River in Nebraska. For the next century,
they continued to hunt from the Nishnabotna to the Boyer River
and throughout the valley of the Nodaway River. Much of this
hunting was for the fur trade. On August 2, a delegation of Oto
and Missouri met with American explorers Lewis and Clark at
Council Bluff, 20 miles north of present day Council Bluffs,
Iowa. From 1817 to 1841, the Oto had four villages near the mouth
of the Platte River. In 1830 they signed a treaty at Prairie du
Chien, Wisconsin ceding all of their land in western Iowa to the
U.S. government. They retained the right to hunt on this land.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Sac and Fox
occupied several villages along the Mississippi River between the
mouth of the Des Moines River and Prairie du Chien. Under Chief
Black Hawk, they waged war against the white settlements in 1832
and were defeated. They were forced to give up all their land
along the Mississippi River, including the eastern part of Iowa.
In 1833 the Sac and Fox established villages in central Iowa. In
1842 they ceded all of this land, and by 1846 they had moved to a
reservation at the headwaters of the Osage River in present-day
Kansas. In 1850 and 1851 about 100 Fox, now calling themselves
the Mesquaki, returned to central Iowa and began buying land near
Tama. They were joined by others in 1862, bringing the total
number living in Iowa to 300.
After ceding their land in Illinois and Michigan in the
1830s, the Citizen Band of Potawatomi migrated to southeast
Kansas, while the Prairie Band migrated to southwest Iowa. From
1837 to 1847, the Prairie Band lived in several villages along
the Missouri River near present day Council Bluffs and in western
Fremont County. In 1846 the U.S. government signed a treaty with
the Prairie Band establishing a reservation in northeast Kansas.
By 1847 all of the Iowa Potawatomi had moved to Kansas, but they
continued to hunt in southwest Iowa. One of the last reported
hunts took them on a trek five miles west of Nyman in 1893.
The Omaha never settled in southwest Iowa. Throughout the
eighteenth century, they had villages in northwest Iowa and
northeast Nebraska. From 1836 to 1856, they occupied a village
near present day Bellevue, Nebraska, from which they regularly
hunted in southwest Iowa.