The Stockbridge-Munsee Constitution, 1857
Articles of Union and Confederation of the Stockbridge and Munsee Tribe, January 6th, 1857
The Stockbridge Indians who came to Wisconsin in the 1820s settled near modern Kaukauna, but they were forced in 1832-1834 to give up their homes and relocate to the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, where they were joined by a number of dispossed Munsee Indians. There, in 1843, the U.S. government offered residents a chance to become U.S. citizens and own their own property, or remain within the tribe; this split the community into a Citizens Party, who accepted the offer, and an Indian Party, who preferred to retain their tribal status. Some of the Indian Party even left Wisconsin for a reservation west of the Mississippi, and precisely which people were entitled to benefits under the treaties, and which were not, divided the Stockbridge-Munsee for the next several decades.
In 1856 a new treaty was negotiated between the U.S. government and the Stockbridge-Munsee which relocated them again, this time to forested lands adjacent to the Menominee reservation near Bowler, Wis. The document given here is the constitution that the Stockbridge-Munsee wrote at the time they signed the 1856 treaty and moved north in 1857. This copy was printed for use of tribal members in 1871, when the government passed a law that put much of their timber lands on the market for white lumber companies to purchase.