Menominee Indians

Meaning “Wild Rice Men,” because they lived largely upon the wild rice of the lakes in and near their country. Hence the French “Nation de la Folle Avoine,” and English “Wild Rice Men.” Also called:

  • Addle-Heads, a misinterpretation of Folles Avoines.
  • Omanomini, Chippewa name.
  • White Indians, so given by Long (in Keating, 1824).

Menominee Connections. The Menominee belonged to the Algonquian linguistic family and to the same section as the Cree and Foxes.

Menominee Location. On and near the Menominee River, Wisconsin. (See also Michigan.)

Menominee Villages

(As given by Skinner, 1921)

  • Kaka’pa’kato’ Wini’niwûk, “Barricade Falls people,” at Keshena Falls of Wolf River.
  • Kakä’nikone Tusi’-niniwflg, “Portage people,” at Portage, Wisconsin.
  • Kipisa’`kia Wini’wiwûk, “River Mouth people,” at Prairie du Chien.
  • Mani’towûk Tusi’niniwûg, “Manitou Place people,” at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
  • Mäte Sue’mako Tusi’niniu, “Great Sand Bar people,” on the sand dunes at what is now called Big Suamico, on Green Bay.
  • Minika’ni Wini’niwuk, “Village people,” at the mouth of Menominee River.
  • Misi’nimäk Kimiko Wini’niwûk, “Michilimackinac People,” near the old fort at Mackinac, Michigan. “
  • Muhwä o Se’peo Wini’niwûk, “Wolf River people, on the upper stretches of Wolf River.
  • Namä’o Wikito’ Tusi niu, “Sturgeon Bay people, at Sturgeon Bay.
  • Nomä’kokon Se’peo Tusi’niniwûg, Beaver River people, near Winneconne, Fond du Lac, and Oshkosh.
  • Oka to Wini’niwûk, “Pike Place people,” at the mouth the Oconto River River.
  • Pä’sä’tiko Wini’niwûk, “Peshtigo River people,” at the mouth of the Peshtigo River.
  • Powahehe’kune Tusi’niniwûg, “Rice-gathering-place people,” on Lake Poygan.
  • Sua’makosa Tusi’niniu, “Little Sand Dune people, on the sandhills of Little Suamico.
  • Wi’skos Se’peo Wini’niwûk, “Wisconsin River people”- the name Wisconsin being derived from wi’skos or wi’skos, “muskrat”- on the Mississippi near Wisconsin River.

There were other settlements of Menominee at Milwaukee and at Fort Howard in the present city of Green Bay.

About the time of the arrival of the Whites the old bands were broken up or renamed after their chiefs, and the following bands of this kind are recorded by Hoffman:

  • Aia’niiqta
  • Äqkâmot
  • Kēshok, or Kē’so
  • Le Motte
  • Mä’nabŭ’shō
  • O’hopē’sha
  • Osh’kosh
  • Pěsh’tiko, evidently one of the old local groups.
  • Piwä’gtinet
  • Sha’kitŏk
  • Shu’nu’ni’ŭ or Shu’nien

Menominee History. Tradition says that the Menominee were driven into the region later identified with them, from the neighborhood of Michilimackinac, but when they were first known to white men they were already there, and they remained there until 1854, though their villages sometimes extended to Fox River and their later claims reached to the mouth of Milwaukee River on Lake Michigan and on the west side of Green Bay to the headwaters of Menominee and Fox Rivers. Westward they claimed the height of land between Green Bay and Lake Superior. In 1854 they ceded all their lands except a reserve on Wolf River, where they have continued to the present day.

Menominee Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 3,000 Menominee in 1650. The most conservative estimates made during the nineteenth century range from 1,600 to 1,900. In the first decade of the twentieth century their numbers were placed at 1,600, of whom 1,370 were under the Green Bay School superintendency, Wisconsin. The census of 1910 returned 1,422; 1,350 in Wisconsin and the rest scattered over 8 States. The United States Indian Office Report for 1923 gave 1,838. The census of 1930 returned 1,969, and the United States Indian Office Report of 1937, 2,221.

Connection in which the Menominee have become noted. The name Menominee has become applied to a county in Michigan and a city of some size in the same State, also to a small place in Illinois. In the form Menomonee, it is given to a considerable river of Wisconsin which flows into Green Bay, and to various other places in Wisconsin. A city in the same State, capital of Dunn County, bears the name Menomonie. Menomonee Falls are in Waukesha County, Wis. There is a place called Menominee in Menominee County, Michigan.

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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