Meskwakie Traditions, Goldfield and Tama
Mary McBee was born and reared on a farm in Goldfield, in northern Iowa. She met Don Wanatee while they were both living in Iowa City. After marrying, the young couple moved to the Meskwaki Settlement near Tama, where they raised two children.
Mary, thanks to her openness and willingness to learn, acquired a great deal of knowledge about native Iowa prairie plants from her husband’s parents, Adeline and Frank Wanatee, as well as from other family members. While she ultimately ended up leaving the Settlement, Mary retained her interest in the natural environment, and reared her children to highly value their Meskwaki heritage. Mary and Don Wanatee’s daughter, Dawn Suzanne Wanatee, is involved in the Meskwaki Cultural Center and other activities on the settlement.