Native Americans

The Ioway Tribe was the first tribe that inhabited the state of Iowa, and is the reason the state of Iowa got its name.

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Office of Native Americans


The Office of Native American Affairs serves as the central permanent agency to advocate for Native Americans. The office works with state departments and agencies to serve the needs of Native Americans in participating fully in the economic, social and cultural life of the state. (Iowa Code Section 216A.166).


Iowa Natives

The U.S. Census Bureau indicates the percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives in 2012 who were born in Iowa was 48.7%. This compares with 72.5% of the total population who were born in the state. Nearly half (44.8%) of the total American Indian and Alaska Native population in Iowa live in Woodbury, Polk and Tama counties.


The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar national proclamations have been issued every year since 1994. Iowa’s Governors have also issued proclamations to support Native Americans in Iowa.


The estimated number of American Indians in Iowa in 2012 was 14,043. The Census Bureau estimates a 47.8% increase in population between 2000 and 2011.