Research, education, and outreach represent the three-prong approach to the university's land-grant mission. As part of that mission, Iowa State University is sharing its knowledge with residents of the Meskwaki Nation in Tama, Iowa.
, also known as the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, is the only federally recognized Native American tribe in Iowa. The tribe enrolls about 1,300 members, including about 800 who live on the 8,000-acre settlement in Tama County. The community is home to rich Native American culture, traditions, and values. The tribe has its own regalia, arts, and crafts. Many elders still speak the Meskwaki language and are working to teach the language to the very young through an immersion program.
Bartholomae focuses on teaching in
Iowa's only financial counseling and planning program
; supporting the work of 11 human sciences specialists across the state; and conducting research related to financial education and socialization, as well as financial education program evaluation.
One of those human sciences specialists, Jeannette Mukayisire, works with a dozen counties in northeast Iowa, and is building the relationship between Iowa State and the Meskwaki.
Over the past year, Mukayisire has attended monthly gatherings to get to know some of the residents. After identifying some of the tribe's needs, she began running possible financial education programming past the tribal council to make sure the material was culturally appropriate and aligned with the tribe's values. The co-creation follows best practices for effectiveness in community development and education.
"I like research, but I want it to be applicable to people's lives,"
For example, Mukayisire learned that death and dying are usually not talked about in the Meskwaki Nation. The Finances of Caregiving class explores how to plan for when someone passes away by offering helpful tools for gathering legal documents. Additionally, the class provides participants with research-based information on planning for retirement and the cost of long-term care. The five-week class not only helps people plan ahead, but also helps them protect their own financial future.
Linda Tyon, a mother of three and grandmother of 12, was among those attending the Finances of Caregiving class. She lost her 93-year-old mother three years ago. She said the class provides the kind of information people should record about bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, powers of attorney, and wills. It also helps people to organize their papers, credits, and bills, so surviving family members can take care of business in a timely and orderly way.
Mukayisire also teaches children ages 12 to 18 using research-based information in the High School Financial Planning Program, which covers money management, borrowing, earning power, investing, financial services, and insurance.
In addition, Mukayisire offers a Your Money, Your Future workshop to help Meskwaki residents live within their means and meet their financial goals. The workshop assists in developing spending plans, accessing credit history, selecting a financial institution, and understanding how credit cards work.
"Stress around money keeps people up at night - it has physical implications," Bartholomae said. "It impacts family life, parenting, and relationships."
The education that Bartholomae, Mukayisire, and other human sciences specialists provide contributes to people's empowerment, security, and independence.
Iowa State University is working to develop a stronger partnership with the Meskwaki Nation as the university carries on its land-grant mission of serving all Iowans.
Jeannette Mukayisire (far right) provides financial education classes to residents of the Meskwaki Nation. Contributed photo.