What a magnificent day we had. There were approximately 75 people who gathered for our Remembrance Park Dedication Ceremony. Thanks to all who came out to make this morning so special…and thanks to our special speakers and honored guests!
If you were unable to be there – or you just want to view it again – below is our Facebook Live presentation – kudos to John Boller – director of the Coralville Food Pantry – for his recording work! ENJOY!
Johnson County historians Marybeth Slonneger gave us a wonderful introduction – while Marty Boller was our M.C. for the day. Read the Remembrance Park blessing here.
We were honored to welcome Johnathon Buffalo and his grandson Romeo Buffalo – representing our Meskwaki friends from Tama County. Johnathon shared his Johnson County memories and told us about the beautiful Meskwaki phrase that appears on our Remembrance Park stone. Read more here.
Romeo Buffalo then shared a wonderful selection of music on his Native American flutes.
Two centuries ago, the proud Meskwaki people lived peacefully on this land. Their chiefs – Poweshiek, Wapashashiek, and Totokonock oversaw three villages in, what is today, Johnson County Iowa. In 1838 – approximately 2,000 Meskwaki people lived here, and I’m certain if we were standing on this sacred land back then, you and I would hear, on many occasions, the sweet sound of the Meskwaki flute calling out to the land these proud people called home. On Monday, September 5, 2022 – 184 years later, Romeo Buffalo – a direct descendant of these Native Iowans – played his flute over Remembrance Park. It’s my guess that this just might have been the first Meskwaki melody played over this hallowed land since those earliest days of Johnson County. One of my friends, who was there with us on this eventful Dedication Day, told me she saw a beautiful hawk soaring over the park as Romeo played his flute. I will never forget this sacred day when the music returned to the land and all creation responded! Marty Boller “As I See It”
We heard some moving poetry – see below – from Dianna Penny – representing our friends at Bethel A.M.E. Church of Iowa City. Read more here.
Speaking about our vision of diversity across Johnson County were Adam Zabner and Rev. Mark Haack.
Next, we enjoyed some historic poetry from Iowa City’s own Dan Campion – who highlighted Oquawka, Illinois’ Sumner ‘Hawkeye’ Phelps (above left) – the fur-trader who came here in the early 1830’s – building a peaceful partnership with the Meskwaki tribe.
We closed the program with some rousing tunes by The Old Post Office Band. Kudos!
KCRG-TV was there. We are so thankful to TV-9 for coming out. Kudos as well to Dick Hakes of The Iowa City Press-Citizen, and Sabine Martin of The Daily Iowan for their articles that helped promote Remembrance Park.
Remembrance Park is listed at HMdb.org – The Historical Marker Database.
We want to express a BIG THANK YOU to all those who helped us make this day possible – our generous Johnson County farmer (who chooses to remain anonymous) for offering his land and his help with on-going maintenance, Jo Kelly – the 6th generation of Phelps family who brought – from Arkansas – a fine selection of family artifacts to share, Mary Bennett and The State Historical Society Research Center for hosting our Phelps display, Wayne Pushetonequa for providing the Meskwaki language phrase for Remembrance Park, Iowa River Products for the generous donation of the two Remembrance Park stones, The Johnson County Road Department for delivering the stones, Jo Myers-Walker for the beautiful artwork used in our promotional material, and the many individuals – too numerous to mention – who donated to this Dedication Ceremony project and helped us spread the word!
So now – Remembrance Park – Johnson County is open for visitors. May she live long! Read more here.
Kudos to the following folks for the photographs & videos used on this page…
Alisa Meggitt, Marilyn Yoder, Marybeth & Ken Slonneger, Sandy Boller & John Boller.