Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Book reviews

There is a review of The Indians of Iowa at Archaeology at

The book is also mentioned at the website for the movie Lost Nation: The Ioway.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oct. 19 Iowa Public Radio Interview

Dennis Reese of Iowa Public Radio interviewed me about the book The Indians of Iowa on Oct. 19 for KUNI (Ames/Des Moines).

The podcast can be heard here as an MP3.

There is some of their public radio fundraising patter for a bit before the actual interview begins. The interview lasts for about 10 minutes, and the rest is their regular broadcast, mostly agricultural news.

Talk about thinking on your feet! I didn't know any of the questions, nor was I able to prepare anything, but I did okay for being so green at unprepared radio interviews :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

E-book version of The Indians of Iowa

I was asked about a Kindle version of the book. I passed on the question to the University of Iowa Press, and this was the reply:

Your book is actually already available as a digital edition/e-book via Adobe’s Digital Editions software. Digital Editions software is available free of charge for PC, Mac, and certain mobile platforms including the Sony E-reader, COOL-ER, and more info can be found at this site:

We don’t have a contract with Amazon for ebooks, which is why we’re not working with Kindles right now. But if anyone is interested in an eBook, please let them know that your book is available through our website. If you go to your book page:

And click on “add to cart” the electronic book will come up as an option of purchase.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Iowa Public Radio Interview on Oct. 19

I was interviewed today by Dennis Reese of Iowa Public Radio. It will be broadcast on Monday, Oct. 19 at 10:10am, in case you want to listen on-line (

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

U-Iowa News Release for "Indians of Iowa"

UI Press releases first comprehensive account of Indians in Iowa

The University of Iowa Press will release the first comprehensive account of Iowa native peoples -- "The Indians of Iowa," written and illustrated by Lance M. Foster -- on Oct. 1.

The book, which is aimed at middle school and high school readers, will be available at bookstores or call 800-621-2736 or Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from Eurospan Group:

Many different Indian tribes have lived in Iowa, each existing as an independent nation with its own history, culture, language and traditions. Some were residents before recorded history; some lived in Iowa for relatively short periods; others visited Iowa during hunting trips or times of war. Foster's book is the only book for the general reader that covers the archaeology, history and culture of all the different native nations of Iowa.

Foster received a bachelor's degree in anthropology and Native American studies from the University of Montana, and master's degrees in anthropology and landscape architecture from Iowa State University. He is an alumnus of the Institute of American Indian Arts. A member of the Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, he teaches at the University of Montana-Helena College of Technology.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reading My Book: "Lewis and Clark in Native Iowa"

Check it out-- I made this video early this morning (still a little groggy!). I am reading a chapter from my first solo book, The Indians of Iowa, from the University of Iowa Press (2009).

I will be doing some more soon--

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Frontier Forts of Iowa

I just received a copy of "Frontier Forts of Iowa" (William Whittaker, ed., U of Iowa Press, 2009) in which I wrote a chapter, "Native American Perspectives on Forts"! (Upper midwestern tribes):

No, I don't get any royalties-- it was just a scholarly thing to do :-)

“This smooth blend of history and archaeology provides an important reference and guide to trading posts and military fortifications in present-day Iowa from the 1680s with the arrival of the French to 1863 and the removal of the Sioux. An excellent reference and a good read. Anyone interested in the history of the frontier, Indian-white relations, and military activities will find this book informative and engaging. A terrific guide to the location, construction, and occupation of more than fifty trading and military fortifications in present-day Iowa. Excellent maps, illustrations, and photographs. An essential reference for western historians.”—R. Douglas Hurt, Purdue University

At least fifty-six frontier forts once stood in, or within view of, what is now the state of Iowa. The earliest date to the 1680s, while the latest date to the Dakota uprising of 1862. Some were vast compounds housing hundreds of soldiers; others consisted of a few sheds built by a trader along a riverbank. Regardless of their size and function—William Whittaker and his contributors include any compound that was historically called a fort, whether stockaded or not, as well as all military installations—all sought to control and manipulate Indians to the advantage of European and American traders, governments, and settlers. Frontier Forts of Iowa draws extensively upon the archaeological and historical records to document this era of transformation from the seventeenth-century fur trade until almost all Indians had been removed from the region.

The earliest European-constructed forts along the Mississippi, Des Moines, and Missouri rivers fostered a complex relationship between Indians and early traders. After the Louisiana Purchase of 1804, American military forts emerged in the Upper Midwest, defending the newly claimed territories from foreign armies, foreign traders, and foreign-supported Indians. After the War of 1812, new forts were built to control Indians until they could be moved out of the way of American settlers; forts of this period, which made extensive use of roads and trails, teamed a military presence with an Indian agent who negotiated treaties and regulated trade. The final phase of fort construction in Iowa occurred in response to the Spirit Lake massacre and the Dakota uprising; the complete removal of the Dakota in 1863 marked the end of frontier forts in a state now almost completely settled by Euro-Americans.

By focusing on the archaeological evidence produced by many years of excavations and by supporting their words with a wealth of maps and illustrations, the authors uncover the past and connect it with the real history of real places. In so doing they illuminate the complicated and dramatic history of the Upper Midwest in a time of enormous change. Past is linked to present in the form of a section on visiting original and reconstructed forts today.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Indians of Iowa - Description from U Iowa Press

The Indians of Iowa
by Lance M. Foster

Bur Oak Book

160 pages, 12 drawings, 4 maps, 6 x 9 inches, 2009
$16.95 paper, 1-58729-817-1, 978-1-58729-817-2
Available October 2009

“For the past several decades I have received many questions from people seeking information on the tribes who lived in Iowa. Until now there has been no single source to answer those questions. Lance Foster’s work will be the source of first reference. It should be on the shelf of every library in the state.”—Jerome Thompson, state curator and interim administrator, State Historical Society of Iowa

“A landmark overview of American Indians in Iowa and a valuable ‘must-have’ source for school, university, and city libraries as well as professional anthropologists and historians, The Indians of Iowa combines Lance Foster’s skills as an indigenous scholar, research specialist, straightforward writer, and artist par excellence.”—David Mayer Gradwohl, professor emeritus and founding director, Iowa State University Archaeological Laboratory

Many different Indian tribes have lived in Iowa, each existing as an independent nation with its own history, culture, language, and traditions. Some were residents before recorded time; some lived in Iowa for relatively short periods but played memorable roles in the state’s history; others visited Iowa mostly during hunting trips or times of war. Stimulating and informative, Lance Foster’s The Indians of Iowa is the only book for the general reader that covers the archaeology, history, and culture of all the different native nations that have called Iowa home from prehistory to the present.

Foster begins with a history of Lewis and Clark’s travels along the Missouri River adjacent to western Iowa. Next, he focuses on the tribes most connected to Iowa from prehistoric times to the present day: the Ioway, Meskwaki, Sauk, Omaha and Ponca, Otoe and Missouria, Pawnee and Arikara, Potawatomi, Illinois Confederacy, Santee and Yankton Sioux, and Winnebago. In between each tribal account, “closer look” essays provide details on Indian women in Iowa, traditional ways of life, Indian history and spirituality, languages and place-names, archaeology, arts and crafts, and houses and landscapes. Finally, Foster brings readers into the present with chapters called “Going to a Powwow,” “Do You Have Indian Blood?” and “Indians in Iowa Today.” The book ends with information about visiting Native American museums, historic sites, and communities in Iowa as well as tribal contacts and a selection of published and online resources.

The story of the Indians of Iowa is long and complicated. Illustrated with maps and stunning original art, Lance Foster’s absorbing, accessible overview of Iowa’s Indian tribes celebrates the rich native legacy of the Hawkeye State. It is essential reading for students, teachers, and everyone who calls Iowa home.

Tribes included:
Illinois Confederacy
Lenni Lenape (Delaware)
Ojibwa (Chippewa)
Padouca (Plains Apache and Comanche)
Santee Sioux
Yankton Sioux

Lance Foster received a B.A. in anthropology and Native American studies from the University of Montana as well as an M.A. in anthropology and an M.L.A. in landscape architecture from Iowa State University; he is an alumnus of the Institute of American Indian Arts. He has been director in the Native Rights, Land and Culture division for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; a historical landscape architect for the National Park Service; and an archaeologist for the U.S. Forest Service. A member of the Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, he currently teaches at the University of Montana–Helena College of Technology.

Native American Studies American History

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Indians of Iowa Blog

I set up this blog for readers of The Indians of Iowa, which will be published in the Fall of 2009 by the University of Iowa Press. This blog will give readers a chance to ask questions about the book, and act as an ongoing FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Stay tuned for further developments!

-Lance M. Foster