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Release: Jan. 12, 2000

Meskwaki history, music to be presented at UI Museum of Art Jan. 26

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Historian and lecturer Johnathan Buffalo and the Meskwaki performance group Lightening Boy will appear at the University of Iowa Museum of Art at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26.

Suzanne Wanatee will join Buffalo, and the two Tama residents will present an overview of the history of the Meskwaki people. This event is presented in conjunction with the exhibit "Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," on view in the Museum of Art Jan. 20-March 18.

Wanatee said that Buffalo will talk about the untold history of the Native Americans. "Johnathan (Buffalo) makes Indians and settlers look more prideful and less as victims," she said. "He brings everything together and creates parallels."

Buffalo will concentrate on where the Meskwaki people were during the time when George Catlin and other artists represented in the exhibition were painting portraits and scenes of the West. There will be a question and answer session after the lecture.

Following the lecture, Lightening Boy, a group of Meskwaki singers and drummers, will perform traditional songs of the Meskwaki people.

The group is a family affair, formed in 1996 by brothers Dennis Jr. and Derris Keahna. The majority of members of the group are cousins. Lightening Boy exemplifies an old style of singing, learned from the Keahna brothers’ father and grandfather, Dennis Sr. and Columbus Keahna. The members of Lightening Boy compose most of their songs, and some of their repertory represents other Indian nations.

"Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" explores the origins of the myths of the West that still generate in American culture.

"Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" is one of eight exhibitions in "Treasures to Go," touring the nation through 2002. The Principal Financial Group is a proud partner in presenting these treasures to the American people.

Programs and exhibitions at the Museum of Art are supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Local sponsors of "Lure of the West" include Meskwaki Bingo/Casino/Hotel, the Gazette family of companies, Humanities Iowa, Tru Art Color Graphics, the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art Inc. of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor for events at the UI Museum of Art during the 2000-2001 season, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive and just north of the museum.