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Letter from Edgar Harlan to H.O. Bernbrock, April 30, 1932

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Courtesy of State Historical Society of Iowa, Harlan, Edgar, 30 April 1932


This document is a letter from from Iowa historian Edgar Harlan to Hon. H.O. Bernbrock of Waterloo. Harlan recounts his time on the Tama reservation and hearing about the hunger and poverty within the Meskwaki tribe. He then asks Bernbrock why members of the tribe are not receiving temporary relief from county funds, since they pay state and county taxes.  

Transcript of Edgar Harlan's Letter to H.O. Bernbrock

Source-Dependent Questions

  • How did Edgar Harlan describe the situation of some of those in the Meskwaki tribe?
  • Consider Harlan's argument statement: "One thing, for instance, that I do not yet see is that, since their lands are taxed for state and county purposes — I do not see why a poor Indian, the same as a poor white person, might not be admitted to county funds for temporary relief." Given the historical context, why were individuals not granted access to county funds?