The University of Wisconsin Press

Native American Studies / History / Wisconsin


Native American Communities in Wisconsin, 1600–1960
A Study of Tradition and Change
Robert E. Bieder

A North Coast Book

"The book should be required reading for everyone. It is well-written, carefully documented, and important." —Western Historical Quarterly

The first comprehensive history of Native American tribes in Wisconsin, this thorough and thoroughly readable account follows Wisconsin's Indian communities—Ojibwa, Potawatomie, Menominee, Winnebago, Oneida, Stockbridge-Munsee, and Ottawa—from the 1600s through 1960. Written for students and general readers, it covers in detail the ways that native communities have striven to shape and maintain their traditions in the face of enormous external pressures.

The author, Robert E. Bieder, begins by describing the Wisconsin region in the 1600s—both the natural environment, with its profound significance for Native American peoples, and the territories of the many tribal cultures throughout the region—and then surveys experiences with French, British, and, finally, American contact. Using native legends and historical and ethnological sources, Bieder describes how the Wisconsin communities adapted first to the influx of Indian groups fleeing the expanding Iroquois Confederacy in eastern America and then to the arrival of fur traders, lumber men, and farmers. Economic shifts and general social forces, he shows, brought about massive adjustments in diet, settlement patterns, politics, and religion, leading to a redefinition of native tradition.

Historical photographs and maps illustrate the text, and an extensive bibliography has many suggestions for further reading.

"Bieder presents a fresh look at the Indian tribes of Wisconsin and clearly describes what happened to them from their beginnings to 1960... This book should appeal to anyone who has an interest in Wisconsin or Indian history." —American Historical Review

"Robert E. Beider has written a very thoughtful book for the general reader about the history of American Indian communities in Wisconsin." —Journal of American History

"Beider has written a valuable book with solid scholarship." —Wisconsin Academy Review

"Throughout, Bieder's considerable skills as a writer give the book an unusual power and appeal... Where at times the prose has a near-poetic quality, creating vivid impressions and stirring strong feelings which enrage the reader in an empathetic as well as an intellectual understanding of the historical experiences of Wisconsin's native communities." —Michigan Historical Review

Robert E. Bieder is professor of American history at Indiana University and former associate director of the D'Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian at the Newberry Library in Chicago. He is the author of Science Encounters the Indian, Contemplating Others: Cultural Contacts in Red and White America, and A Brief Historical Survey of the Expropriation of American Indian Remains.

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cover of Bieder's book has a posterized photo of a  Native American family

May 1995
272 pp.   6 x 9
34 halftones, 10 maps

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Paper $18.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-14524-8
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