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Ho-nee-um trail in the fall

Kline, Virginia; Brown, Charles E.
[Indian legends and stories about Ho-nee-um Pond],   pp. 2-6


Page 2

 
             WINNEBAGO INDIANS OF THE FOUR LAKES AREA 
                                              Written by Virginia Kline,
                                              Arboretum guide and naturalist
     Memories of their mound building ancestors had been lost by the Winnebago
Indians by the time the first white settlers arrived in the rich four lakes
area. 
For centuries the tribes had lived on the shores of the lakes enjoying the
varied 
hunting and fishing opportunities and the pure water supply. Prairie fires
aided 
their hunting in the open area; fish abounded in the lakes; forests near
the lakes 
gave shelter to woodland animals. Early settlers estimated that several hundred
Indians lived in villages along the lakes, their wigwams often within sight
of the 
new log cabins. Children of those first white families had Indian boys and
girls 
as playmates. Among the villages were a large one located where Tenney Park
is now and one at the foot of present-day King Street. The hill leading up
from 
there to the Capitol was described as a smooth prairie crossed by Indian
trails 
and dotted with a few oaks. In the Nakoma area were three Indian camps, each
located near a good spring: (1) On what is now the front lawn of Dudgeon
School 
and the land across Monroe Street from it; (2) Near the old Spring Grove
Tavern; 
(3) On the present Nakoma Golf Course. These villages were used as summer
villages, with the tribe moving northward for winter hunting. 
      The Winnebagos are related to the Sioux and are among Wisconsin's 
woodland Indians. Since the number of Indians was small in relation to the
land 
they used, they could live off the natural environment in a way which would
be 
impossible for a city the size of Madison today. Turtles, ducks, muskrats,
rabbits, fox, deer, fish were plentiful. Indian boys became expert with bows
and 
arrows by the time they were the age of the present-day sixth graders. Survival
depended on skillful hunting and trapping. The women and girls gathered 
wild rice (plentiful on Lake Wingra in those days), nuts and acorns, mushrooms,
2 


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