Story of Ioway Continues in Moving Documentary
by Movie Reviewer Linda Cook
Quad City Times
Sometimes one documentary isn’t enough.
Quad-City filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle of Fourth Wall Films discovered that there is so much to tell about the Ioway, the Native American tribe from which the state of Iowa takes its name.
Their documentary, “Lost Nation: The Ioway,” which was broadcast last year on Iowa Public Television and has also been shown at many special screenings, tells the story of the Ioway, beginning with their presence in an area between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers from Pipestone, Minn., on the north to St. Louis on the south to the present day.
The compelling story of the Ioway, indeed the history of the state, continues in the next two segments: “Lost Nation: The Ioway 2 and 3.” The Rundles have uncovered yet more archival images, maps, letters and even a cylinder recording of an Ioway-Otoe song. It all combines for a more vibrant history and story about the current status of the tribe that has lost much of its language and customs to history.
Tribal elders and other members recount the experiences of their grandparents, many of whom attended mission schools where they were not allowed to speak their own language. Archaeologists, historians and scholars discuss the sites where the Ioway once lived and the ways the people were forced from their lands.
Some of the stories that those interviewed tell are heartbreaking. “For generations, you weren’t proud to be an Indian,” one man says. Another tells how he was able to overcome anger to find forgiveness for what happened to his tribe.
A girl in her teens sheds tears when she discusses seeing artifacts in a museum and realizing what will happen if she does not teach the Ioway traditions to her own grandchildren. A young man talks about how the Ioway thought of horses as friends, or “medicine dogs.” An eagle rescuer in Oklahoma discusses the great reverence the tribe has for the birds.
Regardless of your own personal heritage, you are bound to be moved by these beautiful films. The look of the land is painterly. If you’re from the Midwest, you may be astonished at the beauty that truly is in your own back yard. And the way the Ioway related, and still relate, to the land is a significant reflection of the tribe’s past and present.
The Rundles expertly capture the oral history, the people you won’t soon forget and their past that must not be forgotten.