Jean Adeline Morgan Wanatee


"Adeline Wanatee is a remarkable woman, a credit to the Mesquakie people and to her gender." —Mary Beth Schroeder Fracek, 1993

Jean Adeline Morgan Wanatee was born in 1910 on the Meskwaki Indian Settlement in Tama. She is a member of the peaceful Wolf Clan. As a child, she attended the Sac and Fox Day School in Tama, the Flandreau Indian School in South Dakota and then, in the 8th grade, returned to Iowa to attend Tama Public Schools. In her late teens, Wanatee worked two years at the Toledo Sanatorium and later at the Sac and Fox Day School. Wanatee and her husband raised seven children on the settlement. Over the years, she became a role model and advocate on the state and national level for the rights of women. She is a Meskwaki language specialist and resource for the Smithsonian Institute. Wanatee has served on the Governor's Advisory Committee and was a member of the Iowa Arts Council's "artist-in-the-schools" program. She also chaired the local Meskwaki School Board and was the first woman representative on the local pow-wow association. Nationally, Wanatee was the first woman elected to the Meskwaki Tribal Council, serving two four-year terms. When asked what she would like people to know about her, Wanatee replied, "Where I came from, I am proud that my people never left Iowa, never became prisoners. They are the reason I want to help."She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.