It's hard to believe now, but in 2004 Tammy and I had never heard of the Ioway. As we have discovered in the two years since we began our current documentary film project, we are not unusual. Most Iowans don't realize their state was named for a Native American tribe, and that the Ioway people continue to contribute to America's story in the 21st century.
After showing our documentary "Villisca: Living with a Mystery" in Red Oak, Iowa, we visited the Montgomery County History Center. In the course of a discussion about Native American artifacts in a display case, a museum volunteer named Bettie McKenzie suggested that we make a documentary about the Ioway Indians. She also put us in touch with retired farmer and amateur archaeologist John Palmquist (pictured above between Tammy and I). After talking with John and learning more about the Ioway, we embarked on a fascinating two-year journey into a nearly forgotten chapter of American history.
"Lost Nation: The Ioway" will tell a dramatic story of survival in the face of monumental change. From their ancestors known as the Oneota to their modern-day locations on reservations in Kansas and Oklahoma, the story of the Ioway will unfold in a one-hour documentary that will premiere on October 11, 2007 at the State Historical Society in Des Moines.
We are honored to be involved in this project and proud to count members of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska and the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma among our friends. Making the film has been a fascinating journey, and we look forward to sharing our experiences with you in this blog.