Greg Olson

About the Speaker

Greg Olson was the curator of exhibits and special projects at the Missouri State Archives for nineteen years. He is the author of two books published by the University of Missouri Press. One of these titles, The Ioway in Missouri, won the Missouri Humanities Council’s Governor’s Humanities Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement. Olson has also published three biographies in the Notable Missourians series for upper-level elementary school students with Truman State University Press. His most recent book, Ioway Life: Reservation and Reform, 1837–1860, was named a Kansas Notable Book in 2017.

Great Walker: Ioway Leader

Along with his adopted Ioway brother White Cloud, Great Walker signed the Treaty of 1824, which ceded the northern portion of Missouri to the United States. Great Walker (also known as Big Neck) became so distraught about his role in the land cession that he left his people and the land the government had set aside for them to live north of the Missouri border. Later, he and some of his followers were tried in Randolph County for an 1829 skirmish in which four white militiamen and two Ioways died. The jury acquitted Great Walker because they believed the militiamen had provoked the battle.

Jeffrey Deroine: Ioway Translator, Frontier Diplomat

Deroine (1806–1859) was a slave who unsuccessfully sued his owner Joseph Robidioux for freedom. The Ioway nation bought his freedom so that he could work for them as an interrupter. This job took Deroine to Europe for two years with a delegation of Ioways. Deroine became one of the few African Americans to own property in Holt County and in the city of St. Joseph.