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American Indians in Milwaukee

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Milwaukee is an Algonquin word meaning “the gathering place.” Wisconsin’s 11 American Indian tribes have long gathered in the city, contributing to its name and origins. American Indians continue to assist in Milwaukee’s growth through nationally recognized innovations in education, gaming, and cultural representation. The city’s “founding mother,” a Menominee Indian, continued trading partnerships with the area’s native residents until Indian removal in the 1830s. Over the next century, Indians returned to Milwaukee as visitors, creating villages at the state fair and lakefront grounds. By the 1930s, Indians again called the city home and expressed their common heritage through Pan-Indian organizations. Later the new ideals of the national Red Power movement helped transform those organizations into successful city institutions such as the Indian Community School, Potawatomi Bingo and Casino, and Indian Summer Festival.

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