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Historical Essay

The Trial of Chief Oshkosh

The Clash of U.S Law and Indian Legal Tradition

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

Learn about the tragic story of what happened when Ho-Chunk warrior Red Bird and three companions surrender themselves after killing settlers.

Read about Wisconsin's Indian tribes and their changing legal status throughout the 20th century.

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)

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)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Army jacket decorated with Native American beadwork worn by Chief Simon Onanguisse Kahquados of the Forest County Potawatomi. (Museum object #1943.330)

Read about the development of social and cultural institutions such as public schools, churches, colleges and universities and Indian mission schools.

Learn how epidemics erupted in Wisconsin and the ways communities responded

Discover the significant role that the Peace Pipe has played in a number of moments throughout Wisconsin's history.

Historical Essay

Early U.S. Settlement

Read how the end of the War of 1812 led to the establishment of American forts and increased exploration and settlement in the Wisconsin territory.

Historical Essay

Effigy Mounds Culture

Learn about the Effigy Mound communities which transformed Native American life in Wisconsin between 600 and 1000 AD.

Historical Essay

Ho-Chunk Hide Scraper

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Wooden handled hide scraper with steel blade made and used by Ho-Chunk Indians in Wisconsin in the early 20th century. (Museum object #1951.949)

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

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

Historical Essay

Frontier Clay Pipe Fragment

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Clay pipe bowl found at Sheard Road site, Racine County, Wisconsin. (Museum object #1998.236.249)

Discover how two Ojibwe chiefs traveled to Washington DC and negotiated with then-President Millard Fillmore to keep rights to their land.

Historical Essay

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

Read the amazing story of a man who watched his potential 10,000-square-mile northern Wisconsin empire disappear into thin air.

Historical Essay

First Peoples

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)

Read about the Woodland and Middle Mississippean Indian cultures that flourished at Trempealeau and Aztalan 1000 years ago.

Read how German Americans opposed Americanization and Native Americans opposed assimilation through English instruction in their schools.
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