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Native Americans - American Indians, The First People of America

Winnebago Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock. When Father Jean Nicolet encountered them (1634) the Winnebago lived in E Wisconsin, from Green Bay to Lake Winnebago. Except for a war with the Illinois (1671) and one with the Ojibwa (1827), the Winnebago generally were peaceful toward their neighbors such as the Menominee, the Sac and Fox, and the Ottawa. The Winnebago traded with, and were staunch supporters of, the French. After the fall of French power, however, they allied themselves with the British; they fought against the colonists in the American Revolution and in the War of 1812. The Winnebago clandestinely participated in the Black Hawk War (1832). After numerous hardships and much loss of population the Winnebago were finally settled on reservations in Nebraska and Wisconsin. Winnebago culture was of the Eastern Woodlands area with some Plains area traits. Their many ceremonies were elaborate, e.g., the buffalo dance held in the spring and the winter feast. See Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (1923, repr. 1970) and The Culture of the Winnebago (1949).