The Ho-Chunk recall 18th-century battles with the Meskwaki (Fox).

A Semi-Historical Account of the War of the Winnebago and the Foxes


Wisconsin Indians preserved their history the same way the ancient Greeks preserved Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: in a carefully maintained oral tradition. Around campfires on starry summer nights and inside lodges during long winter ones, they made sure that each new generation understood and could recite their heritage. The document linked below is a Ho-Chunk oral tradition describing some of their military engagements with the rival Meskwaki (Fox) during the 18th century. It was passed generation to generation for nearly 200 years before tribal stewards decided to share it in 1908 with anthropologist Paul Radin. Each paragraph is first given in Ho-Chunk, as transcribed by Radin, followed by its English translation. This is one of several works in or about American Indian languages to be found at Turning Points in Wisconsin History. Readers should note that this is a historical document rather than a modern one, and that it was produced by a white observer rather than a native speaker; students wishing to study the language should rely on materials produced by the tribal language office.



Related Topics: Explorers, Traders, and Settlers
Colonialism Transforms Indian Life
Creator: Radin, Paul, editor
Pub Data: Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Oct. 22, 1914 (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1915): 192-207
Citation: Radin, Paul, ed. "A Semi-Historical Account of the War of the Winnebago and the Foxes" in Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Oct. 22, 1914 (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1915): 192-207. Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=18; Visited on: 9/1/2014
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