Menominee

Menominee (mənŏmˈənē) [key], indigenous people of North America whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). Also called the Menomini, they were a sedentary people who chiefly subsisted on the gathering of wild rice; the Algonquian name for wild rice is manomin. In c.1634, when they were visited by the missionary Jean Nicolet, the Menominee were living at the mouth of the Menominee River in Wisconsin and Michigan. From 1671 until 1854 they inhabited settlements that extended from the Menominee River S to the Fox River and bordered the western shore of Green Bay. Although some of the Menominee supported the British in the American Revolution and the War of 1812, they were generally peaceful toward the American settlers. The Menominee were, however, bitter enemies of the neighboring Algonquian tribes, who waged constant warfare to drive the Menominee out of the rich wild-rice area. In 1854 the Menominee were settled on a reservation (Menominee Reservation) on the Wolf River, in N central Wisconsin. The tribe owns one of the largest sawmills in the Midwest and operates a casino. In 1990 there were some 8,000 Menominee in the United States.

See F. Keesing, The Menomini Indians of Wisconsin (1939, repr. 1971); L. Spindler, Menomini Women and Culture Change (1962).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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