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Turning Points Features

"Why don't he go himself and live in such a fine country, where there is an abundance of everything?"

In Oct. 1848, the U.S. government held a council with the Menominee Nation at Lake Poygan, in Winnebago County, to try to persuade them to give up their Wisconsin homelands and relocate west of the Mississippi. Fur trader Louis Porlier was there, and recalled how Menominee leaders reacted to the government proposal in this short memoir. Although at the end of the day the Menominee agreed to move west, when they inspected the Minnesota land two years later they argued successfully that the U.S. had mis-represented it, and refused to go. In 1854, a subsequent treaty established their reservation on 276,480 acres around Keshena, Wis., where most Menominee make their homes today.

Porlier's memoir quotes at length from a famous elder named Souligny (1785-1864), who relates a speech that the famous Ottawa resistance leader Pontiac (ca. 1720-1769) gave in Milwaukee in 1763, when trying to enlist Wisconsin Indians in his war of resistance against white settlers.

For the Menominee view of these events and their role in Wisconsin history (as well as much more information), visit the Menominee Nation home page at

Many more documents and accounts of Indian-white relations in Wisconsin are at Turning Points pages on the following topics:
Arrival of the First Europeans
Colonialism Transforms Indian Life
The French Fur Trade
The Black Hawk War
Treaty Councils
Indians in the 20th Century

Posted August 26, 2005

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