Brief History - About Us
The Menominee Indian Tribe’s rich culture, history, and residency in the area now known as the State of Wisconsin, and parts of the States of Michigan and Illinois, dates back 10,000 years. At the start of the Treaty Era in the early 1800’s, the Menominee occupied a land base estimated at 10 million acres; however, through a series of seven treaties entered into with the United States Government during the 1800’s, the Tribe witnessed its land base erode to little more than 235,000 acres today. The Tribe experienced further setbacks in the 1950’s with the U.S. Congress’ passage of the Menominee Termination Act, which removed federal recognition over the Tribe and threatened to deprive Menominee people of their cultural identity. Fortunately, the Tribe won back its federal recognition in 1973 through a long and difficult grassroots movement that culminated with the passage of the Menominee Restoration Act, Public Law 93-197, on December 22, 1973.
The seat of government for the Menominee Tribe is located approximately 45 miles northwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the Menominee Indian Reservation, in the Village of Keshena. The Reservation shares nearly coterminous geopolitical boundaries with Menominee County, is situated on the ancestral homelands of its 8,551 tribal members, and includes 5 main communities: Keshena, Neopit, Middle Village, Zoar, and South Branch. The Reservation is comprised of 235,523 acres, or approximately 357.96 square miles, and includes over 407 miles of improved and unimproved roads, 187 rivers and streams, and 53 lakes. The Reservation is located in the 8th Congressional District for the State of Wisconsin.
Our Current Situation and Need
Today, the Tribe remains a proud and resilient people living on the most beautiful lands to ever grace this earth. The Tribe’s members enjoy pristine lakes, rivers, and streams, over 219,000 acres of the richest forests in the Nation, and an abundance of plant and animal life. The Tribe cherishes its natural resources and considers itself to be very fortunate to have them, but the richness of the Tribe’s surroundings is often overshadowed by the many social ills Menominee people suffer. Like many other Tribes in this Nation, we are greatly dependent on funding provided by the Federal government to help us address and overcome these difficult challenges, and we are especially dependent upon funding provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service.
Although the Tribe has over 8,700 members, less than half are able to reside on the Reservation due to the lack of employment opportunities, available housing, and an aging infrastructure that is incapable of sustaining current demand, let alone take on additional residents or economic development opportunities. It is the Tribe’s sincere hope that, with the help of Congress, the Tribe can transform the Reservation and Menominee County back into a place Menominee will return to for occupational, economic, educational, housing, cultural, and other opportunities.
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