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Wisconsin Native American Tribes – Free Books & Articles

Wisconsin Native American Tribes - Free Books & Articles

This webpage has links to free online books and articles, with descriptions, about Native Americans in Wisconsin, Past & Present.  Topics include:

Histories of Wisconsin tribes, including the Ho-Chunk or Winnebago, Pottawatomie, Ojibwa, Menominee, Chippewa, Oneida, Fox,
Ethnographic studies of Wisconsin tribes,
Profiles of prominent individuals
Treaties and legal conveyances transferring land to the U.S. and Wisconsin governments,
Living conditions on reservations,
Christian missions among Indian tribes,
Archeological studies of prehistoric sites.

Wisconsin Indians Collection

Free online books on the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Wisconsin Indians”. Some titles are: Wisconsin Indians, Prehistoric Indians of Wisconsin, Introduction to Wisconsin Indians, The Dells of the Wisconsin River : Indians, history, Native people of Wisconsin, Chief Daniel Bread and the Oneida nation of Indians of Wisconsin, The dream dance of the Chippewa and Menominee Indians of northern Wisconsin, The Ojibwe of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, Indian mounds of Wisconsin, The Potawatomi of Wisconsin, Indian nations of Wisconsin : histories of endurance and renewal, Dreaming history : a collection of Wisconsin native-American writing, The Menominee, Oneida, Prehistory of the Aishihik-Kluane area, southwest Yukon territory, The Menominee, The Chippewas of Lake Superior, Ojibwa religion and the Midéwiwin, Kitchi-Gami : life among the Lake Superior Ojibway.
Native American tribes in Wisconsin.

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

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

Wisconsin Historical Collections Volume V (1868) 123-153

Author Unknown
Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin

This is one of several articles in this volume that describe the Winnebago Outbreak from several perspectives. Note that members of the Winnebago tribe commonly refer to the tribe as the Ho-Chunk Nation, and the “Winnebago Outbreak” is usually known either as the “Winnebago War” or the “Winnebago Uprising”. 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. Wisconsin Native American history.

“Indian Customs and Early Recollections”

Wisconsin Historical Collections Vol 9, 303-326, 1882

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

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. Wisconsin Native Americans.

The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway

Benton-Banai, Edward
Indian Country 1988

Author Edward Benton-Banai “achieved a long-standing ambition to set down the oral history of the Ojibway Nation with the publication of The Mishomis Book, which is a representation of the life he lived as a youth within the family circle. He was very fortunate to have the companionship of tribal elders who possessed the memories and inherent wisdom of the Ojibway Nation and who carefully treasured and prserved these ancient traditions upon which this book is based”. -Book cover

Indian Mounds of Wisconsin

Birmingham, Robert A. and Eisenberg, Leslie E.
University of Wisconsin 2000

Aztalan: Mysteries of an Ancient Indian Town

Birmingham, Robert A. and Goldstein, Lynn G.
Wisconsin Historical Society 2005

Menomini Texts

Bloomfield, Leonard
NY: Stechert 1928

Volume XII of the series “Publications of the American Ethnological Society”, edited by Franz Boas. This is an anthropological study of the Menominee tribe, consisting of “a series of 122 texts, recorded from dictation in the summers of 1920 and 1921, in the language of the Menomini Indians of Wisconsin”. Texts are divided among the following seven sections:

Everyday Life
Prayers and Sermons
Sacred Stories: The Culture Hero
Sacred Stories
Tales of European Origin

Relief to Indians in Wisconsin

Briggs, Hazel F.
Wisconsin: Public Welfare Department 1937

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.

The Chippewas of Lake Superior

Danziger, Edmund Jefferson, Jr.
University of Oklahoma 1978

“This book tells the story of the Chippewa Indians in the regions around Lake Superior – the fabled land of Kitchigami. It tells of their woodland life, the momentous impact of three centuries of European and American societies on their culture, and how the retention of their tribal identity and traditions proved such a source of strength for the Chippewas that the federal government finally abandoned its policy of coercive assimilation of the tribe.” – Book cover

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

Delegates of the Pottowatomie Nation
Washington? 186-?

Menominee Music

Densmore, Frances
Washington: U.S. Govt. Printing Office 1932

Chief Daniel Bread and the Oneida Nation of Indians of Wisconsin

Hauptman, Laurence M.
University of Oklahoma 2002

“Indian Agriculture in Southern Wisconsin”

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

Hibbard, Benjamin Horace
Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin

The Menomini Indians

Hoffman, Walter James
Washington: Govt. Printing Office 1896

“Extract from the fourteenth annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology”. Some of the subjects covered in this 300-page book are: tribal government, totems and chiefs; cult societies, mythology, folk tales, mortuary customs, games and dances, architecture, furniture and implements, products of manufacture, hunting and fishing, food, canoes, vocabulary. The vocabulary section contains a Menomini-English and English-Menominee dictionary.

Ethnography of the Fox Indians

Jones, William
DDC: 970.1

Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 12. Some of the topics included in this study are: daily life, costume, marriage, divorce, birth customs, social organization, Fox gentes, political organization, crime and punishment, ceremonies and games, sacred feasts, ceremonial paraphernalia.

Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal

Loew, Patty
Wisconsin Historical Society 2001

“From origin stories to contemporary struggles over treaty rights and sovereignty issues, ‘Indian Nations of Wisconsin’ explores Wisconsin’s rich Native tradition. This unique volume – based on the historical perspectives of the state’s Native peoples – includes compact tribal histories of the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Oneida, Menominee, Mohican, Ho-Chunk, and Brothertown Indians. Author Patty Loew focuses on oral tradition – stories, songs, the recorded words of Indian treaty negotiators, and interviews – along with other untapped Native sources, such as tribal newspapers, to present a distinctly different view of history.” -Book cover

Wisconsin Indians

Lurie, Nancy Oestreich
State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1980        Dewey Dec.    973.91

The author was Head Curator of Anthropology at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Contents: Overview – Wisconsin Indian lands – Federal Indian policy – Reservation administration – The twentieth century – The Menominee struggle – The Ojibwa – The Milwaukee scene – The issue of treaties – Reference material

Introduction to Wisconsin Indians: Prehistory to Statehood

Mason, Carol I.
Sheffield 1988       

Contents: Wisconsin land and people – Prehistoric prelude: archaeology – Wisconsin Indians of the 17th and 18th centuries – Ways of making a living – material culture – Indship and political organization – Religion and religious life – The fur trade – Land dispossessions in the 19th century – Works cited

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

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

Matson, Nehemiah
Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin

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;

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

among various Indian tribes and among the Catholics and Protestants in the United States of America

Mazzsuchelli, Samuel Charles
Chicago: Hall 1915

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.

See our Woodworking Books PDF

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

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.

McKenney, Thomas L.
Baltimore: Fielding Lucas. 1827

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.

Menominee Indian Centennial; 1854-1954

Menominee Indian Centennial Committee

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

The Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian

Radin, Paul
University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 1920

The Menominee

Ourada, Patricia K.
NY: Chelsea House 1990

Examines the culture, history, and changing fortunes of the Menominee Indians.

The Influence of the Whites on Winnebago Culture

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

Note that the Wisconsin tribe of Winnebago Indians is known as the Ho-Chunk Nation.

The Ritual and Significance of the Winnebago Medicine Dance

Radin, Paul
Journal of American Folklore 1911

PhD dissertation submitted in the Philosophy department at Columbia University.

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

Radin, Paul
Madison: Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1914

The Social Organization of the Winnebago Indians. An Interpretation

Radin, Paul
Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau 1915

Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature

Radin, Paul
Baltimore: Waverly 1948

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

Wisconsin Historical Collections Vol X 1888 pp 213-222

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

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

“The Indian Tribes of Wisconsin”

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

Shea, John Gilmary
Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin

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

Material Culture of the Menomini

Skinner, Alanson
NY: Museum of the American Indian 1921

Social Life and Ceremonial Bundles of the Menomini Indians

Skinner, Alanson
NY: American Museum of Natural History 1913

“Some Wisconsin Indian Conveyances, 1793-1836”

Wisconsin Historical Collections Volume 15, 1-24, 1900

Thwaites, Reuben Gold, ed.
Madison: State Historical Society

“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

Charles Langlade in the French and Indian War

Trap, Paul M.
Western Michigan University 1980       

Langlade is also known as Charles de Langlade. Master’s Thesis. Abstract: “At the time when North America was “being torn by conflict for control of the continent, Charles-Michel Mouet de Xanglade became one of the most important Indian leaders in the Old Northwest. During the French and Indian War he led parties of Indian warriors in most of the major campaigns of the war, from the first fighting at Pickawillany to the French capitulation at Montreal in I760. Xanglade’s Indians were typical of most Indian war-parties, both impairing the French cause by their atrocities and inappropriate actions and providing badly needed support in crucial situations.
This paper describes Xanglade’s actions during the North American phase of the Seven Years’ War and examines the controversy over his possible role in the defeat of General Edward Braddock at Fort Duquesne.”

Condition of Indian Affairs in Wisconsin

Hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, on Senate Resolution no. 263

United States Senate
Washington: Government Printing Office 1910

“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

Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Indian Affairs, Part 5

United States Senate. Committee on Indian Affairs
Washington: Government Printing Office 1929-30

“… 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

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

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 (also Ojibwe, Ojibwa). 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.

“The Mohegan Indians East and West”

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

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

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.

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