© 2023 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

"Moon Of The Snowblind" Is New Telling Of The History Of The Spirit Lake Massacre

Charity Nebbe

It was March of 1857. Iowans had endured a long, cold, harsh winter and as things were beginning to thaw there was violence on the frontier. Inkpaduta, and his band of Wahpekute Dakota attacked.

At least 39 white settlers, men, women and children, died in what became known as the Spirit Lake Massacre. Four women were taken captive, including young Abbie Gardner who later wrote about her ordeal.

For generations, we’ve been telling and teaching this story in a very one-sided way. A new graphic novel by Cedar Falls artist Gary Kelley called, “Moon of the Snow Blind,” illuminates both sides of this tragic event and gives us a fuller understanding of our history.

Host Charity Nebbe talks with Kelley on this edition of Talk of Iowa.


  • Gary Kelley, author and illustrator, "Moon Of The Snowblind"
  • Kevin Mason, assistant professor of history, Waldorf University
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River