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Voices of the Oneidas in Wisconsin


Oneida lacemakers in the early 1900s (image courtesy of the Oneida Nation Museum)

In this just-released hardcover volume from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, the Oneidas of Wisconsin tell their own story in a richly diverse contemporary history. "A Nation within a Nation: Voices of the Oneidas in Wisconsin" gathers first-person accounts, biographical essays and scholars' investigations focusing on the period of 1900-1969.

Fighting for Land and Identity

The cover of "A Nation within a Nation"

In the wake of removal from their native New York, the Oneida people settled near what is now Green Bay, on 65,000 acres of commonly held land. But in 1887 the Dawes Act paved the way for a devastating break-up of the reservation, and within a lifetime the Oneidas saw their land holdings plummet to fewer than 200 acres. Throughout struggles with poverty, oppression and governmental interference and assimilationism, Wisconsin Oneidas remained connected as a community and true to their Iroquois roots. They also refused to relinquish their dream of reclaiming their land, and in recent years have not only stopped the land loss, but have begun to reverse it.

A Community Speaks

Editors L. Gordon McLester III and Laurence M. Hauptman show how Wisconsin Oneida leadership has helped to shape history — not only for Native Americans, but for Wisconsin and the United States. A story of survival and of the Native American quest for recognition of sovereignty, "A Nation within a Nation" is community history at its best.

:: Posted December 2, 2010

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