Wisconsin Indians – Native Americans in Wisconsin History

The free online books and other resources below are about Wisconsin Indians, or Native Americans. See the right column for more info about this website.

“Early Days at Prairie du Chien, and the Winnebago Outbreak of 1827”

Wisconsin Historical Collections Volume V (1868) 123-153

Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Author UnknownGo to Article

This is one of several articles in this volume that describe the Winnebago Outbreak from several perspectives. This first article, which editor Lyman Draper believed was written by William J. Snelling, includes a description of the murder that touched off the outbreak. Related articles at this location are:

-“Indian Honor: An Incident of the Winnebago War”, pp 154-55. Newspaper article published in the Western Courier of Ravenna, Ohio, Feb 26, 1830.
-“Gen. Cass on the Winnebago Outbreak, 1827”, 156. From a speech by Lewis Cass in June 1855.
-“The Winnebago War of 1827”, pp 178-204. by Col. Thomas L. McKenney, describing the joint expedition of General Atkinson from Jefferson Barracks below St. Louis and Major Whistler from Ft. Howard on Green Bay to capture those who had committed murders at Prairie du Chien and prevent further attacks.

Winnebago Indians, Ho-chunk tribe, Winnebago War, free ebooks, Prairie du Chien Wisconsin, Native American history

Wisconsin Indians

“Indian Customs and Early Recollections”

Wisconsin Historical Collections Vol 9, 303-326, 1882

Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Baird, Elizabeth T.Go to Article

See the entry for the article by Elizabeth Baird, “Reminiscences of Early Days on Mackinac Island” on the Wisconsin Biographies and Memoirs page of this site for information about the author.

This article has several parts. Pages 303-316 are entirely about various Indian customs. On page 316 begins a small section describing Mackinac Island when Baird visited and lived there as a girl until 1824, and on page 319 begins reminiscences of Green Bay when she arrived in 1824. The last part is a description of an Indian massacre at Prairie du Chien in 1830.

Native American customs, Wisconsin Native Americans, Native American history, Green Bay Wisconsin history, online books

Menomini Texts

NY: Stechert 1928
Bloomfield, LeonardGo to Book

Relief to Indians in Wisconsin

Wisconsin: Public Welfare Department 1937
Briggs, Hazel F.Go to Book

This report emphasizes the State’s concern about the long-standing and growing dependency of Wisconsin’s population of 11,548 Indians on public relief.

Appeal of the Pottowatomie Nation of Indians to the Congress of the United States

Washington? 186-?
Delegates of the Pottowatomie NationGo to Book

Menominee Music

Washington: U.S. Govt. Printing Office 1932
Densmore, FrancesGo to Book

American Indian Resource Manual for Public Libraries

Madison: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction 1992
De Usabel, Frances and Roeber, Jane A., comp.Go to Book

“Indian Agriculture in Southern Wisconsin”

Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Vol 52, 1904, 145-155

Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Hibbard, Benjamin HoraceGo to Article

The Menomini Indians

Washington: Govt. Printing Office 1896
Hoffman, Walter JamesGo to Book

Ethnography of the Fox Indians

Jones, William Go to Book
DDC: 970.1

Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 12. Chapter headings are:

Traditional history
– Manitou
– Nature beliefs
– Medicine
– Color symbolism
– Witches, evil spirits, and ghosts
Daily life…
– Everyday life
– Costume
Social observances
– Marriage
– Divorce
– Birth customs
– Menstrual customs
– Mortuary customs
Social organization
– Fox gentes
– The dual division
– Political organization
– Crime and punishment
Ceremonies and games
– The sacred feast
– Feasts of thanksgiving
– Notes on gens feast dances
– Other ceremonies
– Ceremonial paraphernalia and related data
– Games
Bibliography of Jones’ publications
Appendix A.—Miscellaneous social data
Appendix B.—Genealogies
Appendix C.—Lists of gens names
Appendix D.—Ceremonial data

Fox tribe, Fox Indian customs, Native American life, ethnography, Native American tribes, ebooks online

“Sketch of Shau-be-na, a Pottawattamie Chief”

Wisconsin Historical Collections Volume VII (1876) pp 415-421

Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Matson, NehemiahGo to Article

This article consists of a number of stories that the author had heard from Chief Shau-be-na, who had been present at the massacre at Fort Dearborn, and also, as a close aide to Tecumseh, was present when Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames.

For more about prominent Native American leaders in the Old Northwest, see:
– Various books and articles on Tecumseh, The Prophet, Logan, Cornstalk, Bluejacket and Joseph Brant in Biographies & Memoirs in Great Lakes History
– Thwaites, Reuben Gold, “Logan, The Mingo Chief 1710-1780″ in Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History;
Cole, Cyrenus, I am a Man: the Indian Black Hawk in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Quaife, Milo Milton, ed., The Life of Black Hawk; Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Ellis, Edward S., The Life of Pontiac, the Conspirator, Chief of the Ottawas in Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes;
Turner, F. N. (Dr.), “Chief Okemos” in Native Americans in Michigan History;

Pottawattami tribe, Shabbona, Ottawa tribe, American Indian history, ebooks free, Chief Tecumseh, Battle of the Thames

Memoirs, Historical and Edifying, of a missionary apostolic of the order of Saint Dominic …

Chicago: Hall 1915
Mazzsuchelli, Samuel CharlesGo to Book

(title continued) ” …among various Indian tribes and among the Catholics and Protestants in the United States of America”

Born and educated in Milan, Italy, Samuel Mazzuchelli (1806-1864) began his American ministry in 1828 at Mackinac Island, a center of the fur trade. Building churches, organizing schools, and preaching in both French and English, he traveled the Mississippi and the Great Lakes over long distances and in all seasons. After 1839, he continued much of his work in Iowa as a vicar-general to the bishop of the newly-created see of Dubuque. Mazzuchelli eventually founded both a men’s college and a teaching convent, the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary, in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, and extended the Church’s outreach within Native American communities. In 1849, Mazzuchelli relinquished many of his administrative responsibilities to become the priest of the parish at Benton, Wisconsin, where he also served as director of the novitiate and school opened by the Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Rosary. Mazzuchelli’s Memoirs are divided into three sections: the first focuses upon missions among Native Americans and Canadians in Wisconsin and Michigan; the second deals with missions among Catholic and Protestant immigrants in the territories of Wisconsin and Iowa; and the third is a disquisition on the present and future state of Catholicism and Protestantism in the United States. Although spiritual matters are the principal concern, the memoirs also convey much about the Upper Midwest’s political life and early community institutions.
– Summary from American Memory site.

Father Mazzuchelli, Catholic Missionaries, Native American history, Sinsinawa Wisconsin, books online free

Wisconsin Indians

Sketches of a Tour to the Lakes, of the character and customs of the Chippeway Indians …

Baltimore: Fielding Lucas. 1827
McKenney, Thomas L. Go to Book

(title continued) “… and of incidents connected with the treaty of Fond du Lac. Also, a vocabulary of the Algic, or Chippeway language, formed in part, and as far as it goes, upon the basis of one furnished by the Hon. Albert Gallatin. Ornamented with twenty-nine engravings, of Lake Superior, and other scenery, Indian likenesses, costumes, &c.”

Thomas Loraine McKenney (1785-1859) was a Quaker who was appointed by President Madison in 1816 as the ‘Superintendent of the United States Indian Trade with the Indian Tribes’. He later served as the ‘Superintendent of Indian Affairs’, but was dismissed by President Andrew Jackson in 1830. McKenney was a strong advocate for educating Indians, and openly critical of the way they had been treated by the government. See his book, Memoirs, Official and Personal: with Sketches of Travels among the Northern and Southern Indians…, which can be found on the Great Lakes Native Americans page of this website along with three other books he authored.

Chippewa tribe, Ojibwe tribe, Indian customs, Algic language, Thomas McKenney, Great Lakes Native Americans, Wisconsin Native Americans

Menominee Indian Centennial; 1854-1954

Menominee Indian Centennial CommitteeGo to Book

Informational booklet about Menominee history, culture, Wisconsin reservations etc.

“First Iroquois Raid into Wisconsin 1653-55”

Memoire sur les Moeurs, coustumes et relligion des Sauvages de l’Amerique Septentrionale

Paris: 1864
Perrot, NicolasGo to Article

This excerpt and the next one called “The Ottawas and Hurons Flee to Wisconsin” provide information and background about where tribes were located in Wisconsin and that region when white settlement began.

Iroquois tribe, Ottawas, Wyandots, Huron Indians, Oddawa, Anishinabe, Wisconsin Native Americans, Native American history, American Indians

Wisconsin Indians

“The Ottawas and Hurons Flee to Wisconsin; Hostilities between them and the Sioux 1656-62”

Memoire sur les Moeurs, coustumes et relligion des Sauvages de l’Amerique Septentrionale

Paris: 1864
Perrot, NicolasGo to Article

See the note at the above entry, “First Iroquois Raid into Wisconsin 1653-55”.

Iroquois tribe, Ottawas, Wyandots, Huron Indians, Oddawa, Location of Wisconsin tribes, Wisconsin Native Americans, American Indians

The Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian

University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 1920
Radin, PaulGo to Book

The Influence of the Whites on Winnebago Culture

Madison: Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1913
Radin, Paul Go to Book

The Ritual and Significance of the Winnebago Medicine Dance

Journal of American Folklore 1911
Radin, PaulGo to Book

PhD dissertation submitted in the Philosophy department at Columbia University.

A Semi-Historical Account of the War of the Winnebago and Foxes

Madison: Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1914
Radin, PaulGo to Book

The Social Organization of the Winnebago Indians. An Interpretation

Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau 1915
Radin, PaulGo to Book

Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature

Baltimore: Waverly 1948
Radin, PaulGo to Book

“Sketches of Indian Chiefs and Pioneers of the North-West”

Wisconsin Historical Collections Vol X 1888 pp 213-222

Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Shaw, John (Col.)Go to Article

These were from personal reminiscences from before 1820 through the 1830s by Colonel Shaw, originally recorded in 1855. Black Hawk, La Feuille, Red Cloud and a number of other famous persons are recalled here.

See the resources on this site for: The Black Hawk War of 1832

Chief Black Hawk, La Feuille, Red Cloud, reminiscences, Wisconsin Native Americans, Wisconsin pioneers, online book

“The Indian Tribes of Wisconsin”

Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Vol 3, 125-138, 1857

Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Shea, John GilmaryGo to Article

The article, “…discusses the origin and early histories of local tribes, including Ainove, Atchatchakangouen, Fox, Huron, Illinois, Keinouch, Kickapoo, Kiskakon, Kitchigamick, Makoua, Makoueoue, Mascouten, Marameg, Menomonee, Miami, Mikissioua, Nantoue, Noquet, Oharaouatenon, Ottawa, Ottawa Sinago, Ouagoussak, Oneida, Pottawotomie, Sac, and Winnebago. Additional names and name variations are also provided as well as tribal relations with each other and Europeans.”
– From the article webpage description by the Society

Wisconsin tribes, Fox Indians, Huron Indians, Wyandots, Illinois Indians, Keinouch, Kickapoo tribe, Oneida, Sac tribe, Noquet, History of Native Americans

Wisconsin Indians

Material Culture of the Menomini

NY: Museum of the American Indian 1921
Skinner, AlansonGo to Book

Social Life and Ceremonial Bundles of the Menomini Indians

NY: American Museum of Natural History 1913
Skinner, AlansonGo to Book

“Some Wisconsin Indian Conveyances, 1793-1836”

Wisconsin Historical Collections Volume 15, 1-24, 1900

Madison: State Historical Society
Thwaites, Reuben Gold, ed.Go to Article

“The following deeds, leases, and treaties, executed by Wisconsin Indians prior to 1836 … are selected from the manuscripts in possession of this Society, or are copied from the books of the Brown County register of deeds, at Green Bay. These documents are instructive, as showing the methods of acquiring lands and privileges from the Indians, in pre-Territorial Wisconsin.”
– from the Preface

Indian treaties, land deeds, Wisconsin Native Americans, Brown county Wisconsin history, Green Bay Wisconsin, Wisconsin history

Condition of Indian Affairs in Wisconsin

Washington: Government Printing Office 1910
United States Senate Go to Book

(title continued) ” … Hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, on Senate Resolution no. 263″

“Starting in 1887, tribal lands were broken up and sold to individuals under a U.S. Indian policy known as “allotment”. In Wisconsin, allotment resulted in the loss of 174,785 acres of land formerly held by the tribes. In 1909, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs authorized an investigation led by Wisconsin Sen. Robert La Follette that held a series of hearings around the state in 1909 and 1910. The hearings called on Indians, Indian agents, state officials, and other concerned citizens to testify on the distribution of land and money. They offer considerable insight into conditions on Indian reservations as well as relations between Indians, the government, and white communities. They also preserve the actual words of many Wisconsin Indians as they described living conditions in the early 20th century.”
– Wisconsin Historical Society, “Turning Points in Wisconsin History” website

Survey of Conditions of the Indians in the United States

Washington: Government Printing Office 1929-30
United States Senate. Committee on Indian AffairsGo to Book

(title continued) ” … Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Indian Affairs, Part 5″

“… the Secretary of the Interior ordered an investigation into the consequences of the Dawes Act, and in 1928 its 160-page “Merriam Report” declared that allotment had been a disaster for Native American communities. Whites had acquired almost half of all Indian lands in the U.S., and poverty, disease, and anger had all skyrocketed on reservations.
“In 1928 the Senate ordered the new hearings excerpted here to figure out how to fix the situation. The hearings ultimately lasted for 15 years, filled 41 volumes, and totaled more than 20,000 pages. Part 5 is the testimony collected in Wisconsin in July of 1929. Indian and white informants appeared before the committee in Madison, Lac du Flambeau, and Hayward to discuss their lives; also included is testimony from Winnebago, Nebraska, where many Wisconsin Ho-Chunk people had close ties.
“In these 250 pages, Ojibwe, Menominee, Oneida, Ho-Chunk, and Potawatomi Indians from around Wisconsin describe in their own words living conditions, medical facilities, treaty rights, boarding schools, illegal logging, settling of claims, and a host of other issues.”
– Wisconsin Historical Society, “Turning Points in Wisconsin History” website

History of the Ojibway Nation

St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society 1885
Warren, William W.Go to Book

This volume (Vol. 5 in the “Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society”) contains three documents. The first is a memoir of William W. Warren by J. Fletcher Williams, the second is “History of the Ojibways, Based upon Traditions and Oral Statements” by Warren, and the third is “History of the Ojibways, and their Connection with Fur Traders, based upon Official and Other Records” by Edward D. Neill.

William Whipple Warren (1825 -1853) was the son of an American fur trader and a Metis mother; part French-Canadian and part Ojibway. William grew up among Ojibway on the Chippewa River in Wisconsin and became fluent in the language. He was sent east for several years for schooling, but upon his return to Wisconsin he re-established ties to the Ojibway and began collecting stories that were told around campfires.

Ojibwe tribe, Ojibwe history, Chippewa tribe, Fur trade, Wisconsin History, William Whipple Warren, First Nations, Native American Indian tribes

“The Mohegan Indians East and West”

Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association Vol X, 1918-1919, year, 440-53

Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association
Wood, George A.Go to Article

The Mohegan Indians, one of the Algonquin tribes, occupied after 1637 the area of eastern Connecticut. Most of this article provides a history of their legal struggles with the Connecticut colonial government for about 70 years during the 18th century, with the remnants of the tribe finally being forced to move west. As of 1909 the remnants of the tribe, less than 600 people, were living in a community in Shawano county, Wisconsin.

See other Wisconsin pages on this website for works about Native Americans, especially the pages entitled “Biographies & Memoirs”, “General History”, “Religion”, “Fiction”, and “War & Military”.


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