July 13, 2012

Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma


The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is a federally recognized indian tribe which split off from the main Iowa Tribe now located in Kansas and Nebraska in the late 1800s.

Official Tribal Name: Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma

Address:  335588 E. 750 Rd, Perkins, OK 74059
Phone: (405) 547-2402
Email: Email Form

Official Website: bahkhoje.com

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Baxoje (pronounced Bah-Kho-Je) or Pahojais commonly reported to mean “dusty noses,” based on the misunderstanding of the first syllable bá as pá, or “nose.” However, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma says Baxoje means “grey snow,” due to their winter lodges being covered with snow stained grey by the smoke of their fires.

Common Name:

The name Iowa is a French term for the tribe and has an unknown connection with ‘marrow.’

Meaning of Common Name:

Others say it is from a word in their language meaning “sleepy.” It is unclear how this came to be their tribal name.

Alternate names / Alternate Spellings / Misspellings:

Ioway, Southern Iowa

Name in other languages:


The Iowas began as a Woodland culture, but because of their migration to the south and west, they began to adopt elements of the Plains Culture, eventually combining elements of the cultures of the two regions. 

State(s) Today: Oklahoma 

Traditional Territory:

The Iowa, Oto, and Missouri homelands were in Iowa, southern Minnesota, and northern Missouri. Originally the Iowa (or Ioway – the two terms are interchangeable) and Otoe (or Oto) were part of the same moundbuilder Indian nation of the upper Mississippi, along with the Missouri (Missouria) and Winnebago (Hochunk; Hocak). The original nation split up by the 1600s into their historical identities as Ioway, Otoe, Missouri, etc. By the mid-1700s, the Otoe had moved to Nebraska. After disasterous wars, the remaining Missouri joined the Otoe in Nebraska by the early 1800s. The Iowa remained in Iowa and northern Missouri until 1836, when they were removed to a new reservation in Kansas. Some Iowa eventually moved to Oklahoma. All of the Otoe moved to Oklahoma.

The Iowa Tribe relocated many times during its history, from the mouth of the Rock River in present day Illinois, the Root River in what is now Iowa, the Red Pipestone Quarry in southwestern Minnesota, and the Spirit Lake/Lake Okiboji area of what is now Iowa.

In the earliest historical period of 1600, the Ioways, descendants of the Oneota, were in the area of the Red Pipestone Quarry in southwestern Minnesota.  In 1730 they were found living in villages in the Lake Okoboji and Spirit Lake Region of Northwest Iowa.  They moved south to the vicinity of Council Bluffs, Iowa.  In the middle of the 18th century, part of them moved up the Des Moines River.  The remainder established themselves on the Grand and Platte Rivers in Missouri. 

For many years they maintained a village near Council Bluffs, Iowa, abandoning it because of aggression by the Sioux and a desire to locate closer to the French traders. Thereafter, the Iowa lived primarily near the Des Moines River on the Chariton/Grand River Basin.

With the encroachment of white settlers into western lands, the Iowa Tribe ceded their lands in 1824 and were given two years in which to vacate. Additional lands were ceded in 1836 and 1838, and the Tribe was removed to an area near the Kansas-Nebraska border. The Iowas, whose native lands once encompassed an area of the Missouri and Mississippi River Valleys in what is presently Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, now found themselves with a strip of land ten miles wide and twenty miles long. Subsequent treaties would find this land even further reduced.

Dissatisfaction with their conditions and treatment resulted in a number of Iowa tribal members leaving the Kansas-Nebraska reserve in 1878 and moving to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). In 1883 an Iowa reservation was created there, but Iowas who wished to remain on the land in the north were allowed to do so. Today the two are recognized as separate entities. The Northern Iowa are headquartered in White Cloud, Kansas, while the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma has offices in Perkins, Oklahoma.

Confederacy: Mississippi Moundbuilders, Oneota Culture 


Treaty of 1805
Treaty of 1815
Treaty of 1824
Treaty of 1825
Treaty of 1830
Treaty of 1836
Treaty of 1837
Treaty of 1838
Treaty of 1854
Treaty of 1861


The original Iowa Reservation in Oklahoma was established by Executive Order dated August 15, 1883.  
Land Area:  
Tribal Headquarters:  Perkins, Oklahoma
Time Zone:  Central

Tribal Seal:

The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma seal was adopted in 1978 from a design submitted by Bob Murray, after tribal members were urged to create a meaningful symbol. Inside the circle, signifyling the Circle of Life, is the bonnet of an Iowa warrior adorned with sacred eagle feathers. Also within the circle is the sacred pipe.

The plow represents the agricultural tradition of the Iowa Tribe. The Iowas practiced some horticulture, growing crops such as beans, squash, and corn. The plow, however, did not become a part of Iowa life until their removal from their homelands. The fringe hanging from either side of the circle represents the quiver which was traditionally fashioned from buffalo hide and was used to carry the bow and arrows which were essential tools of early everyday Iowa life. The four eagle feathers at the bottom of the circle represent the four winds and the four seasons.  

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

To be eligible for enrollment in the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, one must have a parent on the roll and have at least 1/16 Iowa of Oklahoma blood quantum. 

Genealogy Resources:


Name of Governing Body:  
Number of Council members:  
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  


Language Classification:

 Siouan -> Western Siouan -> Mississippi Valley -> Chiwere–Winnebago -> Chiwere

Language Dialects:

Chiwere  (also called Iowa-Otoe-Missouria or Báxoje-Jíwere-Ñút’achi) was the language of the Ioway, Otoe, and Missouria. It is a is a Siouan language originally spoken by the Missouria, Otoe, and Iowa peoples, who originated in the Great Lakes region but later moved throughout the Midwest and Plains. The language is closely related to Ho-Chunk, also known as Winnebago.

Christian missionaries first documented Chiwere in the 1830s, but since then virtually nothing has been published about the language. Chiwere suffered a steady decline after extended European-American contact in the 1850s, and by 1940 the language had almost totally ceased to be spoken.

Currently, neither the Iowa of Kansas-Nebraska or the Iowa of Oklahoma have language programs.

Number of fluent Speakers:

The last two fluent speakers died in the winter of 1996, and only a handful of semi-fluent speakers remain, all of whom are elderly, making Chiwere critically endangered. As of 2006, an estimated four members of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians still speak the language semi-fluently, while 30 members of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma are also semi-fluent. There are no speakers left in the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska



The Iowa Nation was probably indgenous to the Great Lakes ares and part of the Winnebago Nation. At some point a portion moved southward, where they separated again. The portion which stayed closest to the Mississippi River became the Iowa; the remainder became the Otoe and Missouria.   

Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:



Housing: Ioway traditional homes were long houses covered with bark. 


Economy Today:

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs


Famous Iowa Chiefs and Leaders Leaders:

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading:

US Tribes H to J
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