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He would have gone to Green Bay, found the Winnebago and probably the Menominee. It changed our economy and way of life, because we were hunters and gatherers. From the 1680s onward, you had increasing numbers of young Frenchmen going west into what was called the Pays d’en Haut, which is French for the Upper Country. The food was awful and there was just an incredible amount of boredom.
The reception was relatively welcome, because Frenchmen had things Indians wanted. If they wanted companionship, they had to take a wife and they had to take an Indian wife. And one of the things the soldiers did to pass the time was to drink heavily. But on America’s East Coast it had already been going on for many years.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs advertised with handbills about cheap Indian land over in Europe, so that we cannot now blame them for coming in and settling as fast as they could on the lands that were available through the Indian agent. A man named Cook purchased some cut timber from an Oneida Indian.
Our folks weren’t out here too long before they saw Eleazer Williams’ true colors. And there were letters to the president written by our chiefs protesting and saying he had no right to make any agreements on behalf of our people. And the Supreme Court said that reservation is held in trust by the United States of America for you.
Sitting on a major transition point from the Great Lakes to the interior of the continent it is the place where new people first came to this land. That means "The Ancient People.” Probably from the early prehistoric times right up to the time of European contact Green Bay had attracted a lot of different Indian communities. And if you wanted to get from one place to the next, it’s a highway, essentially.
And through wave after wave of these first people some always stayed to call it home. The Menominees occupied 10 million acres of land, which is now the upper peninsula of Michigan and most of Wisconsin. So all along the Fox River system you had a lot of Indian communities. And of course, Europeans wanted to trade with Indians.
We sent a reconnaissance group to find out if it was good area.
Daniel Whitney was probably the best example, and he had his hands in a lot of different pies. Another one was that so many treaties had been signed.Treaty commision had purchased it from the Indians, and it had been surveyed and a general land office had been set up. There was a conspiracy between the state of New York, Ogden Land Company, The Department of War and Eleazer Williams, who was our missionary, descendant of Mohawks, fought in the War of 1812.And of course the Europeans wanted this land to live on as they migrated from the East Coast. And through the series of several treaties, we had to sell most of our land to the American Government. He had grandeur plans of a great empire in the West, taking all of the Iroquois nations from New York, to move all of those six nations to another place that would be more peaceful and not be so influenced by the white immigrants. They saw that that was destroying the moral fiber of the people.Soon after this boat did come-- within this boat was Jean Nicolet. The standard understanding of Nicolet is that he was probably a middle aged Frenchman who had been in what was then called New France, today Canada. And so the Indians were very eager to trade with the French and have the French settle among them as traders.And in 1634, he was sent by the Governor, Samuel de Champlain, west with a group of most likely Huron Indians intent upon studying the french fur trade west into the Great Lakes. One of the things we did do after the Europeans came was to get into the fur trade, and this took a hard toll on our people.