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Ioway Cultural Institute : Culture

Illustration: "Powwow" by Lance Foster

The Iowa Indians (or Ioway Indians) lived in Iowa for ages untold. Long ago, after the harvest of crops in the fall, there was a time of celebration and dancing. Men and women joined together to celebrate life and the success of the past year. Although the Ioway were moved from Iowa and onto a reservation in Kansas by 1836, and some eventually went to Oklahoma, the tradition of celebrating life through dancing continues up through today.

In "Ioway Fall Powwow," by Ioway artist Lance M. Foster (Hengruh: "Oldest Son"), it is Fall on the Iowa Reservation, near White Cloud, Kansas. Above, the geese are flying south for the winter. Here, on the dance grounds, the Ioway of the past dance alongside the Ioway of today. The Iroshka is an old dance, a dance of the warriors. Here we see an Iroshka dancer of the 1800s (the man to the right) dancing with an Iroshka dancer of today (the man to the left). Today, the Iroshka is also known as the Straight Dance. The women also dance int he traditional way with dignity and grace, with the woman dancer of the 1800s to the right and the woman dancer of today to the left. Some elements of the dancers' outfits have changed and some have remained much the same. The Ioway of today retrace the steps of the Ioway of long ago during the "Ioway Fall Powwow."


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