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Curators' Favorites: Wisconsin Indians

Cast Iron Effigy Mound Model

Cast iron Wisconsin effigy mound model in the shape of a "trunk and arms of a man", designed by Increase A. Lapham, c. 1875. (Museum object #1975.8.12) Native American earthwork mounds were once a prominent feature of Wisconsin's landscape. It...
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Posted October 30, 2008



Native American Twilled Basket

Cherokee twilled basket, probably traded to Wisconsin, mid 19th century. (Museum object #1955.1021) Basketry is found across the world in different cultures and throughout much of human history. Pre-dating ceramics, it is one of the oldest known crafts, with its...
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Posted July 31, 2008



De Langlade Fur Trade Pouch

Quilled buckskin pouch used by Charles de Langlade to carry his fur trade papers in northern Wisconsin, mid to late 1700s. (Museum object #1955.186) This pouch, presented to the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1888 by Charles de Langlade Grignon, represents...
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Posted April 10, 2008



Ho-Chunk Hide Scraper

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) Hide scrapers have long been an essential tool for Native Americans living in Wisconsin and throughout the...
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Posted February 7, 2008



Paleo-Indian Fluted Spear Point

Early Paleo-Indian fluted spear point found in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and made between 12,000 B.C. and 8,000 B.C. (Museum object #1985.2) Humans have been living in what is now the state of Wisconsin for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence suggests...
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Posted January 3, 2008



Menominee Fancy Dance Bustle

Fancy dance back bustle made of dyed turkey feathers, Neopit, Wisconsin on the Menominee Reservation, c. 1982. (Museum object # 1982.48.8) For centuries, Indians across North America have held ceremonies celebrating warfare, successful hunts and harvests, marriages, births, animals, and...
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Posted November 1, 2007



Hopewellian Human Figurine

Human figurine fragment made of non-tempered, smoothed clay, c. 100 - 200 A.D., found at the Pine River site in Richland County, Wisconsin. (Museum object # 2004.5.1) From June to October 1998, archaeologists of Archaeological Research, Inc. of Middleton, Wisconsin...
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Posted May 3, 2007



Native American Courting Flute

Native American courting flute carved by Louis Webster, of Menominee, Stockbridge, Potawatomi and Oneida descent, 1994. (Museum object #1996.118.93) Once common among Wisconsin’s Woodland Indians, the use of traditional flutes began to decline in the late 1800s. Almost a century...
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Posted February 8, 2007



Mystery Pike from Interstate Park

Hammered copper pike from Interstate Park Bison site, Polk County, Wisconsin, c. 1000-4000 B.C. (Museum object #1956.3099) In October 1936, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workmen found a hammered copper pike during excavation of a peat deposit at Interstate Park in...
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Posted January 25, 2007



Potawatomi Beaded “Soldier Coat”

Army jacket decorated with Native American beadwork worn by Chief Simon Onanguisse Kahquados of the Forest County Potawatomi. (Museum object #1943.330) An elder spokesman for the Potawatomi Indians, Chief Simon Onanguisse Kahquados made a number of trips to Washington, D.C....
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Posted November 22, 2006



Wild Rice Threshing Machine

Improvised wild rice threshing machine used on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation, Wisconsin, c. 1990. (Museum object #1999.61.5) Harvested in the early autumn, wild rice has long been an important commodity to Native Americans, including the Ojibwe, who lived in...
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Posted October 5, 2006



Anti-spearfishing Concrete Walleye Decoy

Concrete walleye decoy purchased at PARR Rally in Minocqua, Wisconsin, April 15, 1989. (Museum object #1990.178.1) In the spring of 1989, tensions over Native American off-reservation spearfishing rights reached a boiling point in northern Wisconsin. Anti-spearfishing organizations encouraged the design...
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Posted May 18, 2006



Ojibwe Winter Spearfishing Decoy

Sturgeon decoy carved and painted by Ojibwe artist John V. Snow. (Museum Object #1996.118.106A-B) John V. Snow, a member of the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe, carved and painted this wooden spearfishing decoy to resemble a sturgeon. Ojibwe fishers use a...
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Posted January 19, 2006



Ho-Chunk Eagle Feather Dance Staff

Eagle feather dance staff used at 1933 World's Fair by Ho-Chunk dancers from the Wisconsin Dells. (Museum object #2001.49.1) A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation (formerly known as the Winnebago) carried this feather staff, or flag, during performances at the...
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Posted November 23, 2005



Native American Vietnam Veteran Pouch

Pouch obtained from an Oneida Indian at the 1997 Milwaukee River Front Pow-Wow. (Museum object #1999.40.1) Acquired from an Oneida Indian at a Pow-Wow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the bag shown at left represents the proud tradition of Native American military...
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Posted November 10, 2005



Ho-Chunk Beaded Reebok Baby Shoes

Reebok baby shoes beaded by Ho-Chunk artist Linda Lucero, c. 1990. (Museum object #1993.102A-B) Ho-Chunk artist Linda Lucero of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, modified this pair of Reebok baby shoes by attaching glass beads. Linda is a Ho-Chunk beadworker using...
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Posted October 6, 2005



Black Hawk War Powder Horn

Powder horn used by a member of Colonel Dodge's militia during the Black Hawk War, 1832. (Museum object #1947.851) An unknown member of Colonel Henry Dodge's militia carried this powder horn during the Black Hawk War during the spring and...
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Posted July 28, 2005



Oneota Ceramic Vessel

Decorated shell-tempered pot from the OT site (47-LC-0262), 1500-1625. (Museum object #1995.218.39) Museum Archaeology Program archaeologists of the Wisconsin Historical Society excavated this Native American pottery vessel from a site near La Crosse, Wisconsin in June 1989. The site is...
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Posted July 7, 2005



Birchbark Maple Sugar Container

Maple sugar container made by missionary Rosalie Dousman, mid-1800s. (Museum object #1969.419) This object celebrates the traditional Menominee springtime activity of making maple sugar. Made from birchbark and decorated with porcupine quills, this birchbark box, constructed to house sugar, was...
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Posted March 10, 2005



Ojibwe Presentation Pipe

Ojibwe pipe presented to Wisconsin territorial governor James Duane Doty, 1844. (Museum object #1955.399,A) Tay-che-gwi-au-nee, a member of an Ojibwe band from the south shore of Lake Superior, presented this pipe to Wisconsin's territorial governor James Duane Doty on behalf...
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Posted February 11, 2005



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