The Menominee Tribe’s history is unique because the 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 the five clans: ancestral Bear, Eagle, Wolf, Moose, and Crane were created.
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. They have managed to keep a fraction of their ancestral territory for a home, which is now their reservation.
The Menominee People were integral in Wisconsin becoming a state. They have had hundreds of Sesquicentennials and gave up lands through agreements called Treaties. In the 1848 treaty, the Menominee refused to leave what would become Wisconsin, their ancestral home. They will remain Menominee until our language is no longer spoken. They are “Kiash Matchitiwuk,” the Ancient Ones.