“Two Rivers” Film Discussion

Last night the film “Two Rivers” was shown at the Des Moines Valley Friends meeting. This is another tool Paula Palmer uses as she teaches us about how to work “Toward Right Relationships with Native People”. Attendees were from Des Moines Valley Friends and Bear Creek Friends meetings and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Those who want to begin to build relationships with Native People usually don’t know how to begin to do so. The film “Two Rivers” does an excellent job of showing how a rural community in Washington state begin doing that, as described below. A non Native couple sees nearly everyone in the town is white, and they don’t believe that is healthy. So they seek out a Native person who can help them find ways to build bridges between Native people who live in the area and the townspeople. The film shows how relationships began to develop, and more Native and non Native people are drawn into the process.

The key concept was for everyone to “speak from their heart”.


The discussion afterward was about what opportunities there might be for the people in the room to begin to develop similar relationships with Native people. Attending the Meskwaki Powwow is one possibility. David Wanatee from the Meskwaki Nation has been helpful regarding these past several days of workshops on “Toward Right Relationships with Native People” by reviewing the Acknowledgement Statement below. He asked us to let people know about the Meskwaki powwow, and sent us brochures about that which we have been distributing.

Another event is the annual “Prairie Awakening, Prairie Awoke Celebration” held at the Kuehn Conservation Area, which will be September 7, 2019, 3:00 – 9:00 pm.

Dallas County Conservation Board’s 21st annual Prairie Awakening– Prairie Awoke Celebration will be on Saturday, September 7, at the Kuehn Conservation Area, from 3 to 9 pm. This year’s Celebration theme is “Much can be learned by watching children at play.”- a reflection on the words of Black Elk, the Lakota Elder, – “Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of the little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.”
Last year’s celebration honored our elders, with the planting of the four directions bur oaks in the arena, we remembered the Celebration’s and our families’ elders. Our legacy oaks are thriving in the arena and remind us of last year’s lessons. They give us pause, as we consider the shade and comfort they will provide future Celebration participants. The lessons of the elders have been awakened in us, and in the prairies at Kuehn.

This year’s Celebration invites you to explore what we might learn from the children. What lessons might we be missing that are known to these young– pure at heart? DCCB is teaming with the Meskwaki Nation, inviting their children to come and share their lessons in the arena. As stated on Meskwaki Settlement’s website- “Today’s tribal leaders were once the children of the community and will be its elders tomorrow. Native youth provide a special perspective on the world, and have an unique power and motivation to make a difference…” –National Congress of American Indians Together in the arena carved into the restored tallgrass prairie we will celebrate the lessons of the children. The Youth Drum, from the Meskwaki Settlement, will be featured as they share their drumming and songs. These Meskwaki youth will explain the traditions of the drum and the importance of their work to carry these lessons forward. Celebration participants will be encouraged to sing with the youth drummers, and a contingency of local Dallas County youth will join in and drum with the Youth Drum.

Additionally, Meskwaki youth will be performing in regalia some of the Tribe’s traditional dances. The Meskwaki youth will utilize this event to promote cultural unity and friendship as they interpret these dances and share the importance of these traditions for their Tribe. Celebration participants will be invited to join the Meskwaki youth, dancing in the arena.

As traditions direct, we will sit together, in the tallgrass prairie arena at Kuehn. Bring your lawn chair for seating. The event is free. Concessions will be available on site.

Another opportunity would be to become engaged with the Sunrise Movement. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI) is the Sunrise Hub for central Iowa. When the Green New Deal Tour came to Des Moines recently, Trisha and Lakasha were on the program to talk about how important it is that a Green New Deal be indigenous led.


We begin by acknowledging that the Land between Two Rivers, where we sit and stand today, has been the traditional homeland for many independent nations. These include the Ioway and the Otoe, who were here since before recorded time. The Omaha and the Ponca were here, moving to new lands before white settlers arrived. The Pawnee used this land for hunting grounds. The Sioux, Sauk and Meskwaki were here long before European settlers came. Members of many different Indigenous nations have lived on these plains. Let us remember that we occupy their homeland and that this land was taken by force. Today, only the Meskwaki Nation, the Red Earth People, maintain their sovereignty on their land in the state of Iowa. They persevered and refused to be dispossessed of their home. Place names all over our state recognize famous Meskwaki chiefs of the 1800s like Poweshiek, Wapello, Appanoose, and Taiomah or Tama. We honor the Meskwaki Nation for their courage, and for maintaining their language, culture and spirituality. May our time together bring respectful new openings for right relationship to grow.

This entry was posted in Arts, Indigenous, Native Americans, Quaker, Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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