Clark Lecture Series to feature ‘Squatters on Red Earth’

series muscatine

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The annual Muscatine Community College (MCC) Alexander Clark Lecture Series will highlight a piece of Iowa’s history focused on two communities with strong and different  spiritual beliefs.

“Squatters on Red Earth,” is a play that explores the relationship between the Amana Colonies and the Meskwaki Indigenous people. It will be performed at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Black Box Theatre at the college, 152 Colorado St. The performance is free and open to the public.

Clark Lecture Series
Mary Swander

The author, Mary Swander of Swander Woman Productions, will provide a talk-back at the conclusion of the performance. The play revolves around The Amana Inspirationists, who fled religious persecution in their homeland in Germany only to become part of the white settler land grab in the U.S. The Inspirationists sought land in the Iowa River Valley and encountered the Meskwakis and their long agricultural tradition. 

Meskwaki Settlement input

The two groups, both agrarian and communal with strong spiritual beliefs, managed to live together peacefully, with a mutual respect for the ecology and sacredness of the land. For years, the Inspirationists and the Meskwakis struggled to hold their center in the midst of capitalism and colonialization. 

The drama was written by Ms. Swander under the guidance of members of the Meskwaki Settlement. It was supported by grants from Anon Was a Woman (The New York Foundation for the Arts) and The Iowa Historical Society, Inc. 

This one-man touring show features actor Rip Russell and director Brant Bollman. Music was composed and performed by Laura Hudson Kittrell. Costumes were designed and created by Michele Payne Hinz. Set designer was Shelley Buffalo and puppet designer, Monica Leo.

This year’s Alexander Clark Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the Alexander Clark Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, and Indigenous Coalition of Muscatine.

Swander Woman Productions create – and tour – dramatic performances focused on food, farming, and the larger rural environment. Swander’s shows have been performed in over 80 venues in 15 states.  Learn more about Swander and this performance at

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