Iowa and the OSA have been leaders in promoting cooperative work between archaeologists and Native people. Since 1976, state law has required the OSA locate and protect ancient burial sites and document and reinter human skeletal remains. This work and related work under federal law is closely coordinated with Indian Tribes and with the OSA Indian Advisory Council that was founded by Maria Pearson (Yankton Sioux) and Don Wanatee (Meskwaki) with State Archaeologist Duane Anderson.

In addition to the important work of the OSA Indian Advisory Council and OSA's NAGPRA Signatories, OSA consults and partners with regional Tribes regarding education, community outreach, and field investigations. 

A group of people in fieldwork clothes and high visibility guests post along a river bank
Photograph of some of the Dixon project partners, on site for a ceremony, April 5, 2017. Project STPN-031-1(41)--2J-97. Back to front and left to right (associations as of 2017): Joe Coulter (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Mark Lowe (Iowa DOT), Steve King (Iowa SHPO), Brennan Dolan (Iowa DOT), Charlie Purcell (Iowa DOT), Tammy Nicholson (Iowa DOT), Lara Noldner (OSA), Jennifer Mack (OSA), Alan Kelley (Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska), Suzanne Wanatee (Meskwaki Nation), Fern Cloud (Upper Sioux Community), Drew Brockman (Upper Sioux Community), Mark Anderson (OSA), Johnathan Buffalo (Meskwaki Nation), Lance Foster (Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska), Megan Stroh-Messerole (Sanford Museum).


Regional Tribes, OSA, and other statewide partners also work together on long range and strategic planning for statewide partners and projects, planning and organizing Iowa Tribal Summits to discuss cultural resources management issues and updates, and creating education and outreach projects such as the Meskwaki Culture & History Discovery Trunks and the Lake Delhi creative mitigation

Every August, OSA education staff exhibit and interact with visitors in the culture and history tent at the Meskwaki Annual Powwow. This annual tradition is supported by an invitation and partnership with the Meskwaki Cultural Center and Museum that goes back to the 2000s. Because OSA education initiatives involve representations of Indigenous culture in Iowa's archaeological past, OSA seeks advice and guidance from Council members and other midwestern Tribal partners when producing and communicating educational content, and we are incredibly grateful for the time and knowledge they share with us.  

Council members and other regional Tribal historic preservation staff have conducted research in partnership with OSA staff, resulting in presentations at regional and national conferences and publications in academic journals. 

OSA staff also volunteer on the University of Iowa Native American Council, which supports Indigenous students and staff through various campus initiatives.

Five people post in front of a conference poster
Johnathan Buffalo (Meskwaki Nation), Suzanne Wanatee Buffalo (Meskwaki Nation), Elizabeth Reetz (OSA), Lara Noldner (OSA), and Bill Quackenbush (Ho-Chunk Nation) present at a Society for American Archaeology annual meeting.
Tribal Involvement in Archaeology in Iowa: Activism and Stewardship