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.
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.