Amplifying Narratives of Connection
Shelley Buffalo lives on the Meskwaki Settlement with her two sons. The Meskwaki Settlement is Shelley’s home and community. “Wherever I may wander, my path winds back home to my community along the Iowa River. I’m drawn back again and again because this is where I belong and who I belong to. The Meskwaki culture formed me into who I am today. Some of that formation was harsh and some was loving. I may be middle aged now, yet I am still a child when it comes to my cultural education. Yet if there is one thing that I can do in my lifetime that is meaningful, it is to interrupt colonization by staying committed to my own Meskwaki cultural development. Everything I do and say is measured by what my elders have taught and continue to teach me.”
The Meskwaki are unique in that their land based community is a settlement, not a reservation. Established in 1857 with the purchase of 80 acres near Tama, Iowa, the Meskwaki Settlement has grown to over 8,600 acres. Here’s a link to learn more about the Meskwaki.
Connect with Shelley and find out more about her work:
Check out some samples of Shelley's work in the gallery on this page. Shelley says, “These paintings reflect my belief system centered in animism. These are reflections on the spiritual plane.” The first image is the painting Shelley references in her podcast episode.