• 1928:

    It became possible for the Tribal members to elect an advisory board. The B.I.A. officials didn't like this Board and tried to ignore them. Anytime this group went to DC to point out the mismanagement of the forest and mill they had to pay their own way. The agent refused to give them money from our own mill.

  • 1931:

    Several Congressional Acts including the "Indian Reorganization Act" authorized per capita distribution of Menominee Tribal Funds, and strengthening of the Menominee Tribe as a more self-governing entity.

    The Tribe hired attorneys to assist them in a lawsuit against the U.S. Government. The lawsuit was for losses sustained through the mis-management of the lumber operation.

    Thirteen lawsuits were initiated against the Government. Most of them for damages caused by the government not following the Act of 1908.

  • 1934:


    Wheeler-Howard Act signed into known as the Indian Reorganization Act. This allowed Tribes to develop a constitution and set-up their own governing body.

  • 1935:

    A Congressional Act initiated hearings on claims of the Menominee Tribe against the Government for cutting other than dead and down timber and fully matured and ripened green timber.

    Congress passed an Act permitting the Tribe to sue the government for the value of the swamp and timber lands in question.

    The Tribe voted and accepted the Reorganizational Act, but never organized or operated under provisions of the Act. Instead they decided to keep their 10-member elected Advistory Council and the General Tribal Council as official decision-making and governing bodies.

  • 1945:

    Swamp Lands case settled. The government recommended that the State be paid for the loan out of Menominee funds. However, the government had to pay for its own oversight and the 38,000 acres of swamp land on the Reservation was released from the State jurisdiction.

    July 5th

    After more than ninety years of intermittent litigation, the Tribie received title to 33,870 acres of swamp land for which the federal government paid $1,590,854 to the State of Wisconsin. The swamp land had been lost to the Tribe in 1854, under provision of the Swampland Act of September 28, 1850. The award also allowed $13,666 to the Tribe in compensation for timber removed by the state from the swamp lands.

    The final Court of Claims decision was rendered on June 5, 1944, but the conclusion of the matter was delayed until 1945, by an initial refusal of the Wis. Secretary of Treasury and the Secretary of State, both members of the State Land Commission, to sign the transaction.

    The 1950's appeared to be a good decade for the Tribe. News from hte lawyers, in D.C. indicated the lawsuits were in the process of being finalized. The Tribe rejoiced in their good fortune but were unaware within a few months their world would again be threatened. Congress would soon enact another policy that would cause another upheavel.

  • 1951:

    The Menominee Tribe won an 8.5 million dollar judgement against the Government for failure on the part of the Government officials to carry out provisions of the LaFollette Act. About 20,486 acres of pine-hardwood-hemlock forest had been clear-cut northeast of Neopit.

    The judgment was the result of a settlement entered by the Federal Court following the consolidation of five lawsuits pending since 1938. The four grievances were:

    1. The failure of the Government to manage the cutting of timber during the period between 1910 and 1928 so as to preserve the Forest resources of the tribe on the basis of forestry principals established by an Act of Congress March 12, 1908.
    2. The failure of the Government to salvage a large amount of valuable timber blown down by a heavy windstorm in 1905.
    3. The failure of the Governm,net to manage the sawmill operations in an efficient and competent manner.
    4. The failure of the Government to manage tribal funds so as to produce all the interest which the tribe was entitled to receive under the various acts of Congress.
  • 1952:


    The Tribe petitioned Congress for a $1,500 per capity payment of the award monies for each of the 3,270 enrolled Menominees. The request passed the House but when it reached the Senate it ran into a road block. Senator Watkins (R: Utah) attached a provision to the bill. This required the Tribe to accept Termination of federal supervision in order to get the payment they requested.

    This "termination program" was a federal policy of forcing Tribes to assimilate by withdrawing federal supervision. Actually this meant releasing the government from its obligation to protect the Sovereign rights of the Tribes.

    According to the records, the Menominee did not vote for "Termination". No one knew what it meant. The people assumed they were requesting a portion of their monies from the U.S. Treasury. But Senator Watkins, who was able to exert a lot of pressure, thought otherwise. He used every means possible to coerce the Tribe and to enforce the Termination Policy at any cost. Of course, he was successful in spite of the objections from the Tribe and the State of Wisconsin.

    Federal Indian Relocation Program started. This program was designed to take Indians from the reservations and assist them in finding work in the city of their choice. Quite a few Menominees moved to the cities on this program. A good percent of these people eventually moved back to the reservation.

  • 1953:

    June 20th

    Senator Watkins visited the Reservation to explain the government's Termination Policy. He did not believe our consent was necessary. However, the people attending this meeting voted on what they thought was the "Principal of Termination". This was done with a show of hands - the vote was 169 - 5. The people thought this was the only was they could received $1,500 of their own tribal money.

    The above vote was used by Senator Watkins to indicate to congress that the Menominee Tribe had accepted Termination, a mere 5% of the 3,200 enrolled members.

    An important issue as this was should have been done by a "referendum vote" for all adult Menominees to vote on it but instead the Senator chose to use a show of hands.

  • 1954:

    June 17th

    The Menominee Termination Act was signed into law by President Eisenhower providing for termination of federal control of the Menominee Indian Reservation. This was in spite of the fact the Menominee called another council meeting and unanimously voted to reject "Termination".

    The Menominee Tribal rolls were closed as a result of the Termination Policy. The Menominee Tribal Leaders were informed that they had until 1958 to develop a plan to take over the Reservation and submit the plan to the Secretary of Interior. Ironically at this same time the Tribe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Reservation. The area that was promised by Congress to remain their Homeland, "to be held as Indian Lands are held."

  • 1955:

    The Wisconsin Legislature created the Menominee Indian Study Committee to study the problem of integration of the Reservation with state and local governments.

  • 1957:

    A Coordination & Negotiating Committee was appointed, by the Tribal Council, to facilitate the drafting of the Menominee Termination Plan.

    The Tribe was faced with four alternatives for their reservation.

    1. conversion to a national forest
    2. conversion to a state fores
    3. absorption into Shawano and Oconto Counties and allotment of parcels of land to members of the tribe
    4. creation of a new county

    The Tribal members chose the fourth course of action to keep the land intact for the future generations and the general welfare of the members.

  • 1959:

    January 17th

    The articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of the newly formed Menominee Enterprise, Inc. were adopted by a vote of 91 to 16 ata general countil.

    July 3rd, 1959

    Governor Nelson signed a law making Menominee County the state's 72nd county, the first to be formed since 1901. The law took effect at midnight on April 30, 1961. Menominee County then had about 3,300 residents; including 2,720 enrolled members of the Tribe, whose total membership at this time was 3,700. The Menominee Tribe was the first Indian tribe in the U.S. to be given possession of its lands.

    To capture the mood of the 1960s and 70s is a somewhat difficult task. It was distressing, overwhelming, painful, but also exciting. The Tribe was faced with a number of very important decisions but as usual it was bombarded by many outside influences who felt they had all the answers.

    One of the main areas they had to deal with was setting up the Tribe's Termination Plan, covering both governmental and business operations. They also had to organize the newly formed Menominee County. As in the past they had to fight for the land. There was still some fear of the State because of the Governor's announcement in 1956 that the Reservation should be purchased and made into a state park. There was the belief that he was more interested in our white pine than in us.

    Creating the new county was the major concern for the State. For the Tribe iwas organizing the tribal lumber business. Crucial to the issue was the preservation of the forest and mill as a source of livelihood for tribal members.

    For the 1960s efforts centered around Termination, for the 1970s the activities were based on Restoration. The following are some major dates.

  • 1960:

    June - December

    The Tribe, who before Termination received only $144,000 a year of federal funds, in 1960, had been allotted $2,357,000. This money had been authorized to reimburse the Tribe for Termination studies and planning expenses, upgrading the school program, building roads, sponsoring adult education programs and health-welfare needs.

  • 1961:

    April 30th

    The Menominee plan was submitted to the Secretary of Interior and put into practice at the time of Termination. Shortly after Termination was finalized, the hospital in Keshena was closed by the State on the ground that it did not meet state fire standards.

  • 1962:

    This is a very important part of Restoration efforts. The Menominee Council of Chiefs was organized as a Wisconsin non-profit corporation. The main purpose of the organization was to preserve the name "Menominee Indian Tribe" which was tehcnically abolished at the time of Termination. To preserve our name as a Tribe the Council of Chiefs acclaimed the special name as "Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Inc."

  • 1964:

    789 Menominees signed a petition requesting the repeal of termination. It was submitted to President Johnson who chose to ignore it.

  • 1966:

    The State of Wisconsin enacted legislation (Chapter 313) which provided for preservation of the Wolf River and to provide free public access for fishing and camping.

  • 1967:


    Enrst & Ernst, a management firm from Washington D.C., under a grant from the Economic Development Administration of the Department of Commerce, made a study and submitted a report entitled "Potential for Tourism and Industrial Development in Menominee County".


    First annual Menominee Indian Pow Wow.

    September 23rd

    Endorsement was given, by the MEI shareholders for the creation of an economic development zone.

  • 1968:


    DNR issued a permit to construct the first of 3 dams, at the outlet of Wahtohsah Lake.


    Hunting & Fishing Right Case. The U.S. Court of Claims ruled in favor of the Tribe. It was the Courts opinion that the Menominees did not relinquish their hunting and fishing rights when the Tribe was terminated from federal control. This was a land mark case that helped other tribes because the Supreme Court ruled that Termination did not abrogate treaty rights. This helped force the federal government to abandon their termination plans.


    One million dollars in financial assistance was allocated by the Upper Great Lakes Regional Planning Commission for the development of the Visitors Destination Center, In Keshena.

    July 9th

    Menominee Enterprise Inc. entered into the "Lakes of the Menominees" project with N.E. Isaacson & Associates, lake developers from Reedsburg, WI. The agreement provided for the eventual development of Legend Lake. Also in 1968, to remedy high unemployment a training program was instituted including 3 phases on the Manpower Development & Training Act.

  • 1969:


    DNR authorized construction of a Dam (phase II) at the outlet of Blacksmith, Little Blacksmith, Spring, and Peshtigo Lakes. The extent of the destruction to the land became obvious with the building of the dam.

  • 1970:


    A grass roots organization entitled DRUMS (Determination of Rights & Unity of Menominee Shareholders) was established to stop the land sales and restore the Reservation to federal status. There were chapters in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Menominee County.


    The first demonstration at the Legend Lake Lodge protesting the sale of Menominee land in the form of lake lots on Legend Lake.


    DNR granted authorization for a damn (phase III) on Linzy Creek at the outlet of Pyawasit Lake to create Legend Lake #3.

  • 1971:

    October 2nd

    Menominee March for Justice. The DRUMS members began a 220 mile march from Keshena to Madison. The central purpose of the march was to dramatize The tribe’s problems (caused by Termination) to the people of Wisconsin and to seek Governor Lucy’s help in dealing with those problems.


    MEI, DRUMS and County officials began discussions concerning the restoring of the Reservation to federal status.

  • 1972:


    Wisconsin’s US Congressional delegates met with the Menominee’s, and Senator Edward Kennedy requested that the Native American Rights Fund, in Boulder, CO., assist the Tribe in writing the request for restoration into a Congressional Bill.

    April 20th

    Wisconsin Senators Proximire and Nelson introduced the Senate Bill #3514 calling for Menominee Restoration.


    Menominee County Parents & Students for Better Education filed a discrimination suit against Joint School District #8 in the U.S. District Court.

    July 8th

    A dissolution agreement in the case of the Lakes of the Menominees partnership went into effect. Three weeks after the dissolution, Judge Duffy in Circuit Court, Green Bay, ordered further land sales stopped.

  • 1973:

    May 2nd

    Senators William Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson in the Senate and Congressmen Harold Froelich in the House again introduced a Menominee Restoration Bill.

    May 25th and 26th

    The House sub-committee on Indian Affairs, headed by Congressman Lloyd Meads of the sate of Washington, held a preliminary hearing on the Menominee Restoration Bill in Keshena.

    June 25th - June 29th

    The hearings were continued in Washington D.C. before the full sub-committee. Governor Lucey of Wisconsin, addressed in the June 28th session in support of the Menominee Tribe.


    Senate hearings were continued in Washington D.C. before the full sub-committee on Indian Affairs, chaired by Senator James Abourezk of South Dakota.

    October 16th

    House Bill 10717, originally sponsored by Congressman Froelich and recommended by the House Sub-Committee on Indian Affiars, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 404-3.

    December 7th

    The Senate Interior Committee recommended a slightly amended bill. This measure was considered and was passed by the Senate. The House concurred with the Senate amendments and the Bill went to the President.

    December 22nd

    President Nixon privately signed the Menominee Restoration Act into law. Public Law 93-197, The Menominee Restoration Act, made provisions for the return of the Menominee Indians to full tribal status and the return of the tribal assets to trust status.

  • 1974:


    The Menominee County Education Committee requested detachment from Shawano School District #8 and the creation of a new school district in Menominee County. Public hearings were held in Shawano and Keshena. On January 15th, the Shawano School Board President informed the State Agency School Committee that Shawano Board of Education endorsed the plan for detachment.

    January 26th

    The State Agency School Committee voted in favor of detachment.

  • 1975:

    January 1st

    The Menominee Warrior Society occupied the abandoned Alexian Brothers' Novitiate near Gresham, Wisconsin.

    April 23rd

    The formal ceremony of restoring the Menominee Tribe to federal status was presided over by Secretary of Interior, Rogers C.B. Morton in Washington D.C. The Menominee Restoration Committee was given the responsibility of administering Menominee Affairs until the transfer plans and new constitution were put into effect.

  • 1976:


    The State approved of the detachment from Joint School District #8 and created the new Menominee County/Reservation public school district. The newly elected school board chose to call the new district "Menominee Indian School District."

    May 6th

    Control of hunting and fishing rights was restored to the Menominees by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


    The new constitution accepted by the tribal members paved the way for the election of a 9-member council to govern all reservation programs.

  • 1977:


    The Menominee Tribal Clinic, the first Indian owned and operated health facility, opened its doors.

  • 1978:

    Exxon Minerals Company discovered a zinc & copper deposit near Crandon, WI. Tribal concern because of the impact to the Wolf River and its watershed. The mine's tailing ponds and waste treament facility is to be located in the upper portion of the Wolf River.

  • 1979:

    February 9th

    The first Tribal Legislature was elected under the new Tribal Constitution.

    • Gordon Dickie Sr. - Chairman
    • Herman Fredenberg - Vice Chairman
    • Lucille Chapman - Secretary
    • Kenneth A. Fish
    • John Hawpetoss
    • John M. Boyd
    • Jerome Grignon
    • Alex Askenette Sr.
    • Harley Lyons Sr.

Source - MITW - Historic Preservation