The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
Butterfield, C. W.
II.--The indian tribes of Wisconsin, pp. 21-29 PDF (4.5 MB)
THE INDIAN TRIBES OF WISCONSIN. this ancient race and those of modern ones; the results, however, of these comparisons throw little, if any, light upon "the dark backward and abysmn" of mound-building times. The evidences of an extinct people of superior intelligence is very strikingly exhibited in the ancient copper mines of the Lake Superior region. Here are to be found excavations in the solid rock; heaps of rubble and dirt; copper utensils fashioned into knives, chisels, and spear and arrow-heads; stone hammers; wooden bowls and shovels; props and levers for raising and supporting the mass copper; and ladders for ascending and descending the pits. These mines were probably worked by people not only inhabiting what is now the State of Wisconsin, but territory farther to the southward. The copper Was here obtained, it is believed, which has been found in many places, even as far away as the northern shore ef the Gulf of Mexico, wrought into various implements and utensils. But there are no traces in Wisconsin of a " copper age succeeding a " stone age," discernadle in any prehistoric relics. They all refer alike to one age-the indefinite past; to one people-,the Mound-Builders. II.-THE INDIAN TRIBES OF WISCONSIN. When, as early, it is believed, as 1634, civilized man first set foot upon the territory now included within the boundaries of Wisconsin, he discovered, to his surprise, that upon this wide area met and mingled clans of two distinct and wide-spread families-the Algonquins and Sioux. The tribes of the former, moving westward, checked the advance of the latter in their excursions eastward. As yet there bad been no representatives of the Huron-Iroquois seen west of Lake Michigan-the members of this great family, at that date dwelling in safety in the extensive regions northward and southward of the Erie and Ontario lakes. Already had the French secured a foot-hold in the extensive valley of the St. Lawrence; and, naturally enough, the chain of the Great Lakes led their explorers to the mouth of Green bay, and up that water- course and its principal tributary, Fox river, to the Wisconsin, an affluent of the Mississippi. On the right, in ascending this bay, was seen, for the first time, a nation of Indians, lighter in 'complexion than neighboring tribes, and remharkably well formed, now well known as the MENOMONEES. This nation is of Algonquin stock, but their dialect differed so much from the surrounding tribes of the same family, it having strange guttural sounds and accents, as well as peculiar inflec- tions of verbs and other parts of speech, that, for a long time, they were supposed to have a distinct language. Their traditions point to an emigration from the East at some remote period. When first visited by the French missionaries, these Indians subsisted largely upon wild rice, from which they took their name. The harvest time of this grain was in the month of, September. It grew spontaneously in little streams with slimy bottoms, and in marshy places. The harvesters went in their canoes across these watery fields, shaking the ears right and left as they advanced, the grain falling easily, if ripe, into the bark receptacle beneath. To clear it from chaff and strip it of a pellicle inclosing it, they put it to dry on a wooden lattice above a small fire, which was kept up for several days. When the rice was well dried, it was plced in a skin of the form of a bag, which was then forced into a hole, made on purpose, in the ground. They then tread it out so. long and so well, that the grain being freed from the chaff, was easily winnowed. After this, it was pounded to meal, or left unpounded, and boiled in water seasoned with grease. It thus became a very palatable diet. It must not be inferred that this was the only food of the Menomonees; they were adepts in fishing, and hunted with skill -the game which abounded'in the forests. For many years after their' discovery, the Menomonees had their homes and hunting 21
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