The Menominee Historic Preservation Department has always wanted to write an accurate history of the Menominee people. Our chance to accomplish this task came about with the State of Wisconsin's Sesquicentennial. The Historic Preservation Department applied for a grant through the State of Wisconsin Humanities Council and submitted a proposal known as the "Menominee Tribal History Guide Project". We were successful in obtaining this grant and quickly pursued our goal. The Menominee Tribal History Guide is a compilation of historical and cultural facts and photographs taken from historical documents, manuscripts, journals and interviews with our own tribal elders and tribal members. Although Wisconsin was celebrating its 150th anniversary or Sesquicentennial, we felt we should begin with our tribe's creation and origin. The Menominee Tribe's history is unique because our origin or creation begins at the mouth of the Menominee River, a mere 60 miles east of our present Menominee Indian Reservation.
This is where our five clans: ancestral Bear, Eagle, Wolf, Moose, and Crane were created. Not many tribes in this region can attest to a fact their origin place exists close or near to their present reservation. This is where our history begins.
The Menominee occupied a vast territory, over 10 million acres of land, of what is now Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Menominee Dreamers foresaw the coming of a light skinned people in large boats that would come into the bay of Green Bay and change our lives forever. This prophesy came true in 1634 when the French explorer Jean Nicolet arrived at Green Bay (La Baye). Nicolet was looking for a route to the East. Soon after Nicolet's arrival, the Menominee would become involved in a fur trade and a once independent people would now become dependent upon trade goods and a new way of life.
The Menominee have survived for over 10,000 years of existence in this area, and are indigenous to the State of Wisconsin. We have managed to keep a fraction of our ancestral territory for a home which is now our reservation. We continue to have strong leadership and it was this type of leadership that has taken us through much adversity. We continue to speak our language and practice our traditions and our traditional religion. Spiritually, we continue to speak with our creator through tobacco, prayers, and other offerings. We will continue to survive because we are a sovereign nation, a nation that refused to be pushed from our territory, a nation that will remain strong and independent.
The Menominee People were intregal in Wisconsin becoming a state. We have had hundreds of Sesquicentennials. We gave up lands through agreements called Treaties and in the 1848 treaty, we refused to leave what would become Wisconsin our ancestral home. This is our story. We will remain Menominee until our language is no longer spoken. We are "Kiash Matchitiwuk" the Ancient Ones.