Facts about the Iowa Native Indian
This article contains fast, fun facts and
interesting information about the Iowa Native
American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions
did the Iowa tribe live, what clothes did they wear, what
did they eat and who were the names of their most
famous leaders? Discover what happened to the
Iowa tribe with facts about their wars and
Picture of the Iowa Native Indian
above picture depicts Wash-ka-mon-ya, meaning
Fast Dancer, who was a distinguished Iowa
warrior. It was painted by the famous
artist George Catlin (1796-1872) who visited the
Iowa tribe in 1832. The
young Iowa warrior wore vermillion red face paint
and a striking black handprint. The Hand
symbolized human life and this sign was believed
to channel spiritual power, strength, domination
and protection to the warrior. The application
of war paint helped the brave to believe himself
to be invincible. The Hand Symbol also indicated
that the warrior has been successful in
hand-to-hand combat. The red zig-zag line across
the forehead symbolized lightning which was
believed to add power and speed to the warrior.
The Native Indian also wears a roach
headdress with a single eagle feather. His
finest jewelry was worn including numerous bead
and shell necklaces together various earrings. The most
decorative earring piece was made using long,
cylindrical 'Hair Pipe' beads that hung from his
ears and extended to his chest as a
What were the rituals and ceremonies of the
rituals and ceremonies of the Iowa tribe and
many other Great Plains Native Indians, included
the Sweat Lodge ceremony, the Vision Quest and
the Sun Dance Ceremony. The sacred, ceremonial
pipe (called a Calumet), was ritually filled
with tobacco was passed among participants at
all sacred ceremonies and rituals of the Iowa
Where did the Iowa tribe live?
The Iowa are people of the Great Plains Native
American cultural group. The location of their
tribal homelands are shown on the map. The
geography of the region in which they lived
dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Iowa
The American Great Plains region mainly extended across states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota
Tribal Territory: Iowa
Land: Grass covered prairies with some
streams and rivers
Climate: Hot summers and cold winters
Animals: The animals included the
Bison (Buffalo), deer, cougars, elk, bear,
beaver, porcupine, antelope, prairie dogs,
eagles and wolves
Crops: The crops grown in the area were corn, beans, sunflower seeds
Fish: Various fish including sturgeon,
crayfish and mussels
What clothes did the Iowa tribe wear?
The men of the
Iowa tribe wore a variety of clothes including breechcloths, deerskin leggings,
and sometimes a blanket robe over the upper part
of the body. Buffalo hides were also worn as
cloaks and moccasins were worn during the
winter. Ornaments were made of
shells, beads, shells, bear claws and metal. The women wore
long buckskin ankle-length dresses or skirts, leggings
and blanket wraps. The men of the Iowa tribe
wore Roach headdresses that were attached to
a scalp-lock on their shaved heads and stood
straight up from the head like a tuft or
crest. Only an Iowa chief was allowed to
wear the eagle feather headdress. The women
of the Iowa tribe wore their hair in two braids
if they were single, and one braid down the back
if they were married.
What did the Iowa tribe live in?
The Iowa tribe used a
Tepee as a
form of shelter when they went
buffalo hunts during the hot, summer months.
The tepees were oriented with the doorway on the
east so a person woke toward the rising sun. In
the winter they built houses called 'chakiruthan'
meaning 'house-tied-together', referring to the
lashing of the framework with bark strips. Earth
lodges were also built for winter lodgings.
What language did the Iowa tribe speak?
The Iowa tribe spoke in the Chiwere dialect of
the Siouan language, closely related linguistically to the
Missouria and Otoe tribes.
What food did the Iowa tribe eat?
The food that the Iowa tribe ate included
buffalo meat, that was acquired on their hunting
trips across the Great Plains. The meats also
included deer (venison), elk, bear and wild
turkey. Their main food were supplemented with
roots and wild vegetables such as spinach,
mushrooms, prairie turnips and potatoes together
with berries and fruits such as rhubarb. The
tribe were also farmers who raised crops such as
corn, beans, sunflower seeds and squash
What weapons did the Iowa use?
The weapons used by the Iowa tribe included bows and arrows of
cherry wood, ash and horn. The horn bows were
covered with the skin of a rattlesnake. Other
weapons included knives, spears, stone ball
clubs, hatchets and lances.