Indigenous Peoples

Teran Powell

With street names like Winnebago and villages such as Mukwonago, there's no denying the historical presence of Native Americans in Wisconsin.

That spurred one of our listeners to reach out to Beats Me:

"What groups of Indigenous people lived in southeastern Wisconsin?"

We're going to answer that question. But we're also going to explore the importance of not just talking in the past tense when it comes to Native Americans.

Teran Powell

Pow wows date back hundreds of years. These celebrations of native culture and traditions bring native people together to sing, dance and drum in honor of their heritage.

The tradition continues right here in Milwaukee, and they're not just for native people to enjoy.

I went to the 15th Annual Hunting Moon Pow Wow that took place recently at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. It's a three-day competition that includes dancing, drumming and singing.

Paul Higgins / Milwaukee Magazine

Architect and UWM professor Chris Cornelius sees architecture as a production of culture and the backdrop of our lives. An enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, his work focuses on his American Indian roots and how cities act as a built environment with its architecture.

Teran Powell

Gov. Tony Evers has declared the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day in Wisconsin — the day federally recognized as Columbus Day. The state joins a growing list of others, such as Minnesota and New Mexico, that have chosen to celebrate native peoples instead.

Courtesy of Milwaukee Magazine

Native American tribes have been living in Wisconsin for tens of thousands of years, but much has changed since they first settled in this area. Through decades of forced assimiliation into white-American culture, Native American cultures were suppressed.

Screenshot/WisconsinEye

The chairman of the Oneida Nation called on the state Tuesday to work with Wisconsin's tribes in addressing climate change, Indian mascots and the opioid crisis. Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill spoke to a crowd that included both houses of the Legislature, Gov. Tony Evers and members of the state Supreme Court.

Hill says conditions have improved for Wisconsin tribes in some areas — including unemployment and household income since the last U.S. census was taken. But he says, tribal members continue to struggle with opioid addiction, and it's taking a toll.

Teran Powell

The presence of Native American people in Wisconsin dates back thousands of years — before any of us knew America's Dairyland to be what it is today. But as the population decreased, so did the prevalence of its languages.

However, places like the Indian Community School (ICS) in Franklin, Wis., are continuing to move the culture forward and keep the languages current with biweekly language courses.

Bonnie North

Native American art has not often been characterized as such by the non-Native American world. From intricately-beaded clothing to ceramics to jewelry, the artworks that native peoples here created, and continue to create, are often found in the craft or perhaps the folk art areas of museum exhibitions. 

Wisconsin Historical Society

There’s a creative new way for Native American students to learn about their culture thanks to a coloring book series on Ojibwe traditions, which is by a Wisconsin author. Writer and illustrator Cassie Brown hopes her coloring book will prevent Native American kids from experiencing what she did.

Brown grew up in the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe Community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She says she never saw much representation of American Indian culture in her schools — and it was painful.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Flickr

When you look at a map of Wisconsin, it’s covered in names that remind us of this country’s original inhabitants. Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Waukesha, Kinnickinnic — all words derived from Native American languages.

Another is Oconomowoc, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. This week’s Bubbler Talk questioner, Jeff Dittel, moved there about two and a half years ago.

When Star Ames was a child there was a flood. The streets were like rivers and the houses like islands. It was 1960 and the village of Odanah, Wis. was up to its neck.

The town had been built on the banks of the Bad River, in the floodplain. "I remember watching the river come up," Ames says. "Every place we thought was high enough, the water kept coming up."

A major event on the world sports stage is happening right now.  38 countries, from Australia to the United States to Romania are represented.  We are not, however, talking about the Winter Olympics.  The Roller Derby World Cup is going on right now in Manchester, in the United Kingdom. 

Jacob Cimino, flickr

There is disagreement in Wisconsin over how to handle some Native American burial mounds. At odds are tribal representatives and business owners.

For months, a special state panel has been working on legislation to make everyone happy. Committee members submitted their final votes on Friday.

Ed Bierman / Flickr

Marquette University just launched the Josiah A. Powless Scholarship - a fund that will help Native American students and other underrepresented minorities afford tuition at the prestigious university.

But according to Marquette Provost, Dr. Daniel Meyers, the fund is also symbolic of Marquette’s dedication to creating a more welcoming campus.

Wisconsin History Press

    

The Potawotomi tribe recently announced it has dropped the word "bingo" from its casino complex in Milwaukee, which will soon include a hotel. 

While gambling is a huge industry for several Native American tribes in Wisconsin, it was bingo that for years was the heart of Indian gaming here.  And its origins had relatively modest goals. 

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