The Importance of Acknowledging our History: The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

This post is part of an ongoing series of blog posts that acknowledges the ancestral lands on which the National Archives’ buildings are situated. I started this series of acknowledgements as a simple way to offer recognition and respect to the people who lived on these lands before us. After all, the past is prologue.

Photo of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum by A/V Archivist Lynn Smith

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, is located in West Branch, Iowa, on the ancestral lands of the Iowa (Bahkhoje) Tribe and the Sac (Thakiwaki) and Fox (Mesquakie) Nation.

The land was acquired by the United States as part of the Black Hawk Purchase of 1832. (See: Iowa Tribe history, Sac history, Fox history, treaty history.)

On this 1905 map, West Branch is located in Cedar County, toward the bottom of the pink area and just east of the final “E” in “Second Purchase.” The Black Hawk Purchase of 1832 was forced upon the Sac and Fox after the Black Hawk War; the Sac and Fox received $640,000 for 6 million acres of land, approximately $0.11 per acre. The Iowa Tribe claimed ownership of the land, but were not part of the agreement.
(See: Census of Iowa for the Year 1905, compiled by the Executive Council: Des Moines, Iowa, Bernard Murphy, State Printer, 1905-1906.)

In 1837, leaders of the Iowa Tribe and the Sac and Fox Nation met in Washington, DC with officials from the U.S. Indian Commission to negotiate the sale of additional land (the “Second Purchase”) to the U.S. At the meeting, the Iowa Tribe presented a map of their ancestral territory, arguing that the Sac and Fox were newcomers to the area and that the Iowa rightfully owned the land. In the image of the map (above), the Iowa Tribe claimed land along the rivers depicted. West Branch is located approximately at the “R” in “Iowa R.” Although the Sac and Fox did not dispute the Iowa map, they were the current inhabitants of most of the land along the Mississippi River and the U.S. government sided with them. (See: Office of the State Archaeologist)

Enter your address in this interactive map of Traditional Native Lands to see who once lived where you are now.

My thanks to Spencer Howard, Archives Technician at the Hoover Library (LP-HH), who researched the information for this land acknowledgement.

For further information:

Black Hawk War claims register, National Archives Catalog: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/18504506

For more information on Land Acknowledgement:

Know the Land Territories Campaign
Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement
Before you state a land acknowledgment – mean it

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