Meskwaki Indian Pow Wow – Tama, Iowa

meskwaki pow wow.jpg   Meskwaki Indian Pow Wow – Tama, Iowa

The Meskwaki Pow Wow originated from the traditional religious and social beliefs of the tribe. Today it is more of a social gathering than a religious event.

The years had taken their toll on the celebration which was called “Field Days” in celebration of the corn crop that had been harvested. In 1913 the name was changed to Pow Wow.

The first Pow Wow was held at the location of the old village. Five wickiups were arranged in a circle to enclse the dance ground and dancers performed. There were three tribes at the first Pow Wow, the Winnebagos from Nebraska, Kickapoos from Kansas and the Sauks from Oklahoma.

Today you will experience the ancient dances and ancient songs at one moment and a contemporary song or dance next. Time moves on and so does the Pow Wow.  The Meskwaki Powwow is the only one of its kind and is held annually on the only Indian Settlement in the State of Iowa.  During the four day affair, the gathered Indians celebrate and perform in full-dress regalia, dances that have been handed down for generations.

There are the following dances:
Friendship Dance
Pipe Dance
Buffalo Head Dance
Harvest or Bean Dance
Swan Dance
Shawnee Dance
Shield Dance
War Dance
Meskwaki Dance
Rabbit Dance
Victory or Solider Dance

The Meskwaki welcome you to their Pow Wow, they would love to share their history and pleasure with you.

Address: 349 Meskwaki Rd., Tama, Iowa 52339

Location: The Powwow site, historically known as the “Old Battleground” is 4 miles west of Tama, IA on Hwy E 49 and along the east bank of the Iowa River near the original 80 acres of  the Miskwaki Settlement.

Phone for Dates and Information: 641-484-4678 

Performance Schedule:
Thursday thru Sunday Sessions start at 1 pm and 7 pm.

General Admission:
Adults $6, Children $4
Thursday is Children’s Day for 6 to 12 year olds and admission is just $2.  Friday is Senior Citizen’s Day for 55 + at $4.  Saturday is Veteran’s Day with proof of service admission is $3.  Sunday is Governor’s Day


  1. Connie Halastik says:

    I would like some more information on this event I brought a group to the Pella Tulip festival and we stayed at the Meskawaki Casino /Hotel and saw the Pow Wow flyer the group that I brought was very interested in comming to this event is it open to the public. and coul;d you send me the days and times if so.

  2. Thank you for contacting us with your question.

    The Pow Wow for 2008 begins on August 7 and runs to August 10th. Thursday the 7th the festivities begin at 1:30 pm and then again at 7:30 pm, Friday, and Saturday are the same schedules and on Sunday it’s at 1:30 only.
    Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 5 & younger. Aug. 7th is Children’s Day $1.50 for aages 6-12, August 8 is Senior Citizen’s Day $3.00 for ages 60+.

    You are more than welcome to come and enjoy the fabulous cultural event. Glad you are coming back to the area!
    The Editor,
    Pat Watson

  3. Lynda Mitchell says:

    I will be attending the Pow-Wow this year, and wondered if there is any flyers or material about the crafts or crafters on site? Any informations about the happenings would be great as this is the first time I will attend.

  4. sandra stevens says:

    never been there before ,so thought that would be a nice place to spent vacation there

  5. You will surely enjoy the event, it’s colorful, full of history and meaning and welcoming. Glad you are going!

  6. Will it be shaded and is it handicap accessible?

  7. The area is handicap accessible but is not shaded. We recommend bringing
    umbrellas for shade. It is an outdoor event. The powwow will be held behind
    the casino at the outdoor arena.

  8. Thank you so much for the information. We are really looking forward to
    coming. We’ve been coming to the powwow for several years now and enjoy
    it more each year. It’s really a fabulous event and I wish everyone
    could experience it just once! Thanks again for the information. I
    really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.

  9. Could you please tell me where i could go to buy the goods that the indians make and would like to sell. I recently visited the iowa fairgrounds where they had an indian art show and the prices were outrageous…….if i were to spend that amount then i would like to be sure that all the money stays with the indians. Please give me some ideas. Thanks.

  10. Ginger,
    I have forwarded your request on to the tribe, they will respond to you quickly. They are attentive and want to make sure you get the information you request.

    Thank you for contacting with your inquiry.

    Pat Watson

  11. Gair E. Bridges says:

    I just found out this morning that this is Native American Heritage Day. Thank you for continuing the heritage that has made your nation so proud. I would hope this is not just a one time proclamation but will continue on and on.

  12. The 2009 Pow Wow will be August 6 – 9. General Admission for adults is $6, Children $4. Children’s day is Thurs. with admission being $2.

  13. Katherine Marie Cesena says:

    My name is Katherine Marie Cesena, and I also am a Native American Indian,from California i have lived in Iowa for 7 and a half years and am proud to go to your Pow-Wows we also have our annual Pow-wow gathering in April also in Pomona Ca. My Brother and his two boys are Bear Dancers It will be an honor to go see you this year just as the past. I am hoping one day my Brother would be able to come out here to see you also. Thank you for letting me sign up with you news Letter.Katherine Marie Cesena.

  14. we plan to attend the pow wow on thursday, august 6th. we wondered what time the gates open & if the afternoon & evening performances are the same. we are travelling from the central part of the state and plan to make it a day trip. thanks for any information you can share. deb

  15. In the year 2009 the Performance Schedule is: Thurs. – Sunday Sessions start at 1 pm and 7 pm.
    Admission is Adults $6, Children $4
    Thursday is Children’s Day with admission for 6 – 12 year olds $2. Friday is Senior Citizen’s Day 55 years and over at $4. Saturday is Veteran’s Day (must show ID) $3. And Sundya is Governor’s Day.

  16. What are the ages for “children”?

  17. 6-12 years of age.

  18. Jennifer says:

    My name is Jennifer, when I came to Iowa I was a little girl. I have lived here for about 20 years. I’ve been going to your pow-wows for about 11 of thoughs years and have enjoyed coming every year since then. I have to say even when money gets tight I always find away to come haven’t missed one yet. I am from Arizona and part Native American of the Hopi tribe. Where I live, my children and I are the only natives and when it comes time for the pow-wow it feels good to be around other natives. Now that my children are a little older I bring then to learn of the Native American dances.

  19. Dan thomas says:

    I have been coming to the miskwaki pow wows since i was at least 2yrs old. i have allways remembered how awsome it was. I moved to Mille Lacs, MN and was able to make my self a outfit so that this year I was able to come back and enjoy the pow wow but not as a spectator but as a dancer, a fancy dancer. The dancers i always enjoyed the most. I even brought my family with to dance with me to show them what i loved to watch as a kid growing up. Miigwitch

  20. cory tomlinson says:

    im sac, fox indian but do 2 my fathers job i live in alabama, my mother (christina tomlinson) is the grand daughter of (dave chase) im very proud of my great grandfather he was a great man he lived by the indian way, but i live in alabama so im not around my people, is ther any way i can conect with my people, feel free 2 message me at myspace or email -im ‘’ on both

  21. bill angell says:

    i was wondering when the pow wow was this year. i helped build the hotel and the high school so i thought i would bring my family for some fun

  22. The Powwow for 2010 will be held on August 12 – 15. We hope you enjoy the wonderful event.

  23. They sure are, the community will welcome you.

  24. tony byrum says:

    I have been to your pow wow many times and each time it gets better. My wife is from the philippines and I hope we can come this year. She has never seen anything like this. tony

  25. We’ve been to several pow-wows in South Dakota and Nebraska. It’s an exuberant spiritual event. All should go and watch, appreciate and learn!

  26. wondered if the 2010 powwow will be at the traditional grounds or at the casino.

  27. Olicia Potter says:

    I love going to the pow-wow! I look forward to it every year. It brings back wonderful memories from when I was a child. My grandmother(Phyllis Potter) would take me. I used to sit for hours & watch her do beadwork & she would ask me to dance for her:)

  28. Vera Strumolo says:

    I just found out about this and I am very interested in going! Do you happen to know the 2011 dates and times? Also, do we have to bring our own chairs? Thank you very much!

  29. We will be contacting them to find the dates for 2011. As soon as we have them we will post them on our site.

  30. I am traveling from California to Tama to try and find my family roots. I am related to jim thorpe. my family came from Tama area.How can i find ancestor info? I will come during your pow wow.It sounds awesome!can we bring large shade set up and share it?Can we bring food cooler?How much is local motel?can we camp?Can i get in touch with other thorpe family?Thank you.

  31. rock johnson says:

    I have been to the pow wow many times when I lived in ia I. Now live in Kentucky and was wondering. When the pow wow will be in 2012. As I would like to bring my wife to see it as she has never been to anything like it

  32. Tracy Miller says:

    When will the pow wow be in 2013

  33. August 8-11, 2013

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