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How Native Life was Transformed

Discover how white contact disrupted and transformed Indian life in Wisconsin in the 17th and 18th centuries.

When the Beaver was King

Discover how beavers transformed Wisconsin's economy in the 1650s for the next two centuries.

From Sacred Calumets to Ashtrays

Discover the important role that tobacco and the Peace Pipe have played throughout Wisconsin's history.

Historical Essay

Hopewellian Human Figurine

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Human figurine fragment made of non-tempered, smoothed clay, c. 100 - 200 A.D., found at Pine River site, Richland County, WI (Museum object #2004.5.1)

Historical Essay

The Iroquois Wars

New Tribes Brought to Wisconsin by French Commerce

Learn how contact with Europeans, the fur trade and warfare among their tribes drove many Indians to the Wisconsin territory in the 17th century.

An Unreliable Text and Other Evidence

Wisconsin History books teach that Jean Nicolet was the first white person to reach the state, but he may have been the second.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Cherokee twilled basket, probably traded to Wisconsin, mid 19th century. (Museum object #1955.1021)

Historical Essay

Menominee Fancy Dance Bustle

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Fancy dance back bustle made of dyed turkey feathers, Neopit, Wisconsin on the Menominee Reservation, c. 1982. (Museum object # 1982.48.8)

Historical Essay

First Peoples

The History of Paleo-Indians in Wisconsin

Learn about the Paleo-Indians who first inhabited the Wisconsin territory and the archaeological excavations that have revealed their culture.

Historical Essay

Oneota Ceramic Vessel

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Decorated shell-tempered pot from the OT site (47-LC-0262), 1500-1625. (Museum object #1995.218.39)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Hammered copper pike from Interstate Park Bison site, Polk County, Wisconsin, c. 1000-4000 B.C. (Museum object #1956.3099)

Chief of the Sauk Indians

Biography of Indian war chief Black Hawk

A Brief Introduction to Ojibwe Bands of Lake Superior Chippewa

Read about the six bands of Wisconsin Lake Superior Chippewa. Learn more on each band's website about their history, culture, and more.

Learn how epidemics erupted in Wisconsin and the ways communities responded

Evidence of First Feasts

Take a look at some first hand accounts of the ways Native Americans of Wisconsin celebrated their own Thanksgiving ceremonies.

Historical Essay

The Trial of Chief Oshkosh

The Clash of U.S Law and Indian Legal Tradition

Learn how the trial of Menominee Chief Oshkosh, one of the most famous in Wisconsin history, pitted Indian traditional justice against white man's law.

Historical Essay

Cadotte, Michael, 1764-1837

Pioneer Fur Trader

Brief biography of pioneer fur trader Michael Cadotte.

Historical Essay

Quinney, John W. (1797-1855)

Indian Sachem and Leader

Biography of Stockbridge Indian sachem John Quinney who helped secure full-value payment for their land and organized their removal to Wisconsin.

The Genesis of Modern Wisconsin

Discovery the history of the Woodland and Middle Mississippean Indian cultures and their relationship to modern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Sturgeon decoy carved and painted by Ojibwe artist John V. Snow. (Museum Object #1996.118.106A-B)
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