The Menomini Indians of Wisconsin: A Study of Three Centuries of Cultural Contact and Change

By Felix M. Keesing | Go to book overview

VI. WHITE PRESSURE AND PASSING LANDS

In the two decades to 1852 the Menomini lands passed into the hands of incoming whites, and the tribesfolk were removed to a "reservation" in the stony swamp-lands of the northern wilderness, there to be subjected to the civilizing process. This experience was sharp and dramatic; not without reason it is a portion of Menomini history still much recalled and of great interest to them. All that has happened since to the tribe was only a further development of the situation created in these crucial years.

Between 1830 and 1850 the white population of the present Wisconsin grew from some four thousand to over three hundred thousand. At first such newcomers consisted mainly of miners and lumbermen, "prairie settlers" from the eastern states of America, and various business and professional pioneers. But after 1846 great numbers of farmers arrived, a large proportion of whom were immigrants from Europe, particularly from Germany, Ireland, England and Scandinavia; the Indian was indeed to have the experience of meeting with white culture in all its heterogeneous types.

In 1836 a territory of Wisconsin was created. The first legislative assembly met with the characteristic clamor of frontier politics centered on the question of a site for the new capital. Green Bay clearly had the strongest claims in terms of its historical background and of numbers. But it was passed over in favor of the future Madison, then a mere paper town, because of the central position of the latter between the Bay and its rival industrial center growing up around the lead mines. This choice of a capital well to the south of Green Bay is significant, too, because it implied that the water route of the upper lakes over which for two centuries the furtrader, soldier and Jesuit had travelled was now losing its importance. Communications and settlement were from henceforth mainly to come overland from the east, passing south of lake Michigan. For the Menomini this

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The Menomini Indians of Wisconsin: A Study of Three Centuries of Cultural Contact and Change
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society i
  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Abstract ix
  • Note on Terminology xi
  • Introductory 1
  • I. the Menomini and Their Neighbors 6
  • Ii. the Old Time Menomini 18
  • Iii. the Period of French Ascendancy 53
  • V. After Two Centuries of Change 102
  • Vi. White Pressure and Passing Lands 127
  • Vii. the First Reservation Experiments 148
  • Viii. Progress in Wardship 170
  • Ix. Ethnological and Museum Data 194
  • X. Recent Times 222
  • Xi a Review 244
  • Bibliography 249
  • Index 255
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