By Robert E. Bieder
A historical past of local American tribes in Wisconsin, this account follows Wisconsin's Indian groups from the 1600s via 1960. It covers the ways in which local groups have striven to form and preserve their traditions within the face of huge exterior pressures.
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Extra info for Native American Communities in Wisconsin, 1600-1960: A Study of Tradition and Change
Environments place certain limitations on lifestyle choices available to a people. Obviously, a short growing season or poor soil will inhibit the extensive development of agriculture. Likewise, where fish are more plentiful than large game, people will expend more energy developing techniques for catching fish. The cultural adjustments of Wisconsin Indians to their environment, or what one environmental historian has 18 Copyrighted Material The Land That Winter Made termed "ethno-ecological technique,"20 involved making use of different environmental options throughout the year.
So far only the actions of beneficial spirits have been mentioned. The Menominee sought blessings from good spirits through gifts of tobacco, which, according to legend, the spirits craved. The Menominee also were careful to appease evil spirits, like the water panther and the horned snake, with gifts of various kinds. Evils could befall either an individual or a community upon failure to observe the proper customs or to conduct the proper ceremonies. It is obvious that the Menominee community, like any community, is more than a collection of people living in one place.
30 If fields were planted with corn, the villagers sometimes departed after planting and went on a summer hunt or visited other villages. In late summer they would return to their fields and harvest the corn and other crops. Although fish proved so abundant at some sites that some villages existed there year round, the usual pattern was the dispersal of the Ojibwa into small bands in the autumn, after gathering wild rice. Birch bark canoes facilitated moving their summer store of fish, wild rice, traded articles, and birch bark lodges.